Dear Friends:

October 16, 2014

A Message from the President:

The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) is nearing the end of another very successful year, and we want you to know we could not have done it without your support. Please consider a financial contribution of $100, $200, $300 or more to further our existing programs and future initiatives. We hope that you will consider supporting our mission of educational reform and our creation of innovative programming designed to promote intellectual diversity and a genuine free marketplace for ideas.

The AHI now engages hundreds of students on multiple campuses. In 2014, the AHI sponsored or co-sponsored activities at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Skidmore College, Dartmouth College, Utica College, and Hamilton College.  We have co-sponsored major events with Colgate University’s Center for Freedom & Western Civilization and Baylor University’s Department of Political Science.

Here is a sampling of our work during the current year:

1.  In February, the Center for Statesmanship, Law, and Liberty (CSLL), which is housed in the political science department at RIT, announced its affiliation with the AHI under the leadership of AHI Senior Fellow Joseph Fornieri.

2. In March, the AHI and Skidmore’s Benjamin Franklin Forum co-sponsored the Annual Undergraduate Conference on the American Polity, which was held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY. Undergraduate students from elite colleges across the country attended as well as select students from Cincinnati Country Day School, an elite college preparatory school.

3. In April, a record crowd turned out at the Turning Stone Resort for the keynote address by Michael Swaine, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, at the AHI’s Seventh Annual Carl B. Menges Colloquium.  Dr. Swaine spoke on “The U.S. and China in the 21st Century:  Headed for Conflict or a New Great Power Relationship?”

4.  The Menges Colloquium brought together an intellectually diverse group of fifteen experts, including many with combat experience, to discuss in six sessions over two days “War and the West:  Strategic Challenges Past, Present, and Future.”

5. In June, the AHI and Department of Political Science at Baylor co-sponsored their Sixth Annual Summer Conference.  It focused on an intensive discussion of Alexis de Tocqueville’s two-volume classic Democracy in America.  Dr. James Ceaser, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics, University of Virginia, directed a panel of professors and graduate students in the conversation before a record crowd of students and local citizens.

6. On 16 September, the AHI and Skidmore College’s Benjamin Franklin Forum co-sponsored a Constitution Day event, which featured Professor James Stoner, Department of Political Science, Louisiana State University, on “The Written Constitution and the Unwritten Tradition of Common Law.”

7. On 17 September, the AHI and CSLL co-sponsored Dr. Bruce Frohnen to deliver the Seventh Annual David Aldrich Nelson Lecture in Constitutional Jurisprudence. To a packed house, Dr. Frohnen, Pettit School of Law, Ohio Northern University, spoke on “The Constitution and Religious Liberty.”

8. Dr. David Frisk, a prize-winning journalist and Ph.D. in Political Science from the Claremont Graduate University, serves as an AHI Resident Fellow and now teaches courses in continuing education at the AHI.  In 2014, he devoted a course during the spring semester to “What Is Conservatism”; he is currently teaching during the fall “Modern Leadership and Statesmanship.”

9.  In 2014, the AHI received as a bequest in the will of the late Eugene D. Genovese (1930-2012), one of the most influential historians of his generation, a collection of books and papers, most of which are related to the study of slavery and southern history.  AHI Fellows Douglas Ambrose and Sheila O’Connor Ambrose have undertaken an initiative to catalogue and house these materials properly and to create a special reading room at AHI headquarters for use by visiting scholars and undergraduates affiliated with the AHI.

10.  Resident Fellow Dr. Christopher Hill teaches an AHI-sponsored, two-semester course at Utica College on “Law and Liberty in the Western legal Tradition.”

11. On 27 September, the AHI co-sponsored with the Daniel Webster Center at Dartmouth College, a major conference “Tyranny and Totalitarianism: Past, Present, and Future.”  For a sample of the excellence of the presentations, see here:

12. On 11 October, the brothers of the Alpha Delta Phi joined the AHI Undergraduate Fellows and the Mohawk Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross to sponsor at AHI headquarters a third annual blood drive, which surpassed the previous year’s record for donors.

13. On 3 November, the AHI will hold a special lecture and panel discussion on Abraham Lincoln, Philosopher Statesman, a book recently published by Dr. Joseph Fornieri.  AHI Charter Fellow Douglas Ambrose will moderate a panel of commentators who will include the honorable Frank J. Williams, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island and co-founder of the Lincoln Forum.

14. On 11 November, the AHI’s newest senior Fellow, Lt. Colonel Eric Hannis, will deliver the Second Annual General Josiah Bunting III Veterans Day Lecture.

AHI Undergraduate Fellows, past and present, continue to distinguish themselves:

1.  The Manhattan Institute, one of the premier organizations in the United States for shaping urban public policy, hired Dean Ball, co-leader of the AHI’s Undergraduate Fellows Program, to serve as Policy Manager of the Center for State and Local Leadership.

2.  Anthony Mark Garcia, a former Undergraduate Fellow, completed a law degree at Vanderbilt University in 2013 and is now working for a company that specializes in SEC compliance.

3.  Max Schnidman, co-leader of the AHI’s Publius Society, was hired by the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation as an Analyst in the Division of Insurance and Research.

4.  Will Eagan, a former AHI Undergraduate Fellow, is completing a doctorate in statistics at Purdue University.

5.  Elizabeth Farrington graduated from Notre Dame Law School and is now in Albuquerque, New Mexico, working with the staff attorneys at the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

6.  Tim Minella is finishing his Ph. D. dissertation in the history of science at the University of South Carolina.

7.  Anthony Balbo has left the accounting department at Ferrari North America for entrepreneurship, managing a nationwide portfolio of restaurants and properties for a privately owned company.

8.  Thomas Cheeseman is completing his law degree as a scholarship student at Vanderbilt Law School. He traveled to Hong Kong this summer as a guest of the Mont Pelerin Society for having distinguished himself in a global essay competition on Friederich Hayek’s epistemology and how it relates to an understanding of liberty.  Cheeseman, from Chardon, Ohio, also interned this summer for the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

9. Sarah Larson, co-leader of the AHI’s Undergraduate Fellows Program, received a fellowship from the Charles Koch Foundation Fellowship, which supported her summer internship at the Manhattan Institute.

10. Margaret (Maggie) Joyce, from New Canaan, Connecticut, interned this summer as a Research Associate in Washington, D.C. at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

11. AHI Undergraduate Fellows Joe Simonson and Michael Adamo have taken over the Enquiry, an undergraduate publication, founded in 2013 by AHI alumnus Paul Carrier.  The publication, now sponsored by the AHI, is devoted to a free and serious discussion on the Hamilton College campus of pressing public issues.

12.  AHI Undergraduate Fellows Michael Adamo, Alex Klosner, and Amy Elinski participated in the Baylor University summer conference on Alexis de Tocqueville and interned for the AHI as well.

13.  William Boudreau, from Wilton, Connecticut, received the 2014 Carl B. Menges Award for an undergraduate paper he composed on asymmetrical warfare and the War of 1812 in conjunction with the Menges colloquium. Upon graduation, Mr. Boudreau accepted a commission as Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

The AHI is completing planning for two major events during the spring 2015:

1. The Eighth Annual Carl B. Menges Colloquium at the Turning Stone Resort (April 16-18) will be devoted to “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and the Rule of Law:  How to Return America to Prosperity.”  Michael C. Munger, Professor of Political Science, Duke University, and Director of the Duke Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, will keynote.  Dr. Munger, an adjunct fellow at the Cato Institute, ran for governor in North Carolina in 2008 on the Libertarian Party ticket.  His prolific scholarship on the intertwining of markets, regulation, and government has received wide praise and he is an authority in the field of Public Choice

2. In May, the AHI will co-sponsor a conference at RIT on “Spontaneous Orders,” a concept crucial to the Austrian School of Economics.  Dr. Lauren Hall, Professor of Political Science at RIT, will direct the conference.

Perhaps no better evidence of the accomplishments of the AHI during its brief history was the award bestowed on AHI Charter fellow Robert Paquette on 7 March by The American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF) and The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.  Dr. Paquette received in Washington D. C. the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom.  His acceptance speech, “Dictatorships and Double Standards” received a standing ovation from the audience gathered for the annual Ronald Reagan Dinner.

How can you help?  Some of you who will receive this letter have already made tax-deductible contributions to the AHI for this year. We thank you for your generosity. We ask those who have not yet contributed to help us to complete major initiatives, to undertake additional programming, and to maintain a scholarly center that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni calls an “oasis of excellence.”

We are supported exclusively by our donors. We receive no funding from the government or from Hamilton College. We look to parents, alumni, and other supporters to support our important and growing mission. You can donate online via PayPal.

If you wish to mail a donation to support the Alexander Hamilton Institute, please send your contribution to:

The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

21 W. Park Row

Clinton, NY 13323

The late Russell Kirk, an iconic traditionalist intellectual, who for more than three decades published a column “On the Academy” in William F. Buckley’s National Review, wrote in 1956, “A college, however diligent, cannot make a man of bad inclination into a good man.  Yet a college can, by ignoring the ethical end of learning, so separate intellectuality from the concept of moral worth that it graduates men and women whose light is darkness.”

Only with your support can the AHI act to help lift the darkness.


Richard Erlanger, President
Douglas Ambrose, Charter Fellow
James Bradfield, Charter Fellow
Robert Paquette, Charter Fellow