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
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 is March 5, 2024. Selected teachers will be notified by April 5, 2024.