The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) and  The Franklin Forum at Skidmore College are pleased to announce their co-sponsorship of the 2014 Undergraduate Conference on the American Polity, March 28-29 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY.  The public is welcome to attend the keynote lecture by Professor Carl Scott, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies, Christopher Newport University on Friday, March 28 at 8:00 p.m., as well as the student panels on Saturday, March 29 on the second floor of Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.

The conference features student papers that will address the principles and practice of American political life, and their roots in the Western tradition, from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including philosophical and moral, historical, legal and constitutional, and religious and cultural inquiries.  The conference will feature the work of students from such co-sponsoring institutions as Baylor University, Colgate University, City University of New York (Macaulay Honors College, The Hertog Scholars Program), Emory University (Program in Democracy and Citizenship), Hamilton College (The Alexander Hamilton Institute), Princeton University (James Madison Program for American Ideals and Institutions), and Skidmore College. 

Selected students from Cincinnati Country Day School in Ohio will also participate in conference as part of an AHI pilot program to evaluate the viability of the development of an extension of the program to the secondary level.

Conference sessions will begin on Saturday, March 29, at 9:00 a.m., and all three panels will be held in banquet rooms 1 and 2, 2nd floor, Murray-Aikins Dining Hall.  Following the days panel discussions, the conference will conclude with a dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m., banquet room 4, Murray-Aikins Dining Hall. Following dinner, at 8:00 p.m., Professor Scott will lead a concluding conversation with students on the meanings of liberty. A final schedule is below. 


2014 Undergraduate Scholars Conference on the American Polity

Skidmore College, March 28-29, 2014


Friday, March 28, 2014

5:30: Reception, Surrey Inn (conference participants and invited guests)

6:00: Dinner, Surrey Inn (conference participants and invited guests)

8:00: Keynote Lecture, Davis Auditorium, Palamountain Hall, Professor Carl Scott, Visiting Assistant Professor of American Studies, Christopher Newport University, “Five Fundamental Ideas of American Liberty”(open to the public)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Banquet rooms 1 & 2, 2nd floor, Murray-Aikins Dining Hall (all panels)

8:30am: coffee, breakfast

Panel #1: 9:00-10:30

Understanding and Freedom in American Literature

Panelists:  Marcella Jewell, Skidmore, ’15, “Tocqueville, Henry James, and the American Woman”

Thomas Flynn, CUNY, ’14, Macaulay Honors College, “Cetology and the Limits of Human Understanding in Melville’s Moby Dick

Agneiszka Gugala, CUNY, ’14, Macaulay Honors College, “’Authority Issues’ in Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

Discussants:  Flagg Taylor, Associate Professor of Government, Skidmore

Panel #2: 11am-12:30pm

Liberalism, Economics and Progress

Panelists:   Tyler Wiegert, Emory, ’16, “Elements of Classical Liberalism in the New Testament”

Max Schnidman, Hamilton, “Economic Epistemology & Naturalized Economics”

Daniel Pecoraro, CUNY, ’14, Macaulay Honors College, “The Erie Canal: A Brief History of American Progress”

Discussants:  David Frisk, Resident Fellow, Alexander Hamilton Institute for Western Civilization

LUNCH: 1:00pm-2:15pm

Panel #3: 2:30pm-4:15

Political Obligation and Freedom, an American Dilemma

Matthew Saunders, Princeton, ‘15, “The American Establishment Clause: Dissecting Original Intent from Federalism and Confusion”

David Poortinga, Colgate, ‘14, “Lincoln’s Political Ideals”

Roz Rothwell, Skidmore, ’14, “Henry Knox, General of Cincinnati: Patriot Nationalism and Duty, 1765-1787”

Discussants:  Douglas Ambrose, Professor of History, Hamilton

DINNER: 6:30-7:30 (Banquet room 4, Murray-Aikins) (conference participants and invited guests)

Discussion: 7:45-9:00 (Banquet 4, Professor Scott, Connor Mighell, Baylor, Dean Ball, Hamilton)