During  the spring semester, 2018, the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) will offer a continuing education course, free and open to the public, entitled “Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan: The Making of an American Century.” The course will run, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday evenings, from January 29 to May 7, at AHI headquarters, 21 W. Park Row in Clinton. Teacher credit is available. High school and college students are also welcome.  Books and other required readings as well as snacks and refreshments will be provided free of charge.

“It will be exciting to consider these giants of our age in combination with each other,” said AHI Resident Fellow David Frisk, who has taught AHI’s continuing education courses since 2013. “Our course a few years ago on ‘Modern Statesmanship and Leadership’ ended with a look at post-World War II reconstruction. President Reagan, however, can be seen as crucial in bringing those happy developments—and the 20th century as a whole—to a great and uplifting conclusion after the horrors of communism, genocide, and world war. It is therefore appropriate that his international leadership be recognized in company, and comparison, with President Roosevelt’s leadership during and just before World War II.

“In domestic affairs, FDR was the most important president since Lincoln, while Reagan was both an impressive opponent of the ‘big government’ Roosevelt built and a pragmatic leader who, arguably, accepted and ratified most of it. On a personal level, the two presidents were such clear opposites in certain ways—yet they also had major qualities, talents, and even perspectives in common.”

The course will focus on each president separately, giving approximately equal attention to their domestic policy and foreign policy achievements. “As always in our classes,” Dr. Frisk noted, “no particular viewpoint will be pushed and major controversies about the subject matter will be duly considered. Discussion in our classes is always lively, diverse, and informative—just as we want it.”

Each class session will begin with a lecture and proceed to a discussion. There will be a short break for coffee and snacks.

Readings will total about 30 pages per week—mostly from two major biographies (Jean Edward Smith’s FDR and Lou Cannon’s President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime).

Dr. Frisk holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University and is the author of the widely acclaimed biography If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012). In addition to teaching and assisting with several AHI reading groups at Hamilton College in recent years, he taught a “Modern Conservative Politics” course at Hamilton last fall.

For more information or to sign up, please contact the instructor (dfrisk@theahi.org, 315-381-3335) or the AHI’s director, Professor Robert Paquette (bob@theahi.org, 315-292-2267). Due to the popularity of our classes, early signups are encouraged because seating is limited.