- Linfield College
Political Science Department

Nick Buccola Elizabeth & Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science / Founding Director, Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice

Nick Buccola

Elizabeth & Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science / Founding Director, Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice


B.A., B.S. Santa Clara University; M.A., Ph.D. University of Southern California

Walker 125




Academic Interests:
Professor Buccola conducts research in the areas of American political thought and constitutional theory. His first book, The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass, was published by New York University Press in 2012. It was a finalist in the General Non-Fiction category for the Oregon Book Award. The book will be released in paperback in July 2013. He has published essays on a wide variety of topics including the debate over same-sex marriage, Friedrich Nietzsche's critique of socialism, and the political philosophies of Judith Shklar and Leo Strauss. He is currently at writing essays on the political theory of James Baldwin, the idea of virtue in the political thought of Frederick Douglass, and the philosophy of liberal education. He is at work on three book projects. The first is an examination of the political thought of a number of American abolitionists. The second is a study of the ideological origins of the Tea Party movement. The third is a volume he will edit on the political and constitutional thought of Abraham Lincoln. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Samuel H. Graf Award and the Allen and Pat Kelley Faculty Scholar Award and many fellowships including one from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to his teaching and research, he directs the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice. The Douglass Forum hosts debates, lectures, and conferences on the rule of law, individual rights, and competing conceptions of justice. For more information on the Douglass Forum, please click the link above.



The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America, Princeton University Press, 2019.

Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy, University Press of Kansas, 2016.

The Essential Writings of Frederick Douglass, Hackett Publishing Company,  2016.

The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty, New York University Press, April 2012. (Paperback published in 2013).

• Finalist, General Non-Fiction, 2013 Oregon Book Awards

• Reviewed in Perspectives on Politics, Review of Politics, American Political Thought: A Journal of Ideas, Institutions, and Culture, Journal of American History, Journal of American Studies, Journal of Race and Ethnicity, Tulsa Law Review, and Choice


Peer-Reviewed Articles & Book Chapters

“The Human Heart is a Seat of Constant War: Frederick Douglass on Human Nature,” an essay for A Political Companion to Frederick Douglass, forthcoming from the University Press of Kentucky, 2016.

 “What William F. Buckley Did Not Understand about James Baldwin: On James Baldwin’s Politics of Freedom,” an essay for A Political Companion to James Baldwin, forthcoming from the University Press of Kentucky in 2016.

"Introduction: The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln," introductory chapter in Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy, University Press of Kansas, 2016.

"What if Honest Abe Was Telling the Truth? Race, Natural Rights, and Legalism in the Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln," a chapter in Abraham Lincoln and Liberal Democracy, University Press of Kansas, 2016.

"introduction," introductory chapter in The Essential Douglass, Hackett University Press, 2016.

“Frederick Douglass,” Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism, 2016.

“The Essential Dignity of Man as Man: Frederick Douglass on Human Dignity,” Journal of American Political Thought, 2015.

“An Invitation to Get Lost: The Right Place for Liberal Learning,” an essay for The Best Kind of College, SUNY Press, 2015.

“In Defense of Judicial Prudence,” Journal of Jurisprudence, Volume 21, (Spring 2014), 49-72.

 “A Life of One’s Own: Slavery, Self-Ownership & the Foundations of Frederick Douglass’s Liberalism,” Journal of Political Science, Volume 37, (2009): 173-199.

“The Tyranny of the Least and the Dumbest: Nietzsche’s Critique of Socialism,” Quarterly Journal of Ideology, Volume 31, Number 3, (2009): 1-37.

“Critical Distances: The Principled Skepticism of Leo Strauss & Judith Shklar,” The Journal of Contemporary Thought, (Winter 2008): 129-150.

“Each for All & All for Each: The Liberal Statesmanship of Frederick Douglass,” Review of Politics, 70 (2008): 400-419.

“Finding Room for Same-Sex Marriage: Toward a More Inclusive Understanding of a Cultural Institution,” Journal of Social Philosophy, Volume 36, Number 3, (2005): 331-343.


James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, and the American Dream, book on the famous debate between Baldwin and Buckley at Cambridge University in 1965

The Conservatism of Fear: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party (under contract with Lexington Books)


Op-Eds & Book Reviews

"Scalia: The Robert E. Lee of the Culture Wars," published on Counterpunch, February 19, 2016.

“Don’t Forget to Celebrate Constitution Day,” published in The Oregonian, September 15, 2014.

“Booker T. and W.E.B. on the Great Higher Education Debate,” published in The News Register, March 7, 2014.

“Scalia Fails to Grasp True Democracy,” published on July 6, 2013 on Salon.com.

Review of R. Blakeslee Gilpin, John Brown Still Lives! in American Political Thought, Fall 2013.

“Slavery & the Liberal Aesthetic” Review of Andrew Delbanco, The Abolitionist Imagination, posted on October 4, 2012 in The Claremont Review of Books electronic edition.

“Recovering the Progressive Frederick Douglass,” Dissent, February 24, 2012.

“Reasons to Protect Education Funding Compelling,” Op-Ed in The Statesman Journal, February 24, 2012.

“Frederick Douglass’ Enduring Lessons,” Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun, February 20, 2012.

“Proposition 8 is Morally Wrong,” Op-Ed in The Oregonian, February 9, 2012.

“The Facts and the Philosophy,” Review of Peter Myers, Frederick Douglass: Race and the Rebirth of American Liberalism (2008), Review of Politics, Volume 71 (2009): 136-139.

Courses Taught

Great Political Thinkers; American Politics; Study of Law; American Political Thought; U.S. Supreme Court; Law, Rights, & Justice; Rebels, Thugs & Skeptics: 20th Century Political Theory; Politics & the Arts; Liberals, Conservatives, & Contemporary Moral Controversies; Ideas, Individuals & Institutions in U.S. Politics

; African American Political Thought