Co-host John Moser is joined by Ben Slomski of Ashland University discuss the origins and original understandings of presidential war powers, and how they’ve evolved over time. What did the Founders think? Did they agree on a single description of what war powers, and when a president could act unilaterally? They explore actions by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, and other presidents, and make connections to contemporary issues, as well.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff is joined by Joe Postell of Hillsdale College discuss the evolution of Congressional rules processes in light of the recent assumption of the majority by Republicans and the contentious votes over a new Speaker of the House. Learn about the fascinating changes in the Speaker’s powers, and how much more limited Speakers are than we often believe. They also discuss the differences between current norms of Democratic and Republican Party leadership and Congressional activity, and how this has played out in leadership behavior and power struggles. Finally, if Congress, in some ways, is “broken” – so far strayed from its original function and powers – can, and how can, it be fixed?

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff and Lucas Morel, on this special MLK Day episode, discuss the ideas, actions, and legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King jr. and Malcolm X. What were their core philosophies and beliefs? How did their actions reflect these? How did their ideas impact their followers, opponents, and each other? And how did these two men play off and shape each other?

You can find Lucas’s latest book, Lincoln and the American Founding, on Amazon. The other books mentioned are here:

Join Jeff as he Bill McClay discuss the state of American civics education, with an eye toward free expression, what’s being taught, and how individuals and families can think through the thorny issue of schooling in 2023.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff is joined by Dr. Jason Stevens of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar program to discuss the 160th anniversary of one of the most important documents in American history. Lacking the eloquence and rhetorical flourish we have come to expect from Lincoln, the Final Emancipation Proclamation’s power isn’t in its wording, but in what it accomplishes: utilizing constitutional authority to free millions of slaves and lay the foundation for the abolishment of the institution itself.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff sits down with Chris Burkett and Greg McBrayer to discuss Ronald Reagan’s famed speech at the Brandenburg Gate on 12 June 1987, in which the president called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “…tear down this wall!” Beyond this, the speech contains numerous examples of Reagan’s political philosophy and his respect for individual liberty and human dignity before the state.

Read two of the speeches mentioned to supplement the program: “A Time for Choosing“, and his Brandenburg Gate Speech.

How can liberal society respond to current demands on economics and society? Smith addresses far more than economics and, in fact, wrote extensively on morality and moral judgments in interpersonal and social relations. What did he believe and what can we learn from him, and from his two books The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) and The Wealth of Nations (1776)? Smith posits that moral sentiments are a two-way street, and that we can’t help but, as we interact with others, “feel” with others – to put ourselves in others’ shoes. Smith also discusses what he believes makes nations wealthy, and the tension between efficiency and human dignity.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff discusses the life, ideas, and legacy of Winston Churchill with Jim Muller of the University of Alaska Anchorage, and renowned Churchill authority,

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff is joined by Dr. John Moser of Ashland University to discuss the concept of turning points in history, particularly war, and some specific examples from the Second World War. Access the maps John used here.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Dr. Robert George of Princeton University joins Jeff to discuss the sad shape of the American university as a function of a lack of clarity by many in higher education as to the core purpose of a university education. George asserts that the core mission is, and should be, the pursuit of truth, even though imparting professional skills is an expectation of students, parents, and taxpayers. It is the pursuit of knowledge of the truth, however, that is the core mission and must serve as the primary measuring stick of institutional goals, use of resources, and treatment of those connected to the university. They also discuss the central role of courage and speaking the truth, especially when it stands against some new orthodoxies that have taken root in society and, especially, at the university.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff sat down with author Amity Shlaes to discuss her book, “The Great Society – A New History,” and the implications of the welfare state as envisioned by Lyndon Johnson. In addition to some of LBJ’s various remarks and addresses while in office, his Great Society speech was highlighted, along with the policies that stemmed from it and their impact on American political economy and public life. Jeff and Amity also explored LBJ and Vietnam, and how this era of American foreign policy paralleled and, to an extent, shared philosophical similarities with the idealism of the Great Society.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff discusses our current political tensions with Dr. Lucas Morel, who proposes that an understanding of Lincoln – his ideas, his words, his actions – can help us navigate difficult political waters now, and in our future as Americans.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff discusses the results, surprises, and immediate fallout of the 2022 Midterm Congressional and several state gubernatorial elections. Of special focus is how badly most pollsters were wrong; how the Democrats avoided the historical trend of a president losing seats during his first term; and the standing – or lack – of Donald Trump in the Republican party moving forward.

Host; Jeff Sikkenga

In this episode, Jeff sits down to talk with Mike Pompeo, former member of the House of Representatives, CIA Director, and the 70th Secretary of State. The two touch on notions of service to country, the foundation of Sec. Pompeo’s political views, and his reflections on threats to America from abroad and at home, as well as his deep respect for the men and women who serve this country.

Dr. Jeff Sikkenga talks with Congressman Troy Balderson, of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, about public and elected service, as well as the changing demographic trends and political issues that could impact upcoming elections.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff discusses the upcoming 2022 midterm elections with Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, offering thoughtful analysis and things to look out for as we get closer to these pivotal elections.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

The 22-23 United States Supreme Court term has begun, and there are several cases to be heard that will make headlines – maybe even greater than those that closed out the 21-22 term. Join Jeff and Dr. Adam Carrington as they discuss some of these cases, the background to them, and how the current court might go about considering them.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

Jeff and Rob Wyllie, Director of Ashbrook’s Political Economy program at Ashland University, discuss inflation in American and world history, how it comes to be, and why it can be so dangerous to economic, social, and political stability. In particular, they discuss inflation at the American Founding, during the Great Depression, and in the 1970s and 80s. They also discuss current inflationary causes, responses, and trends, and Jeff even gets Rob to offer a forecast about what he thinks could happen over the next year or two in the global and, especially, American economies.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga

In this episode of The American Idea, Jeff is joined by Dr. Gordon Lloyd, Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University and Senior Fellow at Ashbrook, and Dr. Chris Burkett, Associate Professor of Political Science at Ashland University and Director of the Ashbrook Scholar Program, for a lively conversation on the dramatic story and the legacy of the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

The leading expert on the Constitutional Convention, Gordon has spent the past forty years studying and writing on this essential part of the American story. He is the editor of several of Ashbrook’s Core Document volumes for teachers, including the American Founding and the Bill of Rights volumes, and our printing of Madison’s Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787. He is also the author of four highly regarded and widely-used online exhibits on the Founding, which are hosted exclusively on Ashbrook’s new website TheAmericanFounding.org.

In this episode of The American Idea, Jeff is joined by Peter Myers, Professor of Political Science at University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and the 2016-17 B. Kenneth Simon Fellow in American Political Thought at the Heritage Foundation, for a conversation on Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy “character not color” comes into direct conflict with the ideas of Critical Race Theory.

Host: Jeff Sikkenga