McConnell Center celebrates Constitution Day

By on September 18, 2016
The Louisville Cardinal News

By Zackary June–

Unknown to many, Sept. 16th is National Constitution Day. To commemorate, the McConnell Center hosted the third and final debate in their “MVP of the Founding” series.

The debate featured two accomplished professors and authors, Michael Federici and Richard Bernstein. While most people prepared for the football game, these men readied themselves for a different kind of battle.

The debate’s question was simple: who was the MVP of the United States’ founding? Federici proposed that Alexander Hamilton was the most valuable player, while Bernstein defended that John Adams deserved the title. The two were to challenge each other’s knowledge and rhetoric, and the audience would decide who the most valuable player was.

The auditorium was full when the debate began, and the audience was eager and attentive. Many attended the previous debates and were excited to see the conclusion.

The opponents debated in theatrical fashion. Both burst into passionate character, with Bernstein even debating from the first person view of Adams. He adopted Adams’ mannerisms in an entertaining, humorous and convincing way. At many points the debate intensified to near confrontation. Bernstein shouted, while Federici grinned smugly. Both were visibly frustrated by the others arguments at times. It was obvious both debaters were passionate about their candidate.

After nearly two hours of strong debate, the two made their closing statements.

Federici noted Hamilton’s extensive success in politics, from chartering the first national bank to serving as Washington’s personal aide. Bernstein decided to focus more on Adams character, modeling him as a man of constitutional principle – unlike the aristocratic Hamilton. The debate ended professionally with a handshake between the two.

Afterwards, the two teamed up to answer questions from the audience. In constitutional fashion, a vote was held to determine the winner, to be announced on Sept. 19.

This debate was one of the many events the McConnell Center hosts. The Center was founded 25 years ago to promote the U.S. Constitution and knowledge of American history. Its programs help students develop leadership abilities, and its efforts have created leaders and scholars for the new generation.

For more information on the McConnell Center, visit its offices in the Ekstrom Library or online here.

You can find Federici and Bernstein’s publications at major bookstores.

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