Affiliated Programs

The Roger Sherman Forum for the Study of America’s Founding Principles

John Trumbull's painting 'Declaration of Independence'

In his lectures on law, James Wilson remarked that “there is not in the whole science of politicks a more solid or a more important maxim than this--that of all governments, those are the best, which, by the natural effect of their constitutions, are frequently renewed or drawn back to their first principles.” The mission of the Roger Sherman Forum is to promote thoughtful study, discussion, and debate about America’s founding principles.

When Americans do turn to the founding era, they often focus in indisputably great and important men such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  The Sherman Forum encourages study of these influential founders, but it is particularly interested in promoting discussion of the deeds and ideas of lesser-known but still significant men and women such as Samuel Adams, John Dickinson, Oliver Ellsworth, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Luther Martin, Governeur Morris, George Mason, William Paterson, Benjamin Rush, Mercy Otis Warren, James Wilson, John Witherspoon, and many, many others.

The Forum is named for Roger Sherman, perhaps the most important but overlooked founder. Sherman was the only person to help draft and sign the Declaration and Resolves (1774), the Articles of Association (1774), the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Articles of Confederation (1777, 1778), and the Constitution (1787). He served as a Representative and Senator in the new republic where he played a significant role in drafting the Bill of Rights.

Particularly relevant for George Fox University, Sherman’s theological commitments informed his advocacy of a limited national government, his support for religious liberty, and his opposition to slavery.

The Roger Sherman Forum supports a variety of activities including lectures, book discussion groups, and debates.  The Forum partners with other institutions to make programming available to the general public throughout the Pacific Northwest.

For more information about the Forum, please contact Mark David Hall at

For information about Roger Sherman, see Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic. 

Mark David Hall
Herbert Hoover Professor of Politics
George Fox University