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Political Science and Economics Professor Dr. Kevin Burns’ latest work, William Howard Taft’s Constitutional Progressivism, recently received publication and is now available for purchase. Burns, who also heads the college’s Tocqueville Forum on Liberal Democracy, provides a contrast to most of the scholarship on Taft in his work, making a compelling case that Taft’s devotion to the Constitution of 1787 contributed to his progressivism.

Burns’ book on Taft is based on his doctoral dissertation, expanding on the work he did at Baylor University and bringing it to a compelling conclusion. Over the course of the book, Burns offers a fuller understanding of Taft and his political project than seen in other works on the former president and Chief Justice, emphasizing Taft’s belief that the Constitution could play a constructive role in American political life by empowering the government to act and by undergirding and protecting the reform legislation the government implemented.

“This major revisionist interpretation of William Howard Taft rejects the long-standing view that he was merely a standpat conservative and hidebound legalist,” says Johnathan O’Neill, professor of history at Georgia Southern University. “Deeply researched and clearly written, [Burns’] book traces Taft’s support for substantial Progressive reforms amid his irrevocable conviction that the founders’ Constitution should not be transformed or abandoned. How Taft reconciled these imperatives is explained in this work of keen historical insight and remarkable contemporary relevance. This book will stand as a landmark in the study of Taft’s constitutionalism.”

After earning his Ph.D. from Baylor University, where he studied American Politics and Political Theory, Burns joined Christendom’s department of Political Science and Economics in 2017. His teaching and research interests include American Constitutionalism (especially separation of powers), American Political Thought (particularly the American Founding and the Progressive Era), the presidency, the judiciary, and Ancient and Early Modern political theory.

For more information on the book, including to purchase it, visit here.

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