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Coastal Carolina University observes Constitution Day

September 13, 2006

Jack Riley, associate professor of politics Coastal Carolina University, will give a public talk about the U.S. Constitution tonight in observance of Constitution Day, an annual national event commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the document that established the American government. 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.

In his talk, entitled "Equality, Liberty and the Constitution," Riley will challenge traditional perceptions about the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution. "It has become entrenched among scholars that the Constitution is a departure from the democratic spirit of the Declaration of Independence," says Riley. "I will argue the opposite: the Constitution puts into effect the principles of the Declaration as well as any form of government can accomplish the task.

Riley, who joined Coastal's faculty in 1985, earned his bachelor's degree in history from Assumption College and his master's and doctorate degrees in government from Claremont Graduate School. He is a past recipient of Coastal's Student Government Association's Professor of the Year award and specializes in political philosophy and American political thought during the founding period.

John Navin, associate professor of history, will respond to Riley's argument. He is associate dean of the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts and teaches early American history courses covering the Colonial through the antebellum periods.

Constitution lawyer Louis Ingram, a trustee of the Institute for the Study of Liberty, will also argue the issue, and Dan Colaizzi, a senior in political science, will be the student respondent. 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 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 and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science honor society).

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