More than 140 guests–students, scholars, philanthropists, civic leaders, and entrepreneurs–will attend the inaugural dinner of the AHI on Thursday evening, 10 April, at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino.  The evening’s event, which will include a sumptuous feast, will honor special guests and steadfast supporters of the AHI. Its founders—Douglas Ambrose, James Bradfield, and Robert Paquette—will speak briefly on the past, present, and future of the AHI with special attention to future initiatives.

The founders of the AHI have designed three years of programming centered on annual themes. For 2007-2008, the theme is the meaning of freedom. John Stauffer, Professor English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University and a prize-winning author, will provide a keynote address “Gerrit Smith, and the Ambiguities of Social Reform.” Smith, arguably Hamilton College’s most influential and famous graduate, was graduated in 1818, valedictorian of his class. He converted to the cause of abolitionism in the 1830s, he founded the Liberty Party, served in Congress, funded John Brown’s attack on Harper’s Ferry, and emerged as perhaps the foremost philanthropist in the transatlantic world during the antebellum period.

Professor Stauffer’s keynote address will inaugurate an annual lecture series by the AHI, named in honor of Carl Menges, a distinguished member of the AHI’s Board of Directors.

Professor Stauffer will follow his talk by joining with Douglas Ambrose and Pete Banner-Haley (of Colgate University) on Friday and Saturday to lead an innovative colloquium: “Liberty and Slavery: The Civil War between Gerrit Smith and George Fitzhugh.” The AHI’s colloquium, which should bring national media attention, will assemble fifteen persons from different walks of life with different talents who have expertise relevant to the subject at hand. Conferees will include a Methodist minister, an award-winning high-school teacher, a judge, a museum curator as well as a number of distinguished junior and senior scholars.  The colloquium is funded by a grant from the Watson-Brown Foundation, the preeminent foundation for the study of southern history and culture in the United States, and by the Jack Miller Institute.

During six sessions (three Friday and three Saturday) of 1 hour and 45 minutes each, the colloquium attendants will intensively discuss a set of prescribed readings that will feature the unpublished correspondence between Smith and George Fitzhugh, one of the most brilliant and original proslavery apologists. Each session will focus on a major theme in the correspondence: the nature of Man; Christianity and slavery, the meaning of freedom, property and property in Man, capitalism and its alternatives, and race and slavery. Smith and Fitzhugh, as it turns out, were related by marriage, and their civil, curious, and penetrating letters not only speak to the civilizational struggle between North and South that led to the Civil War but to the meaning of freedom and fundamental questions about the human condition.

Professor Stauffer of Harvard, Professor Pete Banner-Haley of Colgate, and AHI co-founder Douglas Ambrose of Hamilton College will bring undergraduate classes (about seventy students) to the colloquium. Each class will enter the colloquium having read the prescribed readings and bearing a written assignment related to them. At the end of each of the six sessions, the undergraduates will ask questions of the scholars. Prizes, which will consist of a cache of inscribed books, published by the conferees, will be awarded to the student in each class who writes the best paper. To accommodate the undergraduate presence and provide for a smooth exchange between students and conferees, special seating arrangements will be prepared. The fifteen conferees will sit at a horseshoe-like table facing the students who will be seated at several rows of tables. The last half hour of each session will be devoted to exchanges between the conferees and the students. With the benefit of this rigorous interaction and debate, Professors Stauffer and Ambrose will edit and publish the remarkable correspondence of Gerrit Smith and George Fitzhugh.


The Alexander Hamilton Institute’s Inaugural Colloquium

Liberty and Slavery:
The Civil War between Gerrit Smith and George Fitzhugh
April 10-12, 2008
Turning Stone Casino & Resort
5218 Patrick Road , Verona, NY 13478


Thursday, April 10

Board of Directors Meeting

(Cedar Room, Tower) 3:00 p.m.

Hospitality Suite (4th Floor VIP Lounge) 3:00 p.m.

Reception (Cypress Room) 6:00 p. m.

Dinner (Cypress Room)) 7:15 p. m.

Welcome (Founders of the AHI)

Keynote Address by John Stauffer

“Gerrit Smith and the Ambiguities of Social Reform.”

Hospitality (4th Floor VIP Lounge)

Friday, April 11

Breakfast (Cayuga-Tuscarora Room) 7:45-8:45 a.m.

Session 1: The Nature of Man 8:45-10:30

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Coffee Break 10:30-11:00

Session 2: Christianity and Slavery 11:00-12:45

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Lunch 12: 45-

Free Time

Coffee, Soft Drinks, Snacks 3:30 -4:00

Session 3: The Meaning of Freedom 4:00-5:45

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Bus leaves Tower front desk)

Meet by Tower front desk for bus

to Alexander Hamilton Institute 6:15

Reception and 6:30-9:00

Dinner (at AHI)

Hospitality (4th Floor VIP Lounge) 9:30 –

Saturday, April 12

Breakfast (Cayuga-Tuscarora Room) 7:45-8:45 a.m.

Session 4: Property and Property in Man 8:45-10:30

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Coffee Break 10:30-11:00

Session 5: Capitalism and Its Alternatives 11:00-12:45

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Lunch 12: 45-

Free Time

Coffee, Soft Drinks, Snacks 4:15-4:45

Session 6: Race and Slavery 4:45-6:30

(Cayuga-Tuscarora Room)

Reception 6:30-7:15

Dinner (at Turning Stone) 7:15-

Hospitality (4th Floor VIP Lounge)

Sunday, April 13

Breakfast and Departure at your convenience


Robert L. Paquette and