(September 20, 2013)

Centenary celebrates Constitution Day with LSUS guest speaker

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College celebrated Constitution Day this week with a presentation by Dr. William Pederson, Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University Shreveport. Pederson's talk, "The U.S. Constitution from a Local and International Perspective" emphasized the uniqueness of the U.S. Constitution for its period in history.

Dr. William Pederson
Dr. William Pederson, Photo Credit: LSUS

"The Constitution was designed to make it hard for dangerous 'power freaks' to abuse the government, especially if the nation was attentive to the principles that lay behind the constitution," said Dr. Sam Shepherd, Centenary Professor of History. "Still, the world's oldest written constitution—our national document—provided the opportunity for changes to meet changing times, but the framers wisely made the process of amending it hard, lest frivolous ideas diminish its value."

James Madison and other founding fathers created a form of government that divided the powers of government between the national government and the states and among different branches of government. This approach to government stood in contrast to the unitary government exercised by kings and to modern constitutions elsewhere in the world today, where leaders are able to change government frequently and consolidate power.

A scholar of the Constitution, the U.S. court system, and American Presidents, Dr. Pederson is also the Director of the award-winning International Lincoln Center in Shreveport. He has written extensively on the American Presidency, particularly about Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. In March 2013, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities named Pederson Humanist of the Year.

Constitution Day, September 17, is an American federal observance that celebrates the signing of the U.S. Constitution, which established the many rights and freedoms that citizens enjoy today. The anniversary of this event has been celebrated as a federal observance since 2004.