Professor John E. Finn, Ph.D.

Professor John E. Finn
  • Wesleyan University
  • Princeton University
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I like to teach courses about the Constitution because [it] requires citizens who are up to the task of making the Blessings of Liberty a reality. Constitutional literacy is not about inculcating reverence for the Constitution, but rather preparing us to participate in the civic life of the community.

John E. Finn is Professor of Government Emeritus at Wesleyan University, where he taught for thirty years. Finn received a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University, a J.D. from Georgetown University, a B.A. in political science from Nasson College, and a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute. His scholarly research and teaching focuses on constitutional theory, comparative constitutional law, the first amendment, and the legal regulation of terrorism and political violence. Professor Finn is an internationally recognized expert on constitutional law and political violence. His public lectures include testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as lectures in Chile, Bolivia, Spain, Italy, Canada, England, and France.

Finn is the author of four highly regarded and influential books on constitutional law: Fracturing the Founding: How the Alt-Right Corrupts the Constitution (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Peopling the Constitution (Kansas, 2014), American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes 4th ed. (coauthor, West Academic Publishing, 2018), and Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law (Oxford, 1991), and of numerous scholarly articles in professional journals.

Finn’s research and scholarly writing also extends to the study of food, recipes, and politics. He has published a book on the history, philosophy, and meaning of omelets, including recipes, The Perfect Omelet (Countryman, 2017), and several essays and articles, including “How Does a Recipe Mean,” in Table Matters: A Journal of Food, Drink, and Manners(2016), an entry on “Measurements,” in The Oxford Companion to Sweets, ed. Darra Goldstein (2015), an essay on Julia Child in Gastronomica (2007), and articles on “The Perfect Recipe,” (2011) and “The Kitchen Voice as Confessional,” (2004) in Food, Culture & Society.

Testimonials

"Professor Finn is an articulate, highly-intelligent and superb teacher.  His course presents challenging and controversial topics with clarity, balance, and thoroughness.  Very highly recommended!!!"

10 Courses and Sets

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10 Courses and Sets

  1. Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights Sale

    Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights

    John E. Finn
    4.4 out of 5
    70% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (79)
    Save up to $334.95 Starting at $30.00 $374.95 $30.00$374.95
    This course introduces students to a uniquely American invention: the written specification of individual liberties and rights that citizens possess, and has as its subject the relationship of law to the most fundamental questions about politics, morality, and human nature.
  2. The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know Sale

    The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know

    John E. Finn
    4.5 out of 5
    83% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (24)
    Save up to $69.95 Starting at $30.00 $99.95 $30.00$99.95
    A mere 45 words, the First Amendment to the Constitution stands as a pillar of our democracy and has had an incalculable influence on the development of human freedom in the United States and the Western world. By defining the relationship between the people and the state and placing checks on governmental power to silence its populace, its protections have important ramifications for every American. The First...
  3. 36 Books That Changed the World Collection

    36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    3.4 out of 5
    61% of reviewers would recommend this product
    (13)
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $199.95 $199.95$199.95
    Since the development of written language, books have played major roles in the world: Entertaining. Instructing. Inspiring. Even changing the course of history. Now, with 36 Books That Changed the World, a fascinating Great Courses Collection crafted from our extensive library of courses, take a riveting tour of the profound impact of books from thousands of years of history and from civilizations around the globe.
  4. (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue"   Set

    (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue"

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $189.90 Starting at $189.90 $189.90 $189.90$189.90
    Look deeper into the Constitution and other founding documents of the United States in this two-course set. The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know helps you fully grasp why we have a First Amendment, what and whom it protects, and why it matters to you personally. American Ideals: Founding a "Republic of Virtue" traces the dominant features of the early American ethos that culminated in declared...
  5. (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know  Set

    (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & Cultural Literacy for Religion: Everything the Well-Educated Person Should Know

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $329.90 Starting at $329.90 $329.90 $329.90$329.90

    Out of stock

  6. (Set) Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights & History of the Supreme Court  Set

    (Set) Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights & History of the Supreme Court

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $749.90 $399.90$749.90
    Gain insights into the history of our nation's civil liberties and the judicial institution influential in protecting and defining them with this two-course set. In Civil Liberties and the Bill of Rights, examine the legal evolution of specific liberties and rights, including due process and privacy, freedom of speech and of religion, equal protection, and more. Complement this course with The History of the Supreme...
  7. (Set)  Privacy, Property, and Free Speech & The First Amendmen Set

    (Set) Privacy, Property, and Free Speech & The First Amendmen

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $229.90 Starting at $229.90 $229.90 $229.90$229.90
  8. (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution   Set

    (Set) The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know & Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $189.90 Starting at $189.90 $189.90 $189.90$189.90
    Increase your understanding and appreciation for how our nation and Constitution were formed in this two-course set. The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know helps you fully grasp why we have a First Amendment, what and whom it protects, and why it matters to you personally. The Great Debate: Advocates and Opponents of the American Constitution provides you with deep insights into the political...
  9. (Set) Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare & The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know  Set

    (Set) Thinking about Cybersecurity: From Cyber Crime to Cyber Warfare & The First Amendment and You: What Everyone Should Know

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $199.90 Starting at $199.90 $199.90 $199.90$199.90
    Learn how new technologies that in many ways make our lives more convenient also pose hazards to our privacy, as well as how such technologies along with other features of modern life complicate what we think are our First Amendment rights, in this timely course pair. First, In Professor Paul Rosenzweig's Thinking about Cybersecurity, you'll get an intriguing look at the structure of the Internet, the unique dangers...
  10. (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World Set

    (Set) 36 Revolutionary Figures of History & 36 Books That Changed the World

    Taught By Multiple Professors
    Starting at $399.90 Starting at $399.90 $399.90 $399.90$399.90
    Learn something new and exciting with this set of collections courses. Start by exploring 36 revolutionary figures that have changed the course of history. Then, dive into 36 books that have played a central role in shaping our culture – from entertaining and instructing to shaping our social mores.