Lectures For Lifelong Learners!

James Todd

James Todd

James Todd

American History Lecturer

Politics, American History

Available for in-person lectures in:
South Florida

Available via Zoom?

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James Todd is an Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Politics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach. His areas of expertise include American government, constitutional law, and political history. Since he and his family arrived in Palm Beach County in 2015, Dr. Todd has been a frequent contributor to local and national media coverage of politics. He has regularly appeared as a speaker for Palm Beach County civic, community, and library groups. In 2022, Dr. Todd contributed lectures about the Constitution to the State of Florida Civics Seal of Excellence teacher training program. A native of Alabama, Todd received a B.A. in political science and economics from Jacksonville State University (2001), a law degree (2005) and Ph.D. in American politics (2015) from The University of Alabama. His most recent published work is "Why Do We Have a Constitution?" for The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes (2023).

Lectures include:

Disputed Presidential Elections: How They Happen, and What They Mean for Democracy

This talk will review the five most contentious presidential elections in American history: 1800, 1824, 1876, 2000, and 2020.  It will explore related issues such as how we elect presidents, how controversies in elections tend to arise, how they get resolved, and their impact on future elections. This topic is especially pertinent in our current political era, since our elections are often close, and the nation is sharply divided. Note: This lecture is 1 hour and 15 minutes, including time for a Q&A.

Landmark Cases Of The Supreme Court

This talk will address the role and importance of the Supreme Court in American history through the lens of six landmark cases that developed the meaning of the Constitution, for good or for ill.  From well-known cases like Brown v. Board of Education, to lesser-known ones like U.S. v. Carolene Products, the topic should leave listeners better informed about the development of American constitutional law.  

Presidential Impeachments: Constitutional Moment or Partisan Spectacle?

This lecture will look at presidential impeachments from a constitutional and historical perspective.  What do presidential impeachments seek to accomplish?  Can we expect more of them in the future?  Why do impeachments tend to happen?  What do the five presidential impeachments in history have in common, and how is each one unique?

The Visions and Conflicts of the American Founders

This lecture will explore the constitutional vision of five American Founding Fathers, and how those visions came into conflict after the Republic was created: Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.  While each Founder contributed to the creation of America, they also had strong disagreements about the nature of our constitutional union.

Top Ten American Historical Documents

A look at the 10 most significant documents in American political history, with an assessment of their meaning and impact on shaping our nation.  This talk is perfect for audiences looking for a refresher in America's civic history.  

Why Political Parties? Why Only Two Parties?

An examination of why political parties formed in America, how the parties have developed, how they came to dominate our politics, and why only two major parties compete for power in U.S. elections.  The talk will look at the current partisan divide, the gridlock this causes in government, and prospects for the future.

Current Supreme Court Cases Worth Watching

An overview of significant Supreme Court cases that will soon be decided, and what they will likely mean for American law and government.  The talk will also address some recently decided cases of importance to the law—beyond the news headlines and talking points of politicians.

Seven Principles of the U.S. Constitution Worth Celebrating

A look at the major values embedded in the U.S. Constitution, and what they mean for the American people. These remarks are often a part of celebrations/holidays, but they are perfect for any audience looking for a refresher in basic constitutional principles.  

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