Charles R. Kesler

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Charles Kesler)
Jump to: navigation, search

Charles R. Kesler (born 1956) is professor of Government/Political Science at Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate University. He holds a Ph.D in Government from Harvard University, from which he received his AB degree in 1978. He is editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and the author of Keeping the Tablets: Readings in American Conservatism. He was Director of the Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World and Claremont Institute's Publius Fellows Program.

At Claremont, he is a senior fellow of the conservative Claremont Institute, and directs their Publius Fellows Program, a summer institute. Additionally, he is the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, a quarterly political magazine. He was the Director of Henry Salvatori Center at Claremont McKenna College.


On Lincoln[edit]

Kesler is known for taking his scholarship of former President Lincoln very seriously[citation needed]. In a review of David Herbert Donald's book Lincoln he claimed that Donald tried to make Lincoln far more pragmatic, moderate, and generally inept than he really was. He claims that Lincoln's mission to reinstate the Declaration of Independence to its rightful place as a guide to constitutional jurisprudence and the soul of the American experiment is overlooked by Donald. Kesler notes that Donald had spent considerable time under the tutelage of historian James G. Randall. Randall argued that no great difference existed between the philosophies of Lincoln and political rival Stephen Douglas. Although Mr. Donald did not go as far as his teacher he leaves much to be desired because he shows us, as Kesler concludes, "Lincoln the politician but misses Lincoln the statesman".[1]

The Claremont Institute[edit]

Kesler is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and an editor of the Claremont Review of Books. Kesler describes the purpose of the Institute as follows:

Some conservatives start, as it were, from Edmund Burke; others from Friedrich Hayek. While we respect both thinkers and their schools of thought, we begin instead from America, the American political tradition in all its genius and profundity, and the relation of our tradition to revealed wisdom and to what the elderly Jefferson once called, rather insouciantly, "the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc." We think conservatism should take its bearings from the founders' statesmanship, our citizens' loyalty to the Declaration and Constitution, and the scenes, both tender and proud, of our national history. This kind of approach clears the air. It concentrates the mind. It engages and informs the ordinary citizen's patriotism. And it introduces a new, sharper view of liberalism as descended not from the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, nor (God forbid) Abraham Lincoln, but from that movement which, a century ago, criticized George Washington's and Lincoln's Constitution as outmoded and, as we'd say today, racist, sexist, and antidemocratic. The Progressives broke with the old Constitution and its postulates, and set out to make a new, living constitution and a new, unlimited state, and the Obama Administration's programs are merely the latest, and worst, installment of that purported evolution.[2]


Kesler has edited several widely used books:

  • Saving the Revolution:The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (Free Press, 1987) held in over 500 American libraries.
  • Keeping the Tablets: Readings in American Conservatism (HarperCollins, 1988)(together with William F. Buckley, Jr.).
  • The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics, 2003) (this is the best selling edition of The Federalist Papers)[3]

He has published many peer-reviewed articles and political articles and reviews in publications of the Claremont Institute and elsewhere.

Dr. Kesler was a delegate to the International Youth Year Conference in Jamaica in 1985.[4]


External links[edit]