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gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 1

For four months they argued over how best to meet the nation’s challenges, hammering out sometimes grimy compromises in sweltering conditions. Six extraordinary characters led them. Some are justly famous today, like George Washington. Others are barely remembered, but made huge contributions to creating the longest-surviving experiment in self-government.

Selling the Constitution

George Washington, the Print Media and the Ratification of the Constitution

David O. Stewart practiced law for more than 25 years, before turning to writing history. His award-winning book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, was a Washington Post bestseller. He is also the author of American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy.

The struggle to ratify the newly proposed American Constitution in 1787-1788 was a pivotal event in world history. Much of the ratification debate took place in newspapers, broadsides, and pamphlets. Though not an active participant in the print media, George Washington came to be a dominant figure in this great public debate. His service in the Constitutional Convention, his quiet yet steadfast private support of the Constitution throughout the yearlong ratification debate, and the expectation that he would be the country’s first president were all widely reported in newspapers, helping to convince Americans that the Constitution must be adopted. His eight years as president and his support for a bill of rights provided a fair opportunity for the Constitution to succeed.

11:00 a.m. — Refreshment Break 11:15 a.m.

The Constitution and My Generation

John Kaminski has edited twenty-four volumes of The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. In 1981 he founded and still directs The Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin. He has published dozens of articles and encyclopedia entries and twenty-six books on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the federal judiciary, slavery, and the Founding Fathers.

2:15 p.m. ©Zondervan 2012

Learn from a spirited American youth how she is engaging her generation in learning about the Constitution and of her high regard for George Washington, whose vision and foresight resulted in both the United States Constitution and a truly United States of America. She will explain how she is relating our Founding Father’s brilliant foresight to kids today, and why the document is so important to our independence, liberty, and freedom. This enthusiastic young historian will discuss how kids can become involved citizens and make a difference in their communities, and explain how the Constitution affects both our lives today and how it will dictate the future of our Republic.

Juliette Turner, age 14, recently authored Our Constitution Rocks, a book defining the Constitution clause-by-clause for kids in a hip and cool way. She is the National Youth Director of Constituting America, which teaches kids and adults about the Constitution, and is the founder of PoliKids, an online political forum for kids. When she isn’t writing, attending school, or learning more about the Constitution, Juliette can be found caring for her family’s eight dogs, twenty-five Texas longhorns, pony, and cat.

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn 1:15 p.m.

The Acts of Congress

George Washington’s Personal and Annotated Copy of the U.S. Constitution

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress through a spirited auction held at Christie’s in New York. Emblazoned with the Father of Our Country’s bookplate and featuring his handwritten notes penciled in the margins, this 106-page book contains his personal copy of the U.S. Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The historic volume will become a centerpiece of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a privately-funded presidential library, which is scheduled to open at Mount Vernon in the fall of 2013.

Join Dr. Edward G. Lengel, Editor of The Papers of George Washington; Deputy Chairman of Christie’s and auctioneer John Hays; and Ann Bookout, 20th Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for a roundtable discussion regarding the importance of this remarkable document, the highly-publicized sale that brought it home to Mount Vernon, and George Washington’s continuing appeal in contemporary auctions and sales, moderated by Mount Vernon’s Vice President for Collections and Robert H. Smith Senior Curator, Carol Borchert Cadou.

3:15 p.m.

A Look into the Future of Mount Vernon A Presidential Perspective.

Curtis G. Viebranz, recently-appointed president and CEO of Mount Vernon, joined the estate as an experienced media executive and proven entrepreneur, with a passion for American history and a long-standing commitment to community service.

4:00 p.m.

symposium Adjourns

The George Washington Symposium is supported by a Generous Endowment established by The Barra Foundation Fees: Through the generosity of The Barra Foundation, most expenses for the Symposium are underwritten. However, participants are required to pay a $175 ($150 for members) fee for the two-day Symposium to defray catering expenses. Single-day fees are not available. Location: All programs take place in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium, located at the Mount Vernon Inn Complex. Please park in the west visitor parking lot. Lodging: Several hotels are located in Old Town Alexandria, just nine miles from Mount Vernon: The Hilton Alexandria Old Town (703.837.0440); Sheraton Suites (703.836.4700); and Morrison House (703.838.8000). Space is limited ~ Please Respond Early. This is a ticketless event. Your name will be on a reservation list at the door. For additional information, please call 703.799.8686. Cover Image: Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention, by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856), courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch (Detail)

Oath of Office by William Fulton Soare (1931); James Madison, courtesy of the White House Historical Association (White House Collection); The Constitutional Convention, 1787, from the ceiling of the Cox Corridors of the U.S. Capitol, courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol; George Washington at Signing of US Constitution, by Albert Herter, Supreme Court Chamber, Wisconsin State Capitol, courtesy of Jim Steinhart.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 2

George Washington, the U.S. Constitution, and the Powers of the Presidency “The Constitution is our guide, which I will never abandon.” George Washington to the Boston Selectmen, 28 July 1795

There is no other Founding Father whose leadership and service to the nation was as far reaching and comprehensive as George Washington. For instance, he ably served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, was twice elected America’s first president, and delegates to the Constitutional Convention unanimously elected him president of their historic body. He was uniquely suited for the task of leading the convention — his presence lent prestige and dignity to the proceedings — and he proved an important unifying force in the deliberations. Under his judicious guidance the convention reached many compromises necessary to achieve a more perfect union and wrote provisions that provided for a strong central government. Ratification of the Constitution led in time to Washington’s inauguration as President in New York City in April of 1789. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress, a unique book containing his personal copy of the Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The Association will celebrate the arrival of this historic book, as the nation observes the 225th year of this remarkable document, and with the presidential election less than a week away, by examining the U.S. Constitution, George Washington’s critical role in its creation, and in developing the office of the president.

Friday, November 2

2:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Turning Parchment into Practice:

James Madison, Father of the Constitution

The Constitutional Challenges Faced by the First President

As the first president, it was George Washington’s responsibility to take the office he had helped to invent at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and bring it to life–to bring parchment into practice. This was an especially difficult challenge because the Constitution left so many aspects of the office and its relation to the rest of the constitutional system–Congress, the court, the people, and so on–vague or unstated. Most of the judgment calls Washington made endured into subsequent presidencies, even unto the present. Others did not. This talk will discuss what Washington did and why. Michael Nelson is the Fulmer professor of political science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. A former editor of The Washington Monthly and a frequent contributor to the Claremont Review of Books, his recent books include The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-2011 and The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents, 1787-2010.

3:00 p.m.

Keynote Presentation

What the Constitution Says About the Role of the Presidency The drafting of the U.S. Constitution included the first concepts of the role of the presidency. As the leader of the convention, George Washington made important contributions to creating the role that so defined his life, as well as shaped the position for the men who would follow in his footsteps. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese will discuss Washington’s appreciation for the Constitution, as well as the role of today’s presidency and how it compares to D.C.’s idea of what it entails. Edwin Meese III is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and the Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He served as the 75th U.S. Attorney General and as Counselor to the President. He is a former professor of law at the University of San Diego, is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserve, and sits on the Board of Trustees at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

1:30-6:30 p.m. — Symposium Registration Participants are invited to register in the Vaughan Lobby of the Mount Vernon Inn Complex.

4:00 p.m. — Refreshment Break

In the mid-1780s, George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army (ret.), was the heavyweight champion of American public life. James Madison, young career politician, decided to become his trainer and fight coach. Their goal: writing and ratifying a new Constitution for the wobbly young nation. By the summer of 1788, in an eleven-round decision, and with help from Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the deed was done. Historian and biographer Richard Brookhiser supplies the blow-byblow and color commentary.

Richard Brookhiser is the author most recently of James Madison, and of numerous books on revolutionary America and the Founding Fathers. He was author and host of “Rediscovering George Washington,” a film by Michael Pack, which aired on PBS July 4, 2002. He was the historian curator of “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a 2004 exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

5:30-6:30 p.m. Mansion Tour and Reception Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Vaughan Lobby, and authors will be available to autograph books purchased in the Shops at Mount Vernon. Tours of the Mansion will also be provided.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Chef Rick Thompson will prepare longtime Virginia favorites.

8:30 p.m.

Singing the Constitution:

Music of Federal America

David and Ginger Hildebrand bring to life the sounds of our young country and its ambitious political climate during the Constitutional era. Expect songs expressing more than one point of view, as the Constitution was tested during the 1790s too. They will also offer a taste of what was heard here at Mount Vernon during that time — songs of love, theatre pieces, and dance tunes. Dressed in period attire, David and Ginger play the types of musical instruments which the Washingtons owned, including the harpsichord, English guitar, and violin. Ginger Hildebrand, MM, and David Hildebrand, PhD, specialize in researching, recording, and performing early American music. Since 1980, they have presented concerts and

educational programs throughout the country for museums, historical societies, public schools, and universities. They frequently advise Mount Vernon on educational programs and have issued five full-length recordings, including George Washington: Music for the First President.

Saturday, November 3 8:30-9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Vaughan Lobby 9:30 a.m.

Unruly Americans

and the Origins of the Constitution

Americans unable to pay their mortgages and facing the prospect of losing their homes. A deepening recession. Skittish investors. An insurmountable federal debt. Anti-tax protests. Falling real estate values. No one knows where all those modern-day predicaments will lead the United States, but author Woody Holton observes them all with a sense of déjà vu, pointing out that these were the very challenges that led to the ratification of the United States Constitution exactly 224 years ago. Woody Holton is the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. His 2009 book, Abigail Adams, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award.

10:15 a.m.

The Summer of 1787

The Men who Invented the Constitution

The American economy was in tatters. Three thousand armed men had attacked a federal arsenal. Congressmen spoke openly of dividing the nation into three separate confederacies. In crisis conditions, fifty-five delegates from twelve states traveled to Philadelphia in May 1787 to remake the American republic.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 2

George Washington, the U.S. Constitution, and the Powers of the Presidency “The Constitution is our guide, which I will never abandon.” George Washington to the Boston Selectmen, 28 July 1795

There is no other Founding Father whose leadership and service to the nation was as far reaching and comprehensive as George Washington. For instance, he ably served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, was twice elected America’s first president, and delegates to the Constitutional Convention unanimously elected him president of their historic body. He was uniquely suited for the task of leading the convention — his presence lent prestige and dignity to the proceedings — and he proved an important unifying force in the deliberations. Under his judicious guidance the convention reached many compromises necessary to achieve a more perfect union and wrote provisions that provided for a strong central government. Ratification of the Constitution led in time to Washington’s inauguration as President in New York City in April of 1789. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress, a unique book containing his personal copy of the Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The Association will celebrate the arrival of this historic book, as the nation observes the 225th year of this remarkable document, and with the presidential election less than a week away, by examining the U.S. Constitution, George Washington’s critical role in its creation, and in developing the office of the president.

Friday, November 2

2:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Turning Parchment into Practice:

James Madison, Father of the Constitution

The Constitutional Challenges Faced by the First President

As the first president, it was George Washington’s responsibility to take the office he had helped to invent at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and bring it to life–to bring parchment into practice. This was an especially difficult challenge because the Constitution left so many aspects of the office and its relation to the rest of the constitutional system–Congress, the court, the people, and so on–vague or unstated. Most of the judgment calls Washington made endured into subsequent presidencies, even unto the present. Others did not. This talk will discuss what Washington did and why. Michael Nelson is the Fulmer professor of political science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. A former editor of The Washington Monthly and a frequent contributor to the Claremont Review of Books, his recent books include The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-2011 and The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents, 1787-2010.

3:00 p.m.

Keynote Presentation

What the Constitution Says About the Role of the Presidency The drafting of the U.S. Constitution included the first concepts of the role of the presidency. As the leader of the convention, George Washington made important contributions to creating the role that so defined his life, as well as shaped the position for the men who would follow in his footsteps. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese will discuss Washington’s appreciation for the Constitution, as well as the role of today’s presidency and how it compares to D.C.’s idea of what it entails. Edwin Meese III is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and the Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He served as the 75th U.S. Attorney General and as Counselor to the President. He is a former professor of law at the University of San Diego, is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserve, and sits on the Board of Trustees at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

1:30-6:30 p.m. — Symposium Registration Participants are invited to register in the Vaughan Lobby of the Mount Vernon Inn Complex.

4:00 p.m. — Refreshment Break

In the mid-1780s, George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army (ret.), was the heavyweight champion of American public life. James Madison, young career politician, decided to become his trainer and fight coach. Their goal: writing and ratifying a new Constitution for the wobbly young nation. By the summer of 1788, in an eleven-round decision, and with help from Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the deed was done. Historian and biographer Richard Brookhiser supplies the blow-byblow and color commentary.

Richard Brookhiser is the author most recently of James Madison, and of numerous books on revolutionary America and the Founding Fathers. He was author and host of “Rediscovering George Washington,” a film by Michael Pack, which aired on PBS July 4, 2002. He was the historian curator of “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a 2004 exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

5:30-6:30 p.m. Mansion Tour and Reception Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Vaughan Lobby, and authors will be available to autograph books purchased in the Shops at Mount Vernon. Tours of the Mansion will also be provided.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Chef Rick Thompson will prepare longtime Virginia favorites.

8:30 p.m.

Singing the Constitution:

Music of Federal America

David and Ginger Hildebrand bring to life the sounds of our young country and its ambitious political climate during the Constitutional era. Expect songs expressing more than one point of view, as the Constitution was tested during the 1790s too. They will also offer a taste of what was heard here at Mount Vernon during that time — songs of love, theatre pieces, and dance tunes. Dressed in period attire, David and Ginger play the types of musical instruments which the Washingtons owned, including the harpsichord, English guitar, and violin. Ginger Hildebrand, MM, and David Hildebrand, PhD, specialize in researching, recording, and performing early American music. Since 1980, they have presented concerts and

educational programs throughout the country for museums, historical societies, public schools, and universities. They frequently advise Mount Vernon on educational programs and have issued five full-length recordings, including George Washington: Music for the First President.

Saturday, November 3 8:30-9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Vaughan Lobby 9:30 a.m.

Unruly Americans

and the Origins of the Constitution

Americans unable to pay their mortgages and facing the prospect of losing their homes. A deepening recession. Skittish investors. An insurmountable federal debt. Anti-tax protests. Falling real estate values. No one knows where all those modern-day predicaments will lead the United States, but author Woody Holton observes them all with a sense of déjà vu, pointing out that these were the very challenges that led to the ratification of the United States Constitution exactly 224 years ago. Woody Holton is the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. His 2009 book, Abigail Adams, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award.

10:15 a.m.

The Summer of 1787

The Men who Invented the Constitution

The American economy was in tatters. Three thousand armed men had attacked a federal arsenal. Congressmen spoke openly of dividing the nation into three separate confederacies. In crisis conditions, fifty-five delegates from twelve states traveled to Philadelphia in May 1787 to remake the American republic.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 2

George Washington, the U.S. Constitution, and the Powers of the Presidency “The Constitution is our guide, which I will never abandon.” George Washington to the Boston Selectmen, 28 July 1795

There is no other Founding Father whose leadership and service to the nation was as far reaching and comprehensive as George Washington. For instance, he ably served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, was twice elected America’s first president, and delegates to the Constitutional Convention unanimously elected him president of their historic body. He was uniquely suited for the task of leading the convention — his presence lent prestige and dignity to the proceedings — and he proved an important unifying force in the deliberations. Under his judicious guidance the convention reached many compromises necessary to achieve a more perfect union and wrote provisions that provided for a strong central government. Ratification of the Constitution led in time to Washington’s inauguration as President in New York City in April of 1789. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress, a unique book containing his personal copy of the Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The Association will celebrate the arrival of this historic book, as the nation observes the 225th year of this remarkable document, and with the presidential election less than a week away, by examining the U.S. Constitution, George Washington’s critical role in its creation, and in developing the office of the president.

Friday, November 2

2:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Turning Parchment into Practice:

James Madison, Father of the Constitution

The Constitutional Challenges Faced by the First President

As the first president, it was George Washington’s responsibility to take the office he had helped to invent at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and bring it to life–to bring parchment into practice. This was an especially difficult challenge because the Constitution left so many aspects of the office and its relation to the rest of the constitutional system–Congress, the court, the people, and so on–vague or unstated. Most of the judgment calls Washington made endured into subsequent presidencies, even unto the present. Others did not. This talk will discuss what Washington did and why. Michael Nelson is the Fulmer professor of political science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. A former editor of The Washington Monthly and a frequent contributor to the Claremont Review of Books, his recent books include The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-2011 and The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents, 1787-2010.

3:00 p.m.

Keynote Presentation

What the Constitution Says About the Role of the Presidency The drafting of the U.S. Constitution included the first concepts of the role of the presidency. As the leader of the convention, George Washington made important contributions to creating the role that so defined his life, as well as shaped the position for the men who would follow in his footsteps. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese will discuss Washington’s appreciation for the Constitution, as well as the role of today’s presidency and how it compares to D.C.’s idea of what it entails. Edwin Meese III is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and the Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He served as the 75th U.S. Attorney General and as Counselor to the President. He is a former professor of law at the University of San Diego, is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserve, and sits on the Board of Trustees at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

1:30-6:30 p.m. — Symposium Registration Participants are invited to register in the Vaughan Lobby of the Mount Vernon Inn Complex.

4:00 p.m. — Refreshment Break

In the mid-1780s, George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army (ret.), was the heavyweight champion of American public life. James Madison, young career politician, decided to become his trainer and fight coach. Their goal: writing and ratifying a new Constitution for the wobbly young nation. By the summer of 1788, in an eleven-round decision, and with help from Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the deed was done. Historian and biographer Richard Brookhiser supplies the blow-byblow and color commentary.

Richard Brookhiser is the author most recently of James Madison, and of numerous books on revolutionary America and the Founding Fathers. He was author and host of “Rediscovering George Washington,” a film by Michael Pack, which aired on PBS July 4, 2002. He was the historian curator of “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a 2004 exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

5:30-6:30 p.m. Mansion Tour and Reception Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Vaughan Lobby, and authors will be available to autograph books purchased in the Shops at Mount Vernon. Tours of the Mansion will also be provided.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Chef Rick Thompson will prepare longtime Virginia favorites.

8:30 p.m.

Singing the Constitution:

Music of Federal America

David and Ginger Hildebrand bring to life the sounds of our young country and its ambitious political climate during the Constitutional era. Expect songs expressing more than one point of view, as the Constitution was tested during the 1790s too. They will also offer a taste of what was heard here at Mount Vernon during that time — songs of love, theatre pieces, and dance tunes. Dressed in period attire, David and Ginger play the types of musical instruments which the Washingtons owned, including the harpsichord, English guitar, and violin. Ginger Hildebrand, MM, and David Hildebrand, PhD, specialize in researching, recording, and performing early American music. Since 1980, they have presented concerts and

educational programs throughout the country for museums, historical societies, public schools, and universities. They frequently advise Mount Vernon on educational programs and have issued five full-length recordings, including George Washington: Music for the First President.

Saturday, November 3 8:30-9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Vaughan Lobby 9:30 a.m.

Unruly Americans

and the Origins of the Constitution

Americans unable to pay their mortgages and facing the prospect of losing their homes. A deepening recession. Skittish investors. An insurmountable federal debt. Anti-tax protests. Falling real estate values. No one knows where all those modern-day predicaments will lead the United States, but author Woody Holton observes them all with a sense of déjà vu, pointing out that these were the very challenges that led to the ratification of the United States Constitution exactly 224 years ago. Woody Holton is the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. His 2009 book, Abigail Adams, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award.

10:15 a.m.

The Summer of 1787

The Men who Invented the Constitution

The American economy was in tatters. Three thousand armed men had attacked a federal arsenal. Congressmen spoke openly of dividing the nation into three separate confederacies. In crisis conditions, fifty-five delegates from twelve states traveled to Philadelphia in May 1787 to remake the American republic.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 2

George Washington, the U.S. Constitution, and the Powers of the Presidency “The Constitution is our guide, which I will never abandon.” George Washington to the Boston Selectmen, 28 July 1795

There is no other Founding Father whose leadership and service to the nation was as far reaching and comprehensive as George Washington. For instance, he ably served as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army, was twice elected America’s first president, and delegates to the Constitutional Convention unanimously elected him president of their historic body. He was uniquely suited for the task of leading the convention — his presence lent prestige and dignity to the proceedings — and he proved an important unifying force in the deliberations. Under his judicious guidance the convention reached many compromises necessary to achieve a more perfect union and wrote provisions that provided for a strong central government. Ratification of the Constitution led in time to Washington’s inauguration as President in New York City in April of 1789. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress, a unique book containing his personal copy of the Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The Association will celebrate the arrival of this historic book, as the nation observes the 225th year of this remarkable document, and with the presidential election less than a week away, by examining the U.S. Constitution, George Washington’s critical role in its creation, and in developing the office of the president.

Friday, November 2

2:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Turning Parchment into Practice:

James Madison, Father of the Constitution

The Constitutional Challenges Faced by the First President

As the first president, it was George Washington’s responsibility to take the office he had helped to invent at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and bring it to life–to bring parchment into practice. This was an especially difficult challenge because the Constitution left so many aspects of the office and its relation to the rest of the constitutional system–Congress, the court, the people, and so on–vague or unstated. Most of the judgment calls Washington made endured into subsequent presidencies, even unto the present. Others did not. This talk will discuss what Washington did and why. Michael Nelson is the Fulmer professor of political science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. A former editor of The Washington Monthly and a frequent contributor to the Claremont Review of Books, his recent books include The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-2011 and The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents, 1787-2010.

3:00 p.m.

Keynote Presentation

What the Constitution Says About the Role of the Presidency The drafting of the U.S. Constitution included the first concepts of the role of the presidency. As the leader of the convention, George Washington made important contributions to creating the role that so defined his life, as well as shaped the position for the men who would follow in his footsteps. Former Attorney General Edwin Meese will discuss Washington’s appreciation for the Constitution, as well as the role of today’s presidency and how it compares to D.C.’s idea of what it entails. Edwin Meese III is the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and the Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. He served as the 75th U.S. Attorney General and as Counselor to the President. He is a former professor of law at the University of San Diego, is a retired Colonel in the United States Army Reserve, and sits on the Board of Trustees at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

1:30-6:30 p.m. — Symposium Registration Participants are invited to register in the Vaughan Lobby of the Mount Vernon Inn Complex.

4:00 p.m. — Refreshment Break

In the mid-1780s, George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army (ret.), was the heavyweight champion of American public life. James Madison, young career politician, decided to become his trainer and fight coach. Their goal: writing and ratifying a new Constitution for the wobbly young nation. By the summer of 1788, in an eleven-round decision, and with help from Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the deed was done. Historian and biographer Richard Brookhiser supplies the blow-byblow and color commentary.

Richard Brookhiser is the author most recently of James Madison, and of numerous books on revolutionary America and the Founding Fathers. He was author and host of “Rediscovering George Washington,” a film by Michael Pack, which aired on PBS July 4, 2002. He was the historian curator of “Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America,” a 2004 exhibition at the New-York Historical Society. In 2008 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review.

5:30-6:30 p.m. Mansion Tour and Reception Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served in the Vaughan Lobby, and authors will be available to autograph books purchased in the Shops at Mount Vernon. Tours of the Mansion will also be provided.

6:30 p.m. Dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Chef Rick Thompson will prepare longtime Virginia favorites.

8:30 p.m.

Singing the Constitution:

Music of Federal America

David and Ginger Hildebrand bring to life the sounds of our young country and its ambitious political climate during the Constitutional era. Expect songs expressing more than one point of view, as the Constitution was tested during the 1790s too. They will also offer a taste of what was heard here at Mount Vernon during that time — songs of love, theatre pieces, and dance tunes. Dressed in period attire, David and Ginger play the types of musical instruments which the Washingtons owned, including the harpsichord, English guitar, and violin. Ginger Hildebrand, MM, and David Hildebrand, PhD, specialize in researching, recording, and performing early American music. Since 1980, they have presented concerts and

educational programs throughout the country for museums, historical societies, public schools, and universities. They frequently advise Mount Vernon on educational programs and have issued five full-length recordings, including George Washington: Music for the First President.

Saturday, November 3 8:30-9:30 a.m. Continental Breakfast in the Vaughan Lobby 9:30 a.m.

Unruly Americans

and the Origins of the Constitution

Americans unable to pay their mortgages and facing the prospect of losing their homes. A deepening recession. Skittish investors. An insurmountable federal debt. Anti-tax protests. Falling real estate values. No one knows where all those modern-day predicaments will lead the United States, but author Woody Holton observes them all with a sense of déjà vu, pointing out that these were the very challenges that led to the ratification of the United States Constitution exactly 224 years ago. Woody Holton is the McCausland professor of history at the University of South Carolina. His 2009 book, Abigail Adams, won the Bancroft Prize. Holton is the author of Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize and the National Book Award. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999), won the Organization of American Historians’ Merle Curti award.

10:15 a.m.

The Summer of 1787

The Men who Invented the Constitution

The American economy was in tatters. Three thousand armed men had attacked a federal arsenal. Congressmen spoke openly of dividing the nation into three separate confederacies. In crisis conditions, fifty-five delegates from twelve states traveled to Philadelphia in May 1787 to remake the American republic.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 1

For four months they argued over how best to meet the nation’s challenges, hammering out sometimes grimy compromises in sweltering conditions. Six extraordinary characters led them. Some are justly famous today, like George Washington. Others are barely remembered, but made huge contributions to creating the longest-surviving experiment in self-government.

Selling the Constitution

George Washington, the Print Media and the Ratification of the Constitution

David O. Stewart practiced law for more than 25 years, before turning to writing history. His award-winning book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, was a Washington Post bestseller. He is also the author of American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy.

The struggle to ratify the newly proposed American Constitution in 1787-1788 was a pivotal event in world history. Much of the ratification debate took place in newspapers, broadsides, and pamphlets. Though not an active participant in the print media, George Washington came to be a dominant figure in this great public debate. His service in the Constitutional Convention, his quiet yet steadfast private support of the Constitution throughout the yearlong ratification debate, and the expectation that he would be the country’s first president were all widely reported in newspapers, helping to convince Americans that the Constitution must be adopted. His eight years as president and his support for a bill of rights provided a fair opportunity for the Constitution to succeed.

11:00 a.m. — Refreshment Break 11:15 a.m.

The Constitution and My Generation

John Kaminski has edited twenty-four volumes of The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. In 1981 he founded and still directs The Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin. He has published dozens of articles and encyclopedia entries and twenty-six books on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the federal judiciary, slavery, and the Founding Fathers.

2:15 p.m. ©Zondervan 2012

Learn from a spirited American youth how she is engaging her generation in learning about the Constitution and of her high regard for George Washington, whose vision and foresight resulted in both the United States Constitution and a truly United States of America. She will explain how she is relating our Founding Father’s brilliant foresight to kids today, and why the document is so important to our independence, liberty, and freedom. This enthusiastic young historian will discuss how kids can become involved citizens and make a difference in their communities, and explain how the Constitution affects both our lives today and how it will dictate the future of our Republic.

Juliette Turner, age 14, recently authored Our Constitution Rocks, a book defining the Constitution clause-by-clause for kids in a hip and cool way. She is the National Youth Director of Constituting America, which teaches kids and adults about the Constitution, and is the founder of PoliKids, an online political forum for kids. When she isn’t writing, attending school, or learning more about the Constitution, Juliette can be found caring for her family’s eight dogs, twenty-five Texas longhorns, pony, and cat.

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn 1:15 p.m.

The Acts of Congress

George Washington’s Personal and Annotated Copy of the U.S. Constitution

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress through a spirited auction held at Christie’s in New York. Emblazoned with the Father of Our Country’s bookplate and featuring his handwritten notes penciled in the margins, this 106-page book contains his personal copy of the U.S. Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The historic volume will become a centerpiece of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a privately-funded presidential library, which is scheduled to open at Mount Vernon in the fall of 2013.

Join Dr. Edward G. Lengel, Editor of The Papers of George Washington; Deputy Chairman of Christie’s and auctioneer John Hays; and Ann Bookout, 20th Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for a roundtable discussion regarding the importance of this remarkable document, the highly-publicized sale that brought it home to Mount Vernon, and George Washington’s continuing appeal in contemporary auctions and sales, moderated by Mount Vernon’s Vice President for Collections and Robert H. Smith Senior Curator, Carol Borchert Cadou.

3:15 p.m.

A Look into the Future of Mount Vernon A Presidential Perspective.

Curtis G. Viebranz, recently-appointed president and CEO of Mount Vernon, joined the estate as an experienced media executive and proven entrepreneur, with a passion for American history and a long-standing commitment to community service.

4:00 p.m.

symposium Adjourns

The George Washington Symposium is supported by a Generous Endowment established by The Barra Foundation Fees: Through the generosity of The Barra Foundation, most expenses for the Symposium are underwritten. However, participants are required to pay a $175 ($150 for members) fee for the two-day Symposium to defray catering expenses. Single-day fees are not available. Location: All programs take place in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium, located at the Mount Vernon Inn Complex. Please park in the west visitor parking lot. Lodging: Several hotels are located in Old Town Alexandria, just nine miles from Mount Vernon: The Hilton Alexandria Old Town (703.837.0440); Sheraton Suites (703.836.4700); and Morrison House (703.838.8000). Space is limited ~ Please Respond Early. This is a ticketless event. Your name will be on a reservation list at the door. For additional information, please call 703.799.8686. Cover Image: Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention, by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856), courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch (Detail)

Oath of Office by William Fulton Soare (1931); James Madison, courtesy of the White House Historical Association (White House Collection); The Constitutional Convention, 1787, from the ceiling of the Cox Corridors of the U.S. Capitol, courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol; George Washington at Signing of US Constitution, by Albert Herter, Supreme Court Chamber, Wisconsin State Capitol, courtesy of Jim Steinhart.


gw symp2012_Symposium 9/24/2012 10:07 AM Page 1

For four months they argued over how best to meet the nation’s challenges, hammering out sometimes grimy compromises in sweltering conditions. Six extraordinary characters led them. Some are justly famous today, like George Washington. Others are barely remembered, but made huge contributions to creating the longest-surviving experiment in self-government.

Selling the Constitution

George Washington, the Print Media and the Ratification of the Constitution

David O. Stewart practiced law for more than 25 years, before turning to writing history. His award-winning book, The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution, was a Washington Post bestseller. He is also the author of American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America and Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy.

The struggle to ratify the newly proposed American Constitution in 1787-1788 was a pivotal event in world history. Much of the ratification debate took place in newspapers, broadsides, and pamphlets. Though not an active participant in the print media, George Washington came to be a dominant figure in this great public debate. His service in the Constitutional Convention, his quiet yet steadfast private support of the Constitution throughout the yearlong ratification debate, and the expectation that he would be the country’s first president were all widely reported in newspapers, helping to convince Americans that the Constitution must be adopted. His eight years as president and his support for a bill of rights provided a fair opportunity for the Constitution to succeed.

11:00 a.m. — Refreshment Break 11:15 a.m.

The Constitution and My Generation

John Kaminski has edited twenty-four volumes of The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. In 1981 he founded and still directs The Center for the Study of the American Constitution at the University of Wisconsin. He has published dozens of articles and encyclopedia entries and twenty-six books on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the federal judiciary, slavery, and the Founding Fathers.

2:15 p.m. ©Zondervan 2012

Learn from a spirited American youth how she is engaging her generation in learning about the Constitution and of her high regard for George Washington, whose vision and foresight resulted in both the United States Constitution and a truly United States of America. She will explain how she is relating our Founding Father’s brilliant foresight to kids today, and why the document is so important to our independence, liberty, and freedom. This enthusiastic young historian will discuss how kids can become involved citizens and make a difference in their communities, and explain how the Constitution affects both our lives today and how it will dictate the future of our Republic.

Juliette Turner, age 14, recently authored Our Constitution Rocks, a book defining the Constitution clause-by-clause for kids in a hip and cool way. She is the National Youth Director of Constituting America, which teaches kids and adults about the Constitution, and is the founder of PoliKids, an online political forum for kids. When she isn’t writing, attending school, or learning more about the Constitution, Juliette can be found caring for her family’s eight dogs, twenty-five Texas longhorns, pony, and cat.

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn 1:15 p.m.

The Acts of Congress

George Washington’s Personal and Annotated Copy of the U.S. Constitution

The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association recently made worldwide headlines with the acquisition of George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress through a spirited auction held at Christie’s in New York. Emblazoned with the Father of Our Country’s bookplate and featuring his handwritten notes penciled in the margins, this 106-page book contains his personal copy of the U.S. Constitution, a draft of the Bill of Rights, and other documents recording the early acts of the new Congress. The historic volume will become a centerpiece of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington, a privately-funded presidential library, which is scheduled to open at Mount Vernon in the fall of 2013.

Join Dr. Edward G. Lengel, Editor of The Papers of George Washington; Deputy Chairman of Christie’s and auctioneer John Hays; and Ann Bookout, 20th Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association for a roundtable discussion regarding the importance of this remarkable document, the highly-publicized sale that brought it home to Mount Vernon, and George Washington’s continuing appeal in contemporary auctions and sales, moderated by Mount Vernon’s Vice President for Collections and Robert H. Smith Senior Curator, Carol Borchert Cadou.

3:15 p.m.

A Look into the Future of Mount Vernon A Presidential Perspective.

Curtis G. Viebranz, recently-appointed president and CEO of Mount Vernon, joined the estate as an experienced media executive and proven entrepreneur, with a passion for American history and a long-standing commitment to community service.

4:00 p.m.

symposium Adjourns

The George Washington Symposium is supported by a Generous Endowment established by The Barra Foundation Fees: Through the generosity of The Barra Foundation, most expenses for the Symposium are underwritten. However, participants are required to pay a $175 ($150 for members) fee for the two-day Symposium to defray catering expenses. Single-day fees are not available. Location: All programs take place in the Robert H. and Clarice Smith Auditorium, located at the Mount Vernon Inn Complex. Please park in the west visitor parking lot. Lodging: Several hotels are located in Old Town Alexandria, just nine miles from Mount Vernon: The Hilton Alexandria Old Town (703.837.0440); Sheraton Suites (703.836.4700); and Morrison House (703.838.8000). Space is limited ~ Please Respond Early. This is a ticketless event. Your name will be on a reservation list at the door. For additional information, please call 703.799.8686. Cover Image: Washington as Statesman at the Constitutional Convention, by Junius Brutus Stearns (1856), courtesy of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch (Detail)

Oath of Office by William Fulton Soare (1931); James Madison, courtesy of the White House Historical Association (White House Collection); The Constitutional Convention, 1787, from the ceiling of the Cox Corridors of the U.S. Capitol, courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol; George Washington at Signing of US Constitution, by Albert Herter, Supreme Court Chamber, Wisconsin State Capitol, courtesy of Jim Steinhart.

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