James W. Ceaser

Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

James Ceaser is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and director of the Program for Constitutionalism and Democracy. He is the author of several books on American politics and American political thought, including Presidential Selection (Princeton University Press, 1979), Reconstructing America (Yale University Press, 1997), and Nature and History in American Political Development (Harvard University Press, 2006) ), and Designing a Polity (Rowman and Littlefield, 2010). He has held visiting positions at Harvard University, Princeton University, Oxford University, the University of Basel, and the University of Bordeaux. He is a frequent contributor to the popular press, most recently the Weekly Standard and the National Review.

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Recent Commentary

Featured Commentary

The I Factor

by James W. Ceaservia The Weekly Standard
Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents and the first-person pronoun: a historical survey.

Featured Commentary

Freedom, Virtue, And Walter Berns

by James W. Ceaservia The Weekly Standard
Monday, January 26, 2015

Walter Berns, a leading figure in the study of constitutional law for nearly half a century, enjoyed an advantage over most other scholars in this field: He never attended law school. Unburdened by this professional training, Berns brought to his subject the fresh perspective of an outsider who had studied political philosophy at the University of Chicago, earning his doctorate in 1953.

Featured Commentary

The Flight From Reason On Campus

by James W. Ceaservia The Weekly Standard
Monday, December 22, 2014

The university is often said to be the first place in our society to look for the truth. Unfortunately, it is now one of the last places to find it.

Other Media

Book Review: Do What I Mean, Not What I Say

by James W. Ceaservia Wall Street Journal
Friday, October 24, 2014

Good prose always strives to be clear and direct. Or so we all think now. Arthur Melzer’s remarkable book shines a floodlight on a topic that has been cloaked in obscurity: esoteric writing. Using such techniques as deliberate contradiction, parable and allusion, authors who write esoterically craft texts so that they operate on two levels.

Featured Commentary

Kingdom Come

by James W. Ceaservia The Weekly Standard
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

There are no copyrights on book titles. F. H. Buckley nevertheless shows remarkable audacity in borrowing The Once and Future King from T. H. White’s children’s classic, published in 1958. White enchanted his readers with a fantasy based on the Arthurian legend, replete with swords and sorcery, while Buckley has given us a sobering account of the transformation of the American presidency into an elective monarchy.

Holy Bible
Featured Commentary

The Great Disappointment of 2013

by James W. Ceaservia Weekly Standard
Monday, March 3, 2014

Every student of American religious history has heard of the event known as “the Great Disappointment.” In 1818 William Miller, a former naval captain turned lay Baptist preacher, developed a new method for calculating biblical chronology to arrive at the conclusion that the millennium would take place sometime between 1842 and 1844. Finally published in 1832, Miller’s thesis quickly drew attention. A sect began to form, spreading from Miller’s home region in Eastern New York to New England and beyond. Millerism was born.

US Ballot Box Image

Crossroad: The Stakes in the 2012 Elections

by James W. Ceaservia Advancing a Free Society
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preeminent scholar of American politics and the presidency, James W. Ceaser, assess four scenarios for the national political situation on the day after the November election.

The Thinkers

The Businessman and the Intellectual

by James W. Ceaservia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 26, 2012

Despite endless debate about the issues, the presidential contest comes down to character. By James W. Ceaser.

Young Adults

2012 In Perspective: Obama, Ryan, and the Youth Vote

by James W. Ceaser, John Yorkvia Advancing a Free Society
Monday, August 27, 2012

When Paul Ryan mounts the podium on Wednesday to deliver his acceptance speech, he will give conservatives not just the ideological edge they have been longing for, but also an image of youth.

Law, Healthcare, and Finance

ACA ruling is a clarion call to defend “political constitutionalism”

by James W. Ceaservia Advancing a Free Society
Friday, June 29, 2012

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision on Obamacare is a tragic setback to the nascent movement of  “political constitutionalism.”