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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student


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Knox Hosts Constitution Day Debate


On a crisp, cool evening on Sept. 20, a debate was hosted on the south side of Old Main. The debate was a celebration of Constitution Day, and the subject of the debate was whether the United States needed a new constitution. 

Two professors outside of Knox were invited to participate in this debate. Professor Julie Suk from Fordham University School of Law supported a new constitution, while Professor Jeffery Tulis from the University of Texas at Austin stood against it. 

The debate took place at one of the historical sites of the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and the only modern surviving site. One-hundred and sixty-four years ago, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas stood on the exact same stage and competed for one of Illinois’ seats in the Senate. 

Lincoln did not win the position of Senator, however media coverage in the United States gave publicity to Lincoln for the first time, which helped lead up to his win of the presidential election of 1860. 

Photo by Red Engle

The event began with President Andrew McGadney welcoming the audience. Then, Assistant Professor Thomas Bell from the political science and international relations department introduced the speakers. 

The debate itself began with Suk making her claim of the need for a new constitution, focusing on the outdated system of indirect democracy. 

Tulis started his claim by admitting that the problem outlined by Suk is valid. He argued that the issue of the constitution lies deeper than being outdated. Specifically, he claimed that the most important factor is how the constitution is interpreted, and advocated for a more educated population in order to promote ethical interpretation of the constitution. 

After both sides made their claims, the debate proceeded and both sides were allowed to exchange opinions. Then, a Q&A session was hosted and the audience received a chance to ask questions. The debate closed with remarks from the Provost and Dean of the College Michael Schneider. 

Although the question debated was important, the real experience of this event was to watch the debate unfold in a place that had previously witnessed a significant event. The event commemorated the creation of the Constitution by holding a debate about the document in a place that once sparked Lincoln’s presidency.

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About the Contributor
Yuchen Wang
Yuchen Wang, Radio Editor
Yuchen Wang '25 (he/him) is the radio editor at TKS. He is a creative writing major and a computer science minor. In his free time, he likes to listen to classical music and read books.

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