Michael Zuckert

Michael Zuckert is Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor and Department Chair of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

Michael Zuckert Responds to His Critics

The first two responses to my Liberty Forum essay illustrate well that political theory is (still) not an exact science. Francis Beckwith finds my “religious liberty taxonomy” to be “largely correct . . . as an account of the history of America’s church/state jurisprudence,” but he doubts that my classification is as adequate for understanding “the issues we have today.” Richard Samuelson, however, finds my essay to be a “great introduction to religious liberty as it is discussed in America today,” but he suggests it is not so good in dealing with “religious liberty in the colonial era and in…

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Religious Liberty After John Locke

The central point of Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay is that contemporary disputes about religious liberty should not come as a surprise, since they are the result of three contrary, though sometimes overlapping, understandings of religious liberty that have been found in the body politic in differing degrees since the American Founding. He classifies these…

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The Paradox of Jefferson’s “Establishment of Religious Liberty” and the Problem of the Administrative State

Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay is a great introduction to religious liberty as it is discussed in America today, and provides a useful analytical framework to understand the tensions and controversies we face with regard to religious liberty, and perhaps liberty more generally. He strikes me as on the mark in his conclusion that religious…

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Religious Freedom Can Now Mean Only: Freedom for Religion

Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay does an excellent job of bringing to light ambiguities and tensions that have always been present in the notion of religious freedom. He is certainly right that there is no Pure Theory of Religious Freedom, which, if only we can grasp it and make it universally accepted, would resolve all…

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Freedom of, Freedom for, and Freedom from Religion: The Contested Character of Religious Freedom in America

A statue of Thomas Jefferson includes this figure holding a tablet bearing several names that different belief systems have for a higher power, titled “Religious Freedom, 1786.”

Americans are discussing the topic of “religious freedom” quite a lot these days, which might give us the impression that religious freedom is one fixed thing. Or perhaps some would say it used to be one thing but has become something else since the time of the Founding. This Liberty Forum essay will argue that the situation, both historically and today, is more complex than either view. I want to argue that there is indeed a core or center to the idea of religious freedom in America but that this core or center is at the intersection of, or overlap among,…

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Responses

Religious Liberty After John Locke

The central point of Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay is that contemporary disputes about religious liberty should not come as a surprise, since they are the result of three contrary, though sometimes overlapping, understandings of religious liberty that have been found in the body politic in differing degrees since the American Founding. He classifies these…

Read More

The Paradox of Jefferson’s “Establishment of Religious Liberty” and the Problem of the Administrative State

Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay is a great introduction to religious liberty as it is discussed in America today, and provides a useful analytical framework to understand the tensions and controversies we face with regard to religious liberty, and perhaps liberty more generally. He strikes me as on the mark in his conclusion that religious…

Read More

Religious Freedom Can Now Mean Only: Freedom for Religion

Michael Zuckert’s Liberty Forum essay does an excellent job of bringing to light ambiguities and tensions that have always been present in the notion of religious freedom. He is certainly right that there is no Pure Theory of Religious Freedom, which, if only we can grasp it and make it universally accepted, would resolve all…

Read More

Michael Zuckert Responds to His Critics

The first two responses to my Liberty Forum essay illustrate well that political theory is (still) not an exact science. Francis Beckwith finds my “religious liberty taxonomy” to be “largely correct . . . as an account of the history of America’s church/state jurisprudence,” but he doubts that my classification is as adequate for understanding…

Read More

The Paths of the Historian

sometimes an art

The recent publication of Sometimes an Art: Nine Essays on History by Harvard Emeritus Professor Bernard Bailyn provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on Bailyn the historian and his contribution to the understanding of the 17th and 18th centuries. One cannot always trust the blurbs on the back covers of books, but in this case Jonathan Yardley’s judgment is no mere piece of puffery: “For approximately half a century, Bailyn has been the country’s most distinguished and influential scholar of the Revolution.” The one place where Yardley goes wrong is in limiting Bailyn’s portfolio to the American Revolution. It’s true that…

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