Kevin J. Burns
Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science, 2017
Department of Political Science and Economics
Front Royal, Virginia
After earning his Ph.D. from Baylor University, Dr. Burns joined Christendom’s department of Political Science and Economics in 2017. His teaching and research interests include American political thought, constitutionalism and separation of powers theory, the presidency, Congress, and ancient and early modern political theory. At Christendom, he teaches core courses in Catholic Social Doctrine and Introduction to Political Theory as well as electives such as Statesmanship and the Civil War, The American Presidency, American Political Thought, and American Government (American Founding). At Christendom, he also directs the Tocqueville Forum on Liberal Democracy, which offers lectures, seminars, and reading groups to foster understanding of America’s political principles to encourage informed civic engagement.
Dr. Burns' journal articles appear in Presidential Studies Quarterly, Constitutional Studies, and Journal of Supreme Court History. He co-edits Readings in American Government with Mary and David Nichols (Kendall Hunt). His William Howard Taft’s Constitutional Progressivism was published by the University of Kansas Press in 2021. Burns argues that Taft’s devotion to the Constitution of 1787 contributed to his progressivism. In contrast to most of the scholarship, which has viewed Taft as a reactionary conservative because of his constitutionalism, Burns explores the ways Taft’s commitment to both the Constitution and progressivism drove his political career and the decisions he made as president and chief justice. Taft saw the Constitution playing a positive role in American political life, recognizing that it created a national government strong enough to enact broad progressive reforms.