NSU’s Schaff publishes article, book chapter on the Lincoln presidency

Professor standing in front of building

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University Professor of Political Science Dr. Jon Schaff has published two recent pieces a journal article and book chapter regarding the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Schaff’s article, “Lincoln’s Domestic Policy: Toward a More Modest Conception of the Presidency,” was published in the spring 2020 edition of the journal Lincoln Lore. In the article, Schaff argues that while being a strong war president, Lincoln was largely deferential to congress on other matters. This article is a summation of an argument Schaff makes in his book, Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy, published in July 2019.

Schaff also published a chapter, “The American Constitution and Statesmanship: An Argument From Lincoln,” in the book, “From Reflection & Choice: The Political Philosophy of the Federalist Papers and Ratification Debate,” published in March by Mercer University Press. Schaff’s chapter asserts that the framers of the Constitution put too much faith in properly constructed institutions as a protection of natural rights; the lesson from Lincoln is that a statesman is also needed to give a poetic defense of those rights.

Schaff, who specializes in the study of American political thought and institutions, received his bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University, his master’s from the University of Wyoming and his Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. At Northern, he has been a department Chair, faculty athletic representative, Chair of the NSU Promotion and Tenure committee, and 2005 NSU Outstanding Faculty Award winner.

Schaff was recently awarded a competitive research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to fund his book-length research project, “A More Perfect Union: Jefferson, Hamilton, and Lincoln and America's Unfinished Work.” He is also author of the book “Age of Anxiety: Meaning, Identity, and Politics in 21st-Century Film and Literature,” co-written with former Northern colleague Dr. Anthony Wachs.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a student-centered institution that provides an outstanding educational experience, preparing students through the liberal arts and professional education for their future endeavors. A regional university, Northern offers rigorous academics; diverse civic, social and cultural opportunities; and a commitment to building an inclusive environment for all points of view. Northern also offers a broad-based athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). The university strives to enrich the community through partnerships such as its Educational Impact Campaign, which opened a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; new athletic and recreation fields; and, soon, an on-campus regional sports complex. With the $55 million campaign, NSU has been the recipient of more than $120 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.