Return to the Founders to Save America

April 07-07, 2022
Sheraton Commander Hotel (16 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138)
5:00 P.M.

Is the Constitution Dying...or is it Already Dead?


America is at a crossroads and the way forward is unclear.

Rapid social decay, a bloated federal bureaucracy, and increasingly unaccountable multi-national corporations are putting unprecedented strains on the constitutional system created by the American Founders.

Is our 234 year-old constitutional order at death’s doorstep? What would the death of the Constitution mean for America?

Do the principles, institutions, and mores at the heart of the American Founding have a future?

Or, have the racial tensions stemming from the stain of slavery, economic and political inequality, and Enlightenment liberalism finally caught up with America?

Join ISI on April 7 at the Abigail Adams Institute for a debate between Hillsdale College professor Michael Anton and best-selling author Patrick Deneen as they discuss whether the American project rightly understood still possesses the resources to realize its grandest aspirations and noblest sentiments. This debate will engage opposing views on the relationship between traditional political life and proposed new ideas to radically transform it.

Before the debate, you are invited to join us for a reception at 5:00 P.M. at the Sheraton Commander hotel for drinks and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The debate will begin at 6:00 P.M.


This debate can be attended in-person or through livestream. To receive the link for the livestream via an email the day of the debate, select “attend via livestream” when registering.

This debate is part of the Diana Davis Spencer Debate Series. ISI is grateful to the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation for its continued partnership in our efforts to educate for liberty.



This debate is cosponsored by the Abigail Adams Institute. AAI is an independent scholarly institute dedicated to providing supplementary humanistic education to the Harvard intellectual community. We are grateful to the institute for their collaboration on this important discussion.



Michael Anton

Michael Anton is lecturer in politics and a research fellow at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington, D.C. He previously served in national security positions for both Donald Trump and George W. Bush, as well as in the administrations of California governor Pete Wilson and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. He has extensive experience in the private sector and was educated at the Claremont Graduate University, St. John’s College, and the University of California. He is also the author of the newly released book The Stakes: America at the Point of No Return.

Patrick J. Deneen
Patrick Deneen

Patrick J. Deneen is the author of seven books, including “Why Liberalism Failed,” “Conserving America? Thoughts on Present Discontents,” and “Democratic Faith.” He holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University.  From 1995-1997 he was Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency.  From 1997-2005 he was Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton University.  From 2005-2012 he was Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of Notre Dame in Fall 2012.  He is the author and editor of several books and numerous articles and reviews and has delivered invited lectures around the world.

Deneen was awarded the A.P.S.A.’s Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995, and an honorable mention for the A.P.S.A.’s Best First Book Award in 2000.  He has been awarded research fellowships from Princeton University, Earhart Foundation, and the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Virginia.

Danilo Petranovich

Dr. Petranovich is the Director of the Abigail Adams Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute provides supplementary humanistic education to the Harvard intellectual community by exploring questions of deep human concern that cut across the boundaries of academic disciplines. 

Previously, Dr. Petranovich taught political science at Duke University and Yale University. His scholarly expertise is in nineteenth century European and American political and social thought. He is currently writing a book, contracted with Yale University Press, on nationalism and the North in antebellum America. 

He is frequently seen in Harvard’s Kirkland House, where he is a dedicated member of the Senior Common Room.

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For any questions, contact Elizabeth Newman at