Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns

Sarah Burns is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in 2013. Her research examines the intersection of political liberalization and American constitutional development with an eye toward policy implications for democratization across the globe.

Blog Posts

Rebellion or stability: Which makes a healthier nation?

Is a little rebellion now and then a good thing? Or does a strong nation stem from the veneration that time bestows upon its government?

Learn More...

This Fourth of July, let’s celebrate colonial failure.

The luck of the Spanish turned out to be their misfortune, and the curse of the English turned out to be a blessing.

Learn More...

The king is dead, long live chaos! Why Hobbes was wrong and Burke was right.

Early liberal theorists gave French revolutionaries the tools to overthrow oppressive kings, but also to unleash chaos and violence.

Learn More...

Did Trump’s attack on Syria violate the Constitution?

Donald Trump’s decision to bomb an airfield in Syria has led many to wonder: doesn’t Trump need authorization from Congress?

Learn More...

What should we think about anti-protesting laws?

17 states have anti-protesting bills in the works. This is unconstitutional and antithetical to the principles of freedom.

Learn More...

Presidents for life and the problem of democracy

A liberal democracy is not a machine that will run itself: it is run by people.

Learn More...

War, diplomacy, and global uncertainty in the Trump era

Are Trump’s cabinet full of generals, his openness to torture, and the “peace through strength” message from the White House all signs that he plans to rely on military power.

Learn More...

Trump inherits a super-powered presidency.

Now that the Electoral College has made Trump’s 2016 win final, this a good time to start thinking about what powers he will have when he comes into office in January.

Learn More...

Identity politics elected Trump

While many did not predict the outcome of this election, everyone knew one thing: half of the country would be devastated.

Learn More...

After the last debate, I’m convinced America needs to reform the two-party system

The Democrats and Republicans have largely been the only two choices in presidential and congressional elections since the Civil War. It’s for that to change.

Learn More...

The Two Ideas that Made America

The American Revolution: That moment when we declared independence from Great Britain and created an unprecedented new society. While we all know the basic details, most people don’t stop to ask…

Programs

America’s Founding

Videos

America’s Founding (Full Series), Featuring Sarah Burns

Taxes, protests, massacre, and revolution — this is our full America’s Founding series in one glorious video. For more US history, watch 

America’s Founding, Ep. 6: Creating a Country

So we’ve declared independence (AKA committed Treason), have a small military not ready for war, and want to start America… now what?     In July 1776, the Founders really had their…

America’s Founding, Ep.5: Is There A Right To Revolution?

“We as a free people, have the right to stand up to an oppressor.” The colonists didn’t just declare war– they felt the need to justify themselves. Written in 1776, the…

America’s Founding, Ep. 4: The Ideas Behind A Revolution

“Freedom is hard to keep and easy to lose. For that reason, when government starts encroaching, it’s incumbent on a people to fight back.”   How did “No taxation without representation” become…

America’s Founding, Ep. 3: Taxes & Abuse Of Power

The colonists got sick and tired of the increase in taxes and encroachment on their freedoms. It may have been the last straw One major grievance colonists had against England is…

America’s Founding, Ep. 2: How The British Enraged The Colonists

In the decade before the revolution, British soldiers had started to act more like an occupying force than a source of security. Prof. Sarah Burns explains why this happened, and…

America’s Founding, Ep. 1: Why Our Founding Fathers Risked It All

Remembering the incredible risks our founding fathers took for us to live a life of freedom, choice, and fireworks on the 4th of July. When celebrating on Independence day, do you…