Events Roundup at the Wilson Center

Constitution restrains unhinged government  lincoln


by Dr. David Marion

Director of Academic Programs & Elliott Professor of Goverment & Foreign Affairs at the Wilson Center

It may be the case that Abraham Lincoln occasionally stretched his executive powers to questionable lengths during the Civil War, but it also is the case that Lincoln was careful to offer a Constitution-related defense of these actions.

Lincoln understood the dangers of completely unhinging politics and governance from the Constitution, and he took pains to warn his contemporaries of these dangers. There is growing evidence that our political culture no longer reflects the wisdom of Lincoln's counsel and actions.

What Lincoln understood, and what too many public officials and candidates seem to have forgotten today, is that the compulsion to connect one's proposals and actions to the Constitution creates useful outer boundaries - even if they are sometimes broad outer boundaries - to politics and governance.




Moton Museum Honors 'General Sam' Wilson Moton

by  Ken Woodley

FARMVILLE - The Robert Russa Moton Museum honored the man affectionately known as "General Sam" on Monday (Sept. 17) "for his efforts and achievements to establish moral and social respect and dignity for all citizens of Prince Edward County."

Retired United States Army Lieutenant General Samuel V. Wilson, of Rice, was presented with a framed resolution.  The museum's Honoring General Sam Fund was established to support the installation and maintenance of the newly rededicated American and Virginia flags at the museum.                             




                                                                                                           Photo by Ken Woodley, Farmville Herald



John Wirges '15 Contracting Ceremony

On September 20, 2012, Cadet John Wirges '15 was administered the Army's commissioning oath in front of Memorial Gates which honor Hampden-Sydney alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.  Cadet Wirges will take his commissioning oath as an Army officer during graduation ceremonies in May 2015.


Wirges Contracting


Howard & Wirges



Dr. William F. Connelly - Constitution Day Speaker

September 17, Dr. William Connelly was the featrured speaker as the Wilson Center commorated Constitution Day 2012.  Dr. Connelly is a professor of political science at Washington and Lee University.  His presentation was based largely on his new book, James Madison Rules America.


James Madison Rules America: the Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship 

James Madison Rules America examines congressional party legislative and electoral strategy in the context of our constitutional separation of powers. In a departure from recent books that have described Congress as "the broken branch" or the "Second Civil War," William Connelly argues that partisanship, polarization and the permanent campaign are an inevitable part of congressional politics. The strategic conundrum confronting both parties in the House of Representatives - whether to be part of the "government" or part of the "opposition" - provides evidence of how concretely James Madison's Constitution governs the behavior of politicians to this day. Drawing on a two-hundred year debate within American political thought among the Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Alexis de Tocqueville and Woodrow Wilson, James Madison Rules America is as topical as current debates over partisan polarization and the permanent campaign, while being grounded in two enduring and important schools of thought within political science: pluralism and party government.  


Current Events Series

Dr. Edith Simms

"The Single Sex College: Educational Treasure or Antiquated Artifact?"

Simms  Simms

On September 26, Dr. Edie Simms of Lynchburg College, discussed the pros and cons of single sex education. Dr. Simms is the Founder and CEO of Simms Educational Consulting in addition to currently serving as the Learning Resources Specialist for Lynchburg College. She is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Wilson Center.  Prior to working at Lynchburg College, Dr. Simms held positions as the Director of Admissions and Student Affairs for the Batten School at the University of Virginia,  the Associate Dean of Students at Wabash College, and at Hampden-Sydney College as an Academic Counselor.

Dr. Simms earned her BA in English from the University of Maryland, and her MEd in Counseling and PhD in Higher Education from the University of Virginia. Her dissertation is titled Student Engagement at Two Single-Sex Colleges: Hampden-Sydney and Sweet Briar. Other research interests include student athletes, access to higher education for low-income students, and student engagement and retention. 


Gadhafi and Mubarak vs. Four American SimmsLives

by Dr. James Y Simms

Professor Emeritus of History &

Director of Military Leadership & National Security Studies


The very sad loss of four Americans, including a US Ambassador, in Libya focuses our attention on the foreign policy of this government vis-à-vis the "Arab Spring." That policy, implemented approximately 18 months ago, found the U.S. government supporting - either tacitly or materially - the rebellions in Libya and Egypt against the dictatorships of Moammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak.

The outcome to date of that policy is the U.S., 2 and the rebels, 4 - clearly not a win. Indeed, the real question is: Were the overthrows of Gadhafi and Mubarak worth the lives of four Foreign Service employees, and were they in the best interest of the United States? In addition, was it worth the expenditure of $2 billion in the use of cruise missiles?