A.E. Dick Howard to speak at Historic St. John's Church

On Wednesday May 8, 2019, St. John’s Church Foundation is proud to present A. E. Dick Howard as the first speaker in our 2019 Walter W. Craigie Speaker Series. Professor Howard is the Warner-Booker Distinguished Professor of International Law, University of Virginia, School of Law and will present a talk entitled:

Liberty’s Quest: American Ideas Here and Abroad


Street Parking.

When Patrick Henry spoke of “liberty or death” at the Second Virginia Convention in 1775, America stood at the threshold of the age of constitutionalism. The next year, in Williamsburg, the Virginia delegates instructed their colleagues in Philadelphia to introduce a resolution for independence. The Williamsburg convention then proceeded directly to the drafting of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights and a frame of government.

These American beginnings resonated around the world. The Virginia Declaration of Rights directly influenced France’s Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789). In succeeding centuries, American ideas were at the heart of an international conversation about democracy, constitutionalism, and rights. Especially was this true in the decades after World War II, when America helped build a new international order.

After the collapse of communism, many predicted a global movement toward constitutionalism and democracy. After the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, Professor Howard consulted with constitution-makers in Central and Eastern Europe as drafters sought to implant liberty’s seed in those countries.

Today, the international scene gives us pause. In Hungary, Viktor Orban proclaims an “illiberal democracy.” We see the rise of nationalism, authoritarianism, and populism in many countries. These developments invite us, in the words of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, to mull the need for a “frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”

Questions? Call 804-643-0555 or alexa AT historicstjohnschurch.org