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What Would the Founding Fathers Do About the Syria Crisis?

Come hear what the Founding Fathers have to say about Syria—and many other issues—at a presentation at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, September 16, 2013, in the HUB Ohio Room.

The presentation, “Original Intentions? A Chat with the Founding Fathers,” is part of IUP’s annual Constitution Day activities.

“When it comes to military action, there’s a degree of ambiguity in the U.S. Constitution,” said event organizer Gwen Torges, Department of Political Science, which is cosponsoring the event with the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “Article II of the Constitution designates the president as the commander-in-chief of the military, but Congress is the branch authorized to declare war,” she said. “So, when it comes to military actions that fall short of war, the Constitution doesn’t offer a lot of guidance about which branch should make that call.”

During the past few weeks, the country has watched as President Obama and the Congress debate whether or not the U.S. should take military action against the Syrian government, which is alleged to have used chemical weapons against its own people, in violation of international law. But the President and the Congress have also debated over which branch of government should be making this decision.

“So, I decided that we should ask the Founding Fathers themselves about this,” said Torges.

At the presentation Monday night, Torges will lead a conversation with four of the framers of the Constitution: Ben Franklin, Charles Pinckney, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, portrayed, respectively, by Political Science professors David Chambers, Dighton “Mac” Fiddner, and Steven Jackson and Historyprofessor Joe Mannard.

Students, faculty, staff, and the Indiana community are invited to hear what the framers were thinking when they wrote the U.S. Constitution, as well as how they might view a variety of contemporary constitutional challenges. The audience will also have a chance to ask questions of the Founders.

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