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Coastal Carolina University observes Constitution Day

September 2, 2005

Paul Peterson, professor of politics at Coastal Carolina University, will give a public talk about the U.S. Constitution on Monday, Sept. 19 in observance of Constitution Day, an annual national event commemorating the anniversary of the signing of America's founding governing document. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall in Coastal's Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Peterson's topic, "The Constitution and the Problem of Ingratitude," will address the dangers of taking the Constitution-and the freedoms it guarantees-for granted.

"We have a remarkable political system, remarkable for its protection of liberty, its stability, and for providing the basis for our economic well-being," says Peterson. "The success of our political system is due, in large part, but not exclusively so, to the Constitution, now in place for over two centuries. We have been seduced by the great success of the Constitution and its political system, taking both for granted. We need to show more gratitude for the good things that come our way."

The event will also include a panel discussion following the address moderated by Coastal Provost Peter B. Barr. The members of the panel are Coastal political science student Mindy Harrigan, Coastal history professor and associate dean John Navin, and Louis Ingram, an attorney who specialized in Constitutional law for 14 years.

Peterson joined the Coastal faculty in 1982. A native of Washington, D.C., he earned a Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate School in California in 1980. Peterson's numerous articles and professional papers on political philosophy and American politics have been published in such journals as The American Political Science Review, The John Marshall Law Review and Publius: the Journal of Federalism. He has served as president of the South Carolina Political Science Association, and he has twice been elected to the Horry County School Board.

Constitution Day is officially celebrated on Sept. 17, the actual anniversary of the signing of the document in 1787. Coastal will observe the occasion on the following Monday in order to involve more students and area citizens in the event, which is being co-sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Liberty and by Coastal's Department of Politics and Geography, Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honor society), Phi Alpha Theta (pre-law fraternity) and Division of Student Affairs. A reception with refreshments will follow the event.

For more information, contact Christina Jeffrey in Coastal's Department Department of Politics and Geography at 349-4180.