The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) will sponsor a reading group; open to the public, during the fall semester on Leo Strauss, one of the greatest scholars of political philosophy.  The reading group will meet every two weeks, from Thursday, September 11 through Thursday, November 20, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in room 209, Burke Library, on the Hamilton College campus in Clinton. New York.  Books will be provided by the AHI.

Leo Strauss (1899-1973), a legendary teacher for decades at the University of Chicago, helped to revitalize the study of the great works in political philosophy, from Socrates to the 20th century. He did so, not merely from scholarly interest, but because he also believed – controversially, in our times – that these great works bring us closer to real wisdom and are not merely clashing opinions. In addition, his formidable scholarship has given rise to two often-opposed schools of thought, “Eastern” and “Western” Straussianism that differ substantially in their perspectives on the study of the great books, their understandings of the American Founding, and their influence on American conservatism. Public curiosity about Strauss and his intellectual followers has been extensive in the past decade.  Readings will be drawn primarily from Strauss’s most famous work, Natural Right and History (1953).  About 50 pages will be assigned per session.

Dr. David Frisk, a Resident Fellow of the AHI will lead the reading group.  Dr. Frisk holds a Ph.D. in political science, with specialties in American politics and political philosophy, from Claremont Graduate University – a center of Straussian scholarship. He is the author of If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012), which was widely and favorably reviewed in major publications. In the past academic year, he taught the AHI’s continuing education courses on current social problems and on conservative political philosophy from the 18th century to the present, as well as a reading group on the British statesman and political thinker Edmund Burke. This fall, he is teaching the AHI’s adult class titled “Modern Statesmanship and Leadership.”

The reading group is intended as the first half of a year-long study of Strauss, but either semester can be taken independently.  For more information or to sign up, please contact Professor Robert Paquette ( or Dr. Frisk (, 202-999-5751 c).