Villanova Political Science Professor’s New Book Sheds Light on 40-Year Debate that Began with Two Founding Fathers

Author offers a revisionist account of the national bank controversy that started with Hamilton and Jefferson

Political Science professor Eric Lomazoff is pictured on the right, and the cover of his new book is pictured on the left.

The rap duel between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit Hamilton popularized what is known as the national bank controversy, but the 40-year constitutional debate was much more dynamic than a two-sided argument over a single constitutional provision. In a new book, Reconstructing the National Bank Controversy (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Villanova University Political Science assistant professor Eric Lomazoff, PhD presents a more robust and nuanced account of the controversy that can help explain the roots of modern American monetary politics.

The debate between Hamilton and Jefferson was born out of conflicting interpretations of the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause, which authorizes the federal government to make laws that are necessary for exercising its other powers. Dr. Lomazoff argues that the standard account of the controversy is incomplete.

“We often think of the national bank dispute as a recurring, two-sided controversy from 1791 to 1832 between those who wanted to give the Necessary and Proper Clause a broad interpretation and those who wanted to give it a narrow interpretation,” Dr. Lomazoff said. “My book offers a revisionist account designed to show that the real story is far more complicated than that.”

Dr. Lomazoff says the national bank controversy was shaped as much by politics as it was by law—a point political scientists have been stressing for decades in the context of American Constitutionalism, or public law.

“American constitutional development has been meaningfully informed not only by law but also by politics,” he said. “In that sense, my book is designed to deepen an existing line of research by extending its core claim to a major new site of controversy.”

Dr. Lomazoff’s research focuses on constitutional law and he has published articles in several academic journals including Studies in American Political Development. He is a native of Philadelphia and earned his PhD in Government from Harvard University.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

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Histories of Democracy – A Two-Part Conversation Series

Amid concerns that democracy may be in danger in the U.S. and around the world, the Lepage Center takes a step back to examine the origins of democracy, its applications, where it has delivered on its promises, and where it has fallen short. As Americans prepare to vote in consequential midterm elections, this two-part event series will reveal how ideas about democracy and participation have changed over time, how perspectives on democracy are more nuanced and complex than we may believe, and where this leaves us today.
A two-part conversation series hosted by the
Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest
at Villanova University

Monday, October 29th
American Perspectives: Promises and Shortcomings
Driscoll Auditorium, Driscoll Hall, Villanova University (view map, bldg #15)
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Joanne Freeman
Professor of History and American Studies,
Yale University and co-host of Backstory Radio


Jonathan Lai
Journalist, Philadelphia Inquirer covering issues of absentee ballots, gerrymandering, & digital privacy


Allison Dorsey
Professor of History, Swarthmore College and scholar of Reconstruction & Civil Rights


Paul Rosier
Mary M. Birle Chair in American History,
Villanova University and scholar of Native American politics & history

Moderated by Jason Steinhauer, Director, Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, Villanova University


Monday, November 12th
Global Perspectives: Revolutions and Empires
Driscoll Auditorium, Driscoll Hall, Villanova University (view map, bldg #15)
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Hibba Abugideiri
Associate Professor of History, Villanova University and scholar of Middle East history


Melissa Feinberg
Professor of History, Rutgers University and scholar of Communism, the Cold War & human rights


Julia Gaffield
Assistant Professor of History, Georgia State University and scholar of the Haitian Revolution


Maia Otarashvili
Deputy Director of the Eurasia Program, Foreign Policy Research Institute and co-editor of the 2017 volume Does Democracy Matter?

Moderated by Paul Steege, Faculty Director, Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest, Villanova University

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Elections 2018 Speaker Series

Join members of the Villanova University Political Science Department for the Elections 2018 Speaker Series. Topics to be discussed: Congressional Elections, Russian Meddling, Election Outcomes and their Implications, and Emotions. Each discussion will take place Sept. 24, in the Falvey Memorial Library Speakers’ Corner, 7-8 p.m., and will be followed by Q&A from the audience. Don’t miss out on this exciting series!

For more information:

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See what’s happening at the Lepage Center this semester!

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Dr. Dixon’s article has been awarded the Mary Parker Follett Prize!

Dr. Dixon’s article, “Rhetorical Adaptation and Resistance to International Norms” (link below), has received the Mary Parker Follett Prize for the best article in the field of Politics and History. Dr. Dixon’s article conceptualizes and explores how norm-violating states draw on the content of international norms in order to resist charges of norm violation or pressures for norm compliance. Drawing on an analysis of shifts over time in Turkey’s rhetoric about the Armenian Genocide, the article elucidates some of the ways actors strategically use international norms and the effects of such instrumental action. The Mary Parker Follett Prize is awarded by the American Political Science Association’s Politics and History section.

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Four Villanova Political Science Students Win Prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Grants

Fifteen Villanova students were awarded Fulbright Grants this year, of whom four are Political Science majors.

Nicholas Azulay (’18 CLAS), of Millburn, N.J., will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and minors in Peace & Justice and English. Azulay spent summer 2017 studying in the Czech Republic, where he will return as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. Upon completion of his Fulbright year, he intends to pursue a career in the field of international development.

Lily Haddad (’18 CLAS), of Boyertown, Pa., will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Arab & Islamic Studies, with a minor in Arabic Language & Culture. Haddad spent summer 2016 in Morocco, where she studied and interned with a NGO. She will use her Fulbright Research award to return to Morocco to complete a project titled, “Non-Formal Education and Combatting School Attrition in Morocco.”

Aida Mohajeri (’17 CLAS), of Paoli, Pa., graduated in December 2016 with a degree in Arab & Islamic Studies and Political Science, as well as Arabic Language and Culture, Peace & Justice, and Honors minors. She will use her Fulbright award to research the implementation of laws for students with different abilities in the United Arab Emirates. Mohajeri will pursue graduate study in Middle Eastern Policy and International Education—with a focus on Special Education—upon her return to the U.S.

Milan Smoak-Booker (’18 CLAS), of Washington, D.C., will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in SociologyShe will use her Fulbright award to teach English in South Korea. Upon completion of her Fulbright year, Smoak-Booker intends to pursue a career in education policy.

For more information, see:

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