About the George Washington Forum
Civic Education, Civil Debate, Viewpoint Diversity
The Menard Family George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics, and Institutions teaches America’s foundational principles in their Western intellectual, political, and institutional contexts. It is grounded on the idea that students facing an increasingly globalized world need to understand what characterizes and distinguishes the nation in which they live and the civilization from which it emerged. The Forum helps students become enlightened citizens in a liberal democracy whose roots run deep in Western civilization, but whose ideals and interests transcend the West.
The Menard Family George Washington Forum pursues its mission in at least three interconnected ways:
- It directs and encourages the efforts to teach Ohio University undergraduates the history of America and its location within the Western tradition.
- It encourages rigorous scholarship on important themes in American and Western history through themed conferences, public lectures, and publications.
- It provides scholarship funding to Ohio University undergraduates interested in free societies and what makes them possible.
The Menard Family George Washington Forum is a participant in The Jack Miller Center-Veritas Fund for Higher Education Initiative. The Forum’s first year of operation was academic year 2009–10, and its future success depends on the generous support of foundations and private individuals who share its commitment to civic education and viewpoint diversity. Thank you for your interest in the Forum, and we appreciate all who support our efforts.
Robert G. Ingram
Professor of History
Director, The Menard Family George Washington Forum
Robert G. Ingramingramr@ohio.edu
Robert G. Ingram is an historian at Ohio University, where he teaches courses in early modern British and European religious, political, and intellectual history. Born and brought up in Ruston, Louisiana, he did his undergraduate work at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and his doctoral work at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Robert is the founding director of the George Washington Forum on American Ideas, Politics, and Institutions, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the President of the Southern Conference on British Studies.
James M. Vaughnjmvaughn@ohio.edu
James M. Vaughn is the JMC-Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow (2019–2021). He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from Cornell University. He taught at the University of Texas at Austin and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University. His first book, The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III (Yale, 2019), provides a revisionist account of British imperial expansion and politics during the eighteenth century. His co-edited book, Envisioning Empire: The New British World from 1763 to 1773 (Bloomsbury, 2019), is out this November, while another book, The East India Company and the English Revolution, c. 1640–1714 (Primus), will be out later next year. As a postdoctoral fellow, he will be completing a new book, A Very Bourgeois Revolution, which reexamines and reinterprets the American Revolution, the wider Age of Revolution in the Atlantic world, and the origins of liberal democracy.
Past Postdoctoral Fellows
Timothy Lehmann was a postdoctoral fellow in the George Washington Forum at Ohio University, 2016-2017. He is a senior advisor for policy in the US Office of Personnel and Management. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College and his B.A. from Kenyon College. He specializes in the history of political philosophy, with an emphasis on eighteenth century political thought. His current research focuses on Montesquieu and Rousseau, especially with regard to the themes of freedom, human passions, education, commerce, and citizenship. He has taught American politics at Boston College and political philosophy and comparative politics at the College of the Holy Cross.
Christopher Barker, a political theorist, was the Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. Legal and Constitutional History, 2012-2014. He is now an assistant professor of political science at American University in Cairo. Previously he taught at Southwestern University in Kansas. He came to Ohio University after holding positions at Harvard University and Boston College. He completed his dissertation at Claremont Graduate University, where he wrote on John Stuart Mill’s account of the problem of authority in democracy. His current research assesses the way in which liberal democratic political theorists conceive of the nexus between representation, religious belief, and scientific authority. He is presently working on a book manuscript exploring the way in which political representatives, religious believers, and scientific experts have (and have failed to) become the three authoritative voices of liberal regimes.
Dr. Patrick Peel was the Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Fellow in U.S. Legal & Constitutional History, 2010-12. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Michigan. Peel has an M.A. in philosophy and a Ph.D. in politics from Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the historical development of American law and its contribution to state building. His dissertation, Building Judicial Capacity in the Early American State: Legal Populism, County Courts, and Credit, 1645-1860, won the Edward S. Corwin Award from the American Political Science Association for the best dissertation in the field of public law. Peel is currently finishing a book that tells the story of how local legal institutions built a “rule of law” culture in early American society. This story runs counter to the traditional “top-down” stories, which focus on the Supreme Court, federal courts, and elite legal opinion, ignoring the legal attitudes of the middling sort people, and the legal institutions they used and valued.