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Grant number like: FT-60487-13

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David Sehat
Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA 30303-2538)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2013 – 7/31/2013

The Founding Fathers in the History of American Politics from Thomas Jefferson to Ronald Reagan

The Founding Fathers are a fixture of modern American politics. In the frequently bitter disputes of contemporary political debate, all sides draw upon the Founders to legitimate their own positions, to critique the positions of others, and to mobilize their own supporters. Every year a remarkable number of Founders-oriented books and movies sustain their political salience. So widespread is the phenomenon that it has become common for historians to refer to "Founders Chic," the somewhat perplexing trend in which the dead white men of the eighteenth century have become intellectual stylish in the twenty-first. Yet Founders Chic raises obvious questions: Why do people invoke the Founders so often in contemporary discourse? How has the use of the Founders in political rhetoric changed over time? And why are the Founders so often the subject of manipulation? I am writing a book on the uses of the Founders in the history of American politics to address these questions.