The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is nearing the celebration of its tenth anniversary. We could not have done it without you, and we write to ask for your continued support and to explain why it is so urgently needed.
In preparing young people for the great challenges ahead, the AHI has made its mark. We have created the AHI to become an enduring edifice of learning, and it continues to offer a rich and expanding menu of programming: lectures, social events, conferences, tutorial assistance, leadership dinners, intellectual clubs, a student newsletter devoted to free markets and free enquiry, and summer internships. AHI fellows help place undergraduates in prestigious internships at the nation’s finest think tanks, Fortune 500 companies, publications, and in political offices, of both Republicans and Democrats.
For students across the political spectrum, the AHI offers a comfortable but challenging place of intellectual engagement and open ended and intensive enquiry of issues and ideas. Students young and old come to the AHI to converse about and debate subjects with evidence, argument, and imagination beyond the parameters set by party ideology, “safe spaces,” and campus speech codes. In news readily available on the AHI’s website, students have described AHI programming as “transformative,” “exciting,” and “phenomenal.”
At a time when economic departments support diversity codes and social-justice redistributionist policymaking and have little—if anything—to say about Austrian School economics, the AHI offers, for example, a reading cluster, directed by three PhDs that features a cover-to-cover reading of Friedrich Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty. At a time when the very notion that the United States was created by a free and virtuous people deliberating under God provokes derision from faculty activists, the AHI offers a special course that explores the ways the religious convictions of Christian Americans from the colonial era to today have informed and influenced their economic behavior and economic thought. At a time when classics departments offer courses that continue to kill Homer, the AHI hired a visiting professor at Colgate University to provide interested students a cover-to-cover reading of Plato’s Republic.
Some highlights from 2016:
- Record attendance at the Ninth Annual Carl B. Menges Colloquium, “Tolerance, the Constitution, and the Limits of an Open Society,” keynote address by Roger Pilon, Cato Institute.
- The AHI now regularly supports kindred-spirit organizations at Skidmore College (Benjamin Franklin Forum), Dartmouth College (Daniel Webster Center), Colgate University (Center for Freedom and Western Civilization), and Baylor University (Department of Political Science). AHI affiliates operate on at the Rochester Institute of Technology (Center for Statesmanship Law and Liberty under the direction of Dr. Joseph Fornieri) and at Trinity College (the Churchill Institute under the Direction of Dr. Gregory Smith).
- Inaugural AHI Summer Program in National Security, Washington DC, directed by AHI Senior Fellow Juliana Pilon, with twenty-one undergraduates from across the country selected as participants.
- Six undergraduate reading clusters open to the public: in the classics, law, religion, economics, history, and political theory.
- Co-sponsorship at Skidmore College of the prestigious Undergraduate Conference on the American Polity, which features outstanding undergraduates across the country in such fields as economics, history, philosophy, political science, sociology, presenting papers, commented on by professors. Directed and keynoted in 2016 by Professor Diana Schaub, Loyola University in Maryland. The Conference will be held at Colgate University in 2017.
- Ninth Annual David Aldrich Nelson Lecture in Constitutional Jurisprudence, Gordon Lloyd, Robert and Katheryn Dockson Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, at Skidmore College on “Fifty Ways to Love Your Framers.”
- Movie and Panel Discussion at Hamilton College on the documentary “Best of Enemies,” the debates between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal.
- Lecture by Dr. Tim Minella, “Knowing in America: The Enlightenment, Science, and the Early Republic.” Dr. Minella was one of the first students nurtured by the AHI and now holds a Ph.D. in the history of science.
- Eighth Annual AHI-Baylor University Summer Conference, “The Cold War and American Statesmanship,” directed by David Clinton, Chairman, Department of Political Science, Baylor University.
- The AHI’s Fourth Annual General Josiah Bunting III Veterans Day Lecture will feature Dr. Janice Hauge, Associate Professor of Economics, North Texas University; Hamilton College alumnae; prize-winning student-athlete; and former lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps, who will speak on the issue of women in the military.
- Publication of the undergraduate newsletter Enquiry, devoted to free markets and freedom of speech.
- AHI Continuing Education Course: “Background to the 2016 Election,” taught at the AHI by Resident Fellow Dr. David Frisk.
- AHI Open House and Constitution Day Event. Charter Fellow Douglas Ambrose on “Alexander Hamilton and the Perils of Posterity.”
- The AHI’s newest resident fellow, Dr. Mary Grabar, creator of Dissident Prof website, publishes numerous articles on problems in higher education.
- The publication in paperback of the widely praised Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas, which contains contributions from nine scholars affiliated with the AHI.
- Cataloguing the bequest of the late Eugene D. Genovese, his massive collection on slavery and southern history, and the creation of an AHI “treasure room” to house a gifted collection of volumes on Western Civilization from a former fellow of the Hoover Institution.
How can you help? Some of you who will receive this letter have already made tax-deductible contributions to the AHI for this year. We thank you for your generosity. We ask those who have not yet contributed to please help us undertake an ever expanding list of programmatic activities and initiatives.
Please consider a financial contribution of $100, $200, $300 or more to further our mission. We accept, on principle, no government funding. Since many of those associated with the AHI, volunteer their services, students reap the overwhelming majority of every dollar donated.
We accept donations directly via our website, or if you wish to mail a donation to support the Alexander Hamilton Institute, please send your contribution to:
The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization
21 W. Park Row
Clinton, NY 13323
Richard Erlanger, President
Robert Paquette, Charter Fellow and Executive Director
Douglas Ambrose, Charter Fellow
James Bradfield, Charter Fellow