The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) will hold an open house on Sunday, April 24, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Resident Fellow David Frisk will speak at 5:00 p.m. on “Who Is Willmoore Kendall and What Should You Know about Him?” A generous grant from The Bertha and John Garabedian Charitable Foundation made this event possible.
Dr. Frisk is completing a major intellectual biography of Kendall, a child prodigy who mentored William F. Buckley at Yale University and helped him found National Review. Kendall has been described as one of the most original political theorists in the history of the United States. In preparation for Sunday’s event, attendants are encouraged to read one of Kendall’s classic essays, “The Two Majorities.”
AHI will use the opportunity to recognize AHI Undergraduate Fellows for distinguished work. Food and refreshments will be available.
Kendall (1909-1967) was both a political scientist and a political philosopher. As a political philosopher, he gave deep thought to the fundamental ideals of the American constitution. As a political scientist—for example, in his famous “Two Majorities” article—he deeply considered the extent to which, and in what manner, American politics and government fulfilled the ideals. He also worried about the potential for “civil war” of some kind in modern America if it were to become too divided.
Kendall’s fascinating questions and conclusions are often unfamiliar ones, testifying to his remarkable creativity. They are the product of an extraordinarily independent and rigorous mind. Kendall was a brilliant teacher as well as a brilliant thinker, and this is evident in his notably compelling style of writing. His influence on the intellectual side of American conservatism remains substantial. Today, what might be called a “Kendall school of thought” competes with libertarianism, traditionalism, and neoconservatism among people on the American right.