Messy Democracy: From Founding our Nation to Finding our Way


Old Metropolitan Hall - Tom Tom 2017
Old Metropolitan Hall - Tom Tom 2017

Old Metropolitan Hall

101 E Main Street, Charlottesville
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Join Virginia Humanities’ own Sarah McConnell, executive producer and host of With Good Reason for a special event at the Tom Tom Founders Festival.

This event is presented by the Presidential Precinct through the generous support of American Evolution.

The core ideas and principles of the American experiment have shaped not only our nation, but also the world more broadly. It is an ongoing experiment rather than a finished product, and at times we struggle to live up to the vision of the Founding Fathers as we navigate our imperfect democracy. Has the democratic process in America become progressively messier and more contentious, or does history show that it is not a smooth upward trajectory, but rather one with peaks and valleys? What was it about the Founding Fathers that enabled them to advance their ideas and build a shared vision during a time of tremendous upheaval, polarization, uncertainty, and opportunity? How would they fare as contemporary politicians? What leadership qualities and strategies did they use to build a new nation, and what can we borrow from them to advance positive change today?

This facilitated conversation will delve into these questions, drawing on the expertise and perspectives of three visionary women who are leading the charge to examine and share the lessons and legacies of Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison.

From the birthplace of modern democracy, the Presidential Precinct engages and inspires emerging leaders to address the most pressing challenges in their countries. The Precinct offers an interactive and engaging learning experience that connects leaders to two premier U.S. universities: William & Mary and the University of Virginia, and four historic sites: James Madison’s Montpelier, James Monroe’s Highland, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, and Morven Farm.

Leslie Greene Bowman | President, Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello
Sara Bon-Harper | Executive Director, James Monroe’s Highland
Kat Imhoff | President & CEO, The Montpelier Foundation
Sarah McConnell | Executive Producer of With Good Reason, Virginia Humanities


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