Annual Undergraduate Conference on the American Polity
Final Schedule
Keynote Speaker:  Michael P. Zuckert, Nancy Reeves Dreux
Professor of Political Science, The University of Notre Dame
at Colgate University
March 31-April 1 2017
Sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) and Colgate University’s Center for Freedom and Western Civilization

Event Description:  Colgate University will host the Annual Undergraduate Conference on the American Polity, March 31-April 1, 2017. The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) and Professor Robert Kraynak’s Center for Freedom and Western Civilization will co-sponsor the event.

The conference is modeled in part on academic conferences in which gifted undergraduates will have the opportunity to present their work to an audience that will include peers and professors. A formal reception and catered dinner will precede Friday’s keynote address.  Saturday’s activities will feature formal presentations by students, commented on by faculty, and a special directed group discussion of a prescribed reading chosen by the keynote speaker.

As usual, presentations at this year’s conference will range widely across the theme of American politics. Papers related to the American founding, political institutions, political thought, law, political history, political economy, literature, and politics and religion are encouraged. The conference is designed to provide outstanding undergraduates with the experience of presenting an academic research paper to an audience of their peers and commented on by faculty with expertise on the subject. The conference also welcomes students who wish to participate in the conference for the first time as observers and as discussants on Saturday evening.

Friday, March 31
Afternoon: arrival and check-in at Wendt University Inn, 175 Utica St, Hamilton, NY 13346
5:30: Reception, Parlor Room at the Colgate inn
6:00: Dinner
Parlor Room, Colgate Inn, 1 Payne Street, Hamilton, NY 13346
8:00: Keynote Address:  Professor Michael Zuckert, University of Notre Dame (see bio below)
“Thinkin’ About Lincoln: On Democratic Statesmanship” Parlor Room, Colgate Inn, 1 Payne Street, Hamilton, NY 13346

*Students should come to the conference having read two documents.
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, originally delivered on March 4, 1865. This speech can be found here:

Also read the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, available here:

Saturday, April 1
8:30: coffee, continental breakfast, Case-Geyer Library Room 560 (Batza Meeting Room), Colgate University
Panel #1, Batza Meeting Room, Case-Geyer Library
                                      Elizabeth Barry, Hamilton College 
Changing Notions of Republic: The Rise of the Anti-Masonic Movement in Early
 Nineteenth Century America
                                      Austin Felix Croom, Liberty University
“Cary’s Rebellion, The Tuscorora War, and the Interdependence of the Southern Colonies”
                                Anna Pluff, Colgate University
“Natural Morality and Justice: The Case against Conventionalism in Thomas Jefferson’s Letters”
                                      Dylan Quinn, Skidmore College
“A Resistance to Revolution: The Nuanced Lockean Position of James Otis”
 Commentator:  Dr. David Frisk, Resident Fellow, Alexander Hamilton Institute
10:30-11:00: Break
Panel #2, Batza Meeting Room
                                     Erez Binyamin, Rochester Institute of Technology
“The Gorgias and the Battle between Philosophy and Rhetoric”
                                             William Ardery, Hamilton College
“Abraham Lincoln’s Rhetoric of Qualification”
                                      Scott Levinson, Colgate University
“The Judicial Statesmanship of Chief Justice John Roberts: Upholding the Individual Mandate in NFIB v. Sebelius”
   Commentator:  Dr. Joseph Fornieri, Department of Political Science, Rochester Institute of Technology 
12:30-2:00: Lunch at Merrill House, Colgate University
Panel #3, Batza Meeting Room, Case-Geyer Library
                                     Abbie Burnett, Texas Tech University
“Love is Love is Love is Love: Why the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Gay Marriage Is Constitutional”
                                   Samantha Rosensweig, Colgate University
“The Path to Coexistence of Sharia Law”
Clark Perkins, Colgate University  
“Reformulating the American Policy Approach to the Islamic State: Long-term Considerations, Counterinsurgency Lessons, and Establishing a Counternarrative in Syria”
 Commentator:  Dr. Rob L’Arrivee, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science, Colgate University
3:30-6:30 Free Time
6:30: Dinner and Directed Discussion with Professor Zuckert
Parlor Room, Colgate Inn

Sunday, April 2
Depart at your convenience

Keynote Speaker:  Michael Zuckert is the Nancy R. Dreux Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.  He works in the two fields of Political Theory and Constitutional Studies, in both of which he has published extensively.  He has published Natural Rights and the New Republicanism, the Natural Rights Republic, Launching Liberalism, and (with Catherine Zuckert) The Truth About Leo Strauss and Leo Strauss and the Problem of Political Philosophy in addition to many articles. He has also edited (with Derek Webb) The Antifederal Writings of the Melancton Smith Circle. He is currently completing Natural rights and the New Constitutionalism, a study of American constitutionalism in theoretical context, as well as The Constitutional Science of James Madison and A Nation so Conceived: Abraham Lincoln and the Problem of Democratic Sovereignty.

Hotel information:
Start date: 3/31/17 End date: 4/2/17 Last day to book: 3/6/17
Wendt University Inn is offering your special group rate for 99.00 USD per night Book your group rate for the Undergraduate Conference on American Polity under the Alexander Hamilton Institute group name. Phone: 1.800.218.5449 or 1.315.824.4400, e-mail:

Colgate Campus Map:
For those who need to make flight arrangements, the Hancock County/Syracuse (NY) International Airport is about a one-hour drive from Colgate University.  The AHI will work with those flying to the event to provide transport from the airport to Colgate University.

Questions:  Contact Dr. Beth L’Arrivee at or Dr. Robert Paquette at