James MacGregor Burns examines the similarities and the contrasts in leadership qualities of the Founding Fathers and of political leaders in the 1980s. He argues that the fragmentation of modern American politics makes it difficult for politicians to become effective leaders. He also notes that America requires political leaders, such as Thomas Jefferson, who are willing to reassess and reform the political system.
At the time of this interview, Burns, professor of political science at Williams College, was a participant in a conference at the National Humanities Center devoted to the theme of “Liberty and Equality under the Constitution.”
This edition of Soundings was conducted by Wayne J. Pond.