Walter Berns, 1919 -

“Walter’s devotion to constitutionalism goes deeper than the written document and the institutions it created, and his appreciation of the Constitution itself is richer than that of jurists who must interpret it and lawyers who look to it as the bedrock law of the American polity. Walter’s work has always been informed by lifelong study of political philosophy and, therefore, also by a sensitivity to and a concern for certain extra-Constitutional yet constitutive conditions, cultural and spiritual, for the flourishing of the American constitutional order: civic virtue, love of country, and the education of the young.” – Leon R. Kass

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As a boy in 1920s Chicago, Walter Berns watched survivors of the Indian Wars march down Michigan Avenue during the Memorial Day parade. At school, he memorized the Gettysburg Address and revered Abraham Lincoln as “a genius . . . our greatest patriot.” These beginnings sparked a love of country that has led the political… [Read More]


Walter Berns was a student of Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago in the early 1950s. Like a number of Strauss students of that era—notably, Martin Diamond, Harry Jaffa, and Herbert Storing—his work sought to apply the perspective of classical political philosophy to the study of American government and politics. Almost all of Berns’… [Read More]

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At a discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, Leon R. Kass and Walter Berns discuss Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln and the lasting impact of our 16th president’s words and deeds.

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