Statesmanship in American History

Statesmanship in American History

Statesmanship in American History will allow up to 20 8th–12th grade teachers to participate in a weeklong professional development event on-site at Princeton University.


Application Deadline: The application closed on March 5, 2024. Join us for free livestreams of seminar lectures.
Livestream Dates: July 15–19, 2024

Lead Scholar: Allen Guelzo
Master Teacher: Nathan McAlister


Image Source: James Madison by Gilbert Stuart, ca. 1805–1807 (Bowdoin College Museum of Art)

Portrait of James Madison by Gilbert Stuart
  • 32 PD Hours

Program Overview

Portrait photo showing close-up of Frederick Douglass

Portrait photo of Frederick Douglass, ca.1861–1865 (Gilder Lehrman Collection), GLC05111.01.1318

Statesmanship, or statecraft, is the pursuit of politics at the highest level, beyond the levels of organization, mobilization, planning, and leadership. It comes at rare moments in the life of a nation or a polity, usually at a time of founding or of re-founding. It is highly prized, and we think we know it when we see it. But what, exactly, are its components? What are the qualities that make for statesmanship? Can it be developed, or is it a mysterious something that only a few possess? Who has provided examples of it in the American past? In these turbulent and polarized times, Americans need statecraft more than ever, and, more than ever, we need to know what it is, how it can be recognized, and whether it can be cultivated. From George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass to the present day, we will consider who our statesmen have been, and what we can pass on to our students as directions for their futures in statecraft.

Offered in partnership with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. Supported by the Jack Miller Center

Application Information

Interested 8th–12th grade teachers should complete an application to be considered. Applications will be reviewed by Gilder Lehrman Institute and James Madison Program staff. The deadline to submit an application was March 5, 2024. Selected teachers will be notified by April 5, 2024.

Project Team

Headshot of scholar Allen Guelzo

Allen C. Guelzo, Lead Scholar

Allen c. Guelzo is the Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Research Scholar in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, where he also directs the Madison Program’s Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. His book Gettysburg: The Last Invasion was a New York Times bestseller in 2013. From 2006 to 2012, he was a member of the National Council on the Humanities. Together with Patrick Allitt and Gary W. Gallagher, he team-taught the Teaching Company’s American History series, and has completed five other series for the Teaching Company. His most recent books are Reconstruction: A Concise History (Oxford University Press, 2019) and Robert E. Lee: A Life (Knopf, 2021), which was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of Ten Best Books for 2021. His website is

Headshot of scholar Shilo Brooks

Shilo Brooks, Faculty

Shilo Brooks is executive director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and lecturer in the Department of Politics. He was previously associate teaching professor at the University of Colorado, where he was faculty director of the Engineering Leadership Program and associate faculty director of the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization. He is author of Nietzsche’s Culture War in addition to scholarly and journalistic articles on a variety of topics in politics, history, and culture. His teaching and research interests lie in the history of political philosophy, statesmanship, and the humanities. Brooks has also held appointments as visiting professor of government at Bowdoin College, fellow in the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia, and fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton. He received his PhD in Political Science from Boston College and his BA in Liberal Arts from the Great Books Program at St. John’s College, Annapolis.

Headshot of scholar Matthew J. Franck

Matthew J. Franck, Faculty

Matthew J. Franck is a retired lecturer in politics and former associate director of the James Madison Program in Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is also a senior fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, contributing editor at Public Discourse, and professor emeritus of political science at Radford University, where he chaired the department and taught courses in political philosophy, constitutional law, and American politics. Franck has written, edited, or contributed to books published by the University Press of Kansas, Lexington Books, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press, and has published articles and reviews in such periodicals as American Political Thought, the Review of Politics, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Public Discourse.

Headshot of Master Teacher Nathan McAlister

Nathan McAlister, Master Teacher

Nathan McAlister currently serves as the Humanities Program Manager – History, Government, and Social Studies with the Kansas State Department of Education. Prior to his work at KSDE Nathan taught middle and high school history for twenty-four years. Over his career, his students created and led several civic and historic preservation projects. These include three pieces of Kansas legislation, a Civil War mural, a Civil War Veterans, Kansas Database project, many National History Day projects, and six award-winning Lowell Milken for Unsung Heroes projects. In 2010, Nathan was named Kansas and National History Teacher of the Year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History. McAlister has also been named a Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Master Teacher Fellow, Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes Fellow, a George Washington Library Lifeguard Teacher Fellow, and a Council on Foreign Relations Teacher Ambassador. He currently serves on the boards of the Kansas Council for History Education, and the iCivics National Educators Network.