Michael Zuckert


Nancy Reeves Dreux
Professor of Political Science
The University of Notre Dame

Short Bio

Michael Zuckert (B.A., Cornell University; PhD, University of Chicago, 1974) is Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and Editor of American Political Thought. Professor Zuckert teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in Political Philosophy and Theory, American Political Thought, American Constitutional Law, American Constitutional History, Constitutional Theory, and Philosophy of Law. His advising specialties are graduate programs in political science.

Professor Zuckert has published extensively on a variety of topics, including George Orwell, Plato, Shakespeare, and contemporary liberal theory. He is currently finishing a book called Completing the Constitution: The Post-Civil War Amendments and is co-authoring another book on Machiavelli and Shakespeare. He has been commissioned to write the volume on John Rawls for a series on Twentieth Century Political Philosophy. He co-authored and co-produced public radio series Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson: A Nine Part Drama for the Radio. He also was senior scholar for Liberty! (1997), a six hour public television series on the American Revolution, and served as senior advisor on the PBS series on Benjamin Franklin (2002) and Alexander Hamilton (2007). He is currently head of the new Tocqueville Center for the Study of Religion in American Public Life.

Zuckert has received grants from NEH, the Woodrow Wilson Center, Earhart Foundation and NSF, and has taught at Carleton College, Cornell University, Claremont Men’s College, Fordham University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and the University of Chicago.

The Truth about Leo Strauss Book Cover His most recent book is co-authored with Catherine Zuckert, The Truth about Leo Strauss: Political Philosophy and American Democracy (University of Chicago Press, 2006). Is  Leo Strauss truly an intellectual forebear of neoconservatism and a powerful force in shaping Bush administration foreign policy? The Truth about Leo Strauss puts this question to rest, revealing for the first time how the popular media came to perpetuate such an oversimplified view of such a complex and wide-ranging philosopher. More important, it corrects our perception of Strauss, providing the best general introduction available to the political thought of this misunderstood figure. 

Launching Liberalism Book Cover

Launching Liberalism: John Locke and the Liberal Tradition (University of Kansas Press, 2002) 

In this volume, prominent political theorist Michael Zuckert presents an important and pathbreaking set of meditations on the thought of John Locke. In more than a dozen provocative essays, many appearing in print for the first time, Zuckert explores the complexity of Locke's engagement with his philosophical and theological predecessors, his profound influence on later liberal thinkers, and his amazing success in transforming the political understanding of the Anglo-American world.

The Natural Rights Republic (University of Notre Dame Press), (Named an Outstanding Book for 1997 by Choice Magazine)

In The Natural Rights Republic, renowned political theorist Michael P. Zuckert examines the natural rights philosophy as expressed in sources like the Declaration of Independence and aims to counter contemporary confusion by offering an insightful study of the concept that dominated the mindset of the founding generation of the United States.

Natural Rights and the New Republicanism (Princeton University Press, 1994)

In Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, Michael Zuckert proposes a new view of the political philosophy that lay behind the founding of the United States. In a book that will interest political scientists, historians, and philosophers, Zuckert looks at the Whig or opposition tradition as it developed in England. He argues that there were, in fact, three opposition traditions: Protestant, Grotian, and Lockean. The resulting synthesis that emerged constituted not a separate "classical republican" tradition, as most recent scholarship would have it, but rather represented a "new republicanism" that served as the philosophical point of departure for the founders of the American republic.

Copyright © 2006
The University of Notre Dame
Website maintained by
Kelli Brown 574-631-6623 or