John R. Vile, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Political Science
Dr. Vile is a graduate of the College of William and Mary who earned his Ph.D. in Government from the University of Virginia and attended seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities at Princeton and the University of Iowa. He has served as Chair of the Department of Social Sciences at McNeese State University, as Chair of the Department of Political Science at MTSU, and (since 2008) as Dean of the University Honors College. Vile is a scholar of the U.S. constitutional amending process, of American historic documents, and of prominent political symbols who has written and edited numerous books, essays, chapters, and reviews on this and related topics. He received the MTSU Foundation Distinguished Research Award in both 1993 and 1999 and the Career Achievement Award in 2011. The American Mock Trial Association awarded him the Congressman Neal Smith Award in 2000 for outstanding contributions to legal education and named him to the Coaches Hall of Fame in 2008. Dr. Vile is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Kappa Phi. He was designated a Phi Kappa Phi Scholar for 2020-2022.
PS 2010: Introduction to American Government and Politics
PS 2100: Courtroom Procedures
PS 3370: American Constitutional Law
PS 3370H: American Constitutional Law, Honors
PS 3380: American Constitutional Law
PS 3380H: American Constitutional Law, Honors
Other works may be found here: http://mtpress.mtsu.edu/firstamendment
What Would Our Father's Say (Constitutional historian weighs in on the current state of democracy) - Southern Standard, July 2023
All I want is a normal Supreme Court: This is what that means to this professor | Opinion - Tennessean, August 2, 2023
Trump's indictment and his First Amendment rights - First Amendment Encyclopedia, August 3, 2023
- The Drama of Presidential Inaugurations and Inaugural Addresses from Washington through
Biden (Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2022)
- The Bald Eagle and Its Legacy: An Encyclopedia of a High-Flying American Icon in U.S. History: Nature, Law, and Culture (Getzville, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc. 2022)
- Prayer in American Life: An Encyclopedia. (Murfreesboro, TN: First Amendment Press, 2022)
- America's National Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner in U.S. History, Culture, and Law. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2021)
- The Bible in American Law and Politics: A Reference Guide (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020)
- The Liberty Bell and Its Legacy: An Encyclopedia of an American Icon in U.S. History and Culture. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2020)
- More than a Plea for a Declaration of Rights: The Constitutional and Political Thought of George Mason of Virginia. (The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd, 2019)
- A Constellation of Great Men: Exploring the Character Sketches of Dr. Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, (Clark, NJ: Talbot Publishing, 2019)
- The Declaration of Independence: America's First Founding Document in U.S. History and Culture. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2019)
- The American Flag: An Encyclopedia of the Stars and Stripes in U.S. History, Culture, and Law. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC CLIO, 2018)
- The Civil War and Reconstruction Eras: Documents Decoded. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2018)
- Governmental Responses to Natural Disasters in the U.S.: A Documentary History (Clark, NJ: Talbot Publishing, an imprint of the Lawbook Exchange: 2018)
- Essential Supreme Court Decisions: Summaries of Leading Cases in U.S. Constitutional Law, 17th Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018)
- Constitutional Law in Contemporary America, with David Schultz and Michelle Deardorff
Vol I: Institutions, Politics, and Process (Oxford 2017)
- Constitutional Law in Contemporary America, with David Schultz and Michelle Deardorff Vol II: Civil Rights and Liberties (Oxford 2017)
- The Jacksonian and Antebellum Eras: Documents Decoded. (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2017)
- American Immigration and Citizenship: A Documentary History, (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016)
- The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding, Revised Second Edition, (Talbot Publishing, 2016).
- The Early Republic: Documents Decoded, (Santa Barbara, CA., ABC-CLIO, 2016)
- Conventional Wisdom: The Alternate Article V Mechanism for Proposing Amendments to the U.S. Constitution (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 2016; Paperback Ed. 2020)
- Founding Documents of America: Documents Decoded (Stanta Barbara, AC: ABC-CLIO, 2016), 356 pp.
- The United States Constitution: One Document, Many Choices (Palgrave/McMillan, 2015)
- The Wisest Council in the World: Restoring the Character Sketches by William Pierce of Georgia of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (UGA Press, 2015)
- Men Who Made the Constitution: Lives of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 (Scarecrow Press, 2013).
- Re-Framers: 170 Eccentric, Visionary, and Patriotic Proposals to Rewrite the U.S. Constitution (ABC-CLIO, 2014)
- Essential Supreme Court Decisions: Summaries of Leading Cases in U.S. Constitutional Law, 16th Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014)
- Encyclopedia of the Fourth Amendment, coauthored with David L. Hudson, Jr. (Sage, 2013)
- The Writing and Ratification of the U.S. Constitution: Practical Virtue in Action, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012)
- Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution 1787-2001, 4 vols., ed., (Law Book Exchange, 2011)
- Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-2015 (ABC-CLIO, 1996), 2nd edition 2003, 3rd edition 2010. 4th edition 2015
- A Companion to the United States Constitution and Its Amendments (Praeger 1993, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2010, 2015, 2021).
- Encyclopedia of the First Amendment , 2 vols., co-edited with David L. Hudson, Jr., and David Schultz (Congressional Quarterly, 2009)
- Pleasing the Court: A Mock Trial Handbook, 5th edition (Cengage), 2012
- James Madison: Philosopher, Founder, and Statesman, co-edited with William D. Peterson and Frank J. Williams. (Ohio University Press, 2008)
- Presidents From Eisenhower through Johnson, 1953-1969. Debating the Issues in Pro and Con Primary Documents, edited with John A. King Jr. (Greenwood, 2006)
- The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding, 2 vols. (ABC-CLIO, 2005)
- Encyclopedia of Civil Liberties in America (M.E. Sharpe), 3 vols., co-edited with David Schultz, 2005
- On Common Ground: Framework for Democracy Study Guide, 2nd ed., Coauthor with David E. Carlton and Mark Eaton Byrnes. (Pasadena, CA: INTELECOM, 2004)
- Great American Judges: An Encyclopedia, editor, 2 vols., (ABC-CLIO, 2002)
- Presidential Winners and Losers: Words of Victory and Concession (Congressional Quarterly, 2002)
- Great American Lawyers: An Encyclopedia , ed., 2 vols. (ABC-CLIO, 2001 )
- Tennessee Government and Politics: Democracy in the Volunteer State , edited with Mark Byrnes, (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1998)
- The United States Constitution: Questions and Answers (Greenwood, 1998 ),(ABC-CLIO, 2014).
- Constitutional Change in the United States (Praeger 1994)
- The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Change in America, ed. (Lang 1993)
- Contemporary Questions Surrounding the Constitution Amending Process (Praeger 1993)
- The Constitutional Amending Process in American Political Thought (Praeger 1992)
- Rewriting the United States Constitution (Praeger 1991 )
- The History of the American Legal System: An Interactive Encyclopedia, CD-ROM (ABC-CLIO, 1999)
Dr. Vile is the general editor of a series of books on Landmark Congressional Legislation for Greenwood publishers.
Introductions, Chapters and Essays
In addition to books, Dr. Vile has written numerous articles and reviews in a variety
of political science and law journals. He received MTSU's Outstanding Research Award
in 1993 and 1999. Books to which Dr. Vile has contributed include the following:
- Introduction to Samuel Bell Thomas, in collaboration with Edward Williams, Our Weakened Constitution (Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, 2016)
- Introduction to Reprint of Alexander Boyd Higgins Uncle Sam Unmasks the Masked (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 2015), iii-xxiii
- Prison Narratives from Boethius to Zana, ed. Philip Phillips (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
- Introduction to John Alexander Jameson, A Treatise on Constitutional Conventions: Their History, Powers, and Modes of Proceeding (Lawbook Exchange, 2013), pp.v-vxxi
- Introduction to Arthur J. Stansbury, Elementary Catechism on the Constituion of the United States (Lawbook Exchange, 2013), pp. c-xx
- "Constitutional Revision in the United States of America," in Engineering Constitutional Change: A Comparative Perspective on Europe, Canada, and the USA, ed. Zenophon Contiades (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 389-415
- Multiple contributions to ABC-CLIO databases for high school students
- Multiple contributions to Milestone Documents (Slaver, 2013)
- "The President and the Supreme Court," The Presidency and the Executive Branch, 5th ed. (Washington, D.C., Sage Press, 2013) II: 1477-1595
- Foreword to Time and Tradition: A Poetry Anthology, ed. by Philip M. Mathis (Twin Oaks Press, 2011)
- "Noah Webster: Proposing and Promoting Stronger National Union Through the Power of the English Language," in Noah Webster, Sketches of American Policy (Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2008), pp. iii-xix
- Foreword to The Rehnquist Court Understanding Its Impact and Legacy, written by David L. Hudson, Jr. (Praeger, 2007)
- "The President and the Executive Branch, Michael Nelson, ed., (Washington, D.C. Sage, 2013), II: 1477-1595
- "Samuel Sewall: Defender of the Rule of Law?" Noble Purposes: Nine Champions of the Rule of Law, ed. Norman Gross (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007), pp. 3-16
- Assorted essays, The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, ed. Kermit L. Hall, 2nd ed (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.
- "Charles Evans Hughes: An Eighteenth Century Statesman Redivivus," in Leaders of the Pack: Polls & Case Studies of Great Supreme Court Justices, ed. William D. Pederson and Norman W. Provizer, eds. (New York: Peter Lang, 2003)
- Assorted essays in Kermit L. Hall, ed. The Oxford Companion to American Law (New York: Oxford, 2002).
- Assorted essays in David Schultz, ed., Encyclopedia of American Law (New York: Facts on File, 2002).
- "Tennessee," Legal Systems of the World: A Political, Social, and Cultural Encyclopedia," ed. Herbert M. Kritzer (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2002), IV: 1607-1610
- "The Tennessee Supreme Court, 1946-1974: Tranquility amid a National Judicial Revolution," in A History of the Tennessee Supreme Court, ed. James W. Ely Jr. (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press), pp. 229-269
- "Proposals to Amend the Constitution," American Government: Readings and Cases, Karen O'Connor, 2nd ed. (New York: Longman, 2001), pp. 40-46
- Assorted entries, The Oxford Guide to United States Supreme Court Decisions, ed. by Kermit L. Hall (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)
- The Early Presidents, The Presidency, ed. Michael Nelson (New York: Smithmark, 1996), pp. 64-81
- "Judicial Interpretation Versus Constitutional Amendment," Research in Law and Policy Studies, ed. Stuart S. Nagel, Vol. 3, (Greenwich, CT: JAI Press Inc., 1995).
- "The Case against Implicit Limits on the Constitutional Amending Process," Responding to Imperfection: The Theory and Practice of Constitutional Amendments, Sanford Levinson, ed. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1995), pp. 191-214
- "El Procesco De Enmendar La Constiucion en Los Estados Unidos de Norteamerica: Analisis Y Comparacion Con La Experiencia Mexicana," Derecho constitucional comparado Mexico-Estados Unidos (Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico, 1990), pp. 201-216
Dr. Vile has also edited two books of his father's poetry and one of his proverbs (Ralph Vile).
- Let the Bells Ring Out on Christmas Morning (Xulon Press, 2008)
- Poverbs From the Poet Preacher: Quips, Quibbles, and Quotes (Xulon Press, 2008)
- We are His Poets, the first volume of a projected seven volumes of Valley Verses (Xulon Press, 2007)
Dr. Vile helped coach MTSU's award-winning mock trial teams for 25 years during which they placed in the top ten nationally for 11 years, and during which MTSU students won numerous individual awards. These teams have placed in the top ten nationally for eleven years, and students have won numerous individual awards.
Vile has served as past president of the Tennessee Political Science Association, of the MTSU Chairs Council, of the MTSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, and of the MTSU chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Dr. Vile lives in Murfreesboro, is married to the former Linda Christensen, and has twin daughters. His wife has retired from teaching kindergarten at Stewartsville Elementary School in Smyrna, Tennessee. One daughter earned her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Tennessee and now works as an accountant in Knoxville. The other, an MTSU graduate, is also a graduate of the Marshall Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and of George Washington University, is now practices law in Maryland.. Dr. Vile enjoys collecting American art pottery and old campaign items and has several booths in local antique malls where he has stocked several thousand books. Vile has taught Sunday school classes for many years and has served since 2001 as the interim pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Beechgrove, Tennessee. He may be reached at 615-898-2596 or by email (John.Vile@mtsu.edu) and is accessible to students and other visitors in his office throughout the week. He is especially interested in talking to high school students (and their parents) who are considering attending MTSU.