From the President’s Desk

5 December 2022

A Message from The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI):

Dear Friends of AHI:

We again ask for your support.

AHI has weathered the Covid storm successfully during the past two years. But the deep political divide continues to exist in this country on both sides of the aisle. Alexander Hamilton once said that “while the passions of men are worked up to an uncommon pitch there is great danger of fatal extremes. The same state of the passions which fits the multitude, who have not a sufficient stock of reason and knowle[d]ge to guide them, for opposition to tyranny and oppression, very naturally leads them to a contempt and disregard of all authority.”

For AHI to continue to expand and secure its programming, we need your financial support.  For those who have already donated, please accept our deep appreciation for your generosity during these tumultuous times.  For those of you who have yet to donate, please consider a financial contribution of $100, $200, $300 or more to further our existing programs and provide for future initiatives.

AHI has an audit performed annually by Rosenbloom and Butler, CPA, of Washington D.C., which it has passed annually with flying colors.  On principle, as most of you already know, we accept no governmental support at any level, federal, state, or local.  Since much of the work at AHI is done by unpaid volunteers, you can rest assured of the effectiveness of your donation.  The overwhelming majority of AHI’s donations come from private citizens in amounts of $250 or less.

This is a sampling of AHI programs and initiatives in 2022:

AHI continued to offer lectures and reading clusters through technologies like Zoom, all free of charge to the public.  AHI Resident Fellow Dr. David Frisk offered courses to a record number of attendees in “Thomas Jefferson as Politician and President,” “The Struggle over the Constitution,” and “Leading Up to the Civil War.”  Lauren Weiner provided courses on Whittaker Chambers’s Witness (“Witness: an American Classic”) and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and America.”  Dr. Timothy Minella of the University of Kentucky delivered courses on Christopher Lasch’s posthumous The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy and Plato’s Republic.

AHI Resident Fellow Mary Grabar and AHI Senior Fellows Alexander Riley and Juliana Pilon all had banner years.   Dr. Grabar was honored by Bishop E. W. Jackson with a STAND award at a ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia, for her bestsellers Debunking Howard Zinn (2019) and Debunking the 1619 Project (2021).  She appeared on multiple radio shows and podcasts.  She delivered multiple lectures.  She appeared in three films, held media interviews, and was the subject of feature stories.  She has published articles in and received attention from such publications and outlets as Fox News, New York Post, Breitbart, The Federalist, Daily Wire, The Spectator, Real Clear Public Affairs, College Fix, and FrontPage Magazine.  Regnery Press has issued Dr. Grabar’s book Debunking the 1619 Project in paperback.

In 2022, Dr. Riley, a distinguished sociologist, published in Academic Questions, American Greatness, Law & Liberty, Minding the Campus, The American Mind, The Postil Magazine, and the Witherspoon Institute publication Public Discourse, where he conducted a searching interview with the economist Glenn Loury, one of the most insightful observers on race relations in this country.  Dr. Riley also delivered on Constitution Day, September 17, the 15th Annual David Aldrich Nelson Lecture in Constitutional Jurisprudence, “Sacredness and the Constitution:  A Properly Conservative View of Our Most Important National Document.”  He also presented to the prestigious Institut des Sciences Sociales, Economiques et Politiques (ISSEP)—in French—“Wokeism in American Higher Ed.”

Juliana Pilon published articles, delivered lectures, and ran AHI’s two-week National Security Program in Washington D. C. (WaPoNS).  The publications were featured in the Wall Street Journal, Law & Liberty, and the publications of the Jewish News Syndicate and Doc Emet Productions. Dr. Pilon deserves high marks for her national security program, now in its sixth year of existence.  A Hamilton College undergraduate commented on the seminar: “WaPoNS was an amazing program! Absolutely top notch and the experience and insight you receive . . . is like no other. I truly enjoyed every second . . . The WaPoNS program is hands down the greatest academic experience I have had to date. It was run beautifully, and I would recommend it to anyone interested not only in National Security but with interest in having a stake in the future of our nation. I loved the program, Dr. Pilon is especially wonderful, our guest speakers were amazing, and the students chosen to be a part of the program also were wonderful.”

Dr. Grabar and Dr. Pilon were both instrumental in inviting, respectively, Nicholas J. Pirro, the former Onondaga County Executive, to deliver the Fourth Annual Columbus Day Lecture and Seth Cropsey of the Yorktown Institute to deliver the Tenth Annual General Josiah Bunting Veterans Day Lecture.  Pirro presented on the origins of the Columbus Day statue in Syracuse and the need to preserve it.  Cropsey delivered an erudite lecture on nothing less than the future of American republic itself.

After forty years of teaching, Senior Fellow David Nichols, a revered teacher, retired from the political science department of Baylor University in 2021.  AHI co-sponsored a conference in 2022 to honor him in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Dozens of his former graduate students participated and presented papers.  Chris Bissex presented Dr. Nichols with a U.S. flag, flown over the U.S. Capitol earlier that week; a signed book from Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; and a framed group photo of the conference attendees, signed by all present.

Four fellows are completing books, which should see the light of day in 2023. Juliana Pilon is putting the finishing touches on a volume on the paradox of American liberalism.  Mary Grabar is completing a monograph on the black conservative intellectual George Schuyler. David Frisk is writing an intellectual biography of Willmoore Kendall, one of most brilliant political theorists of his generation. Robert Paquette, AHI’s president, is working on his magnum opus, a book on Thomas Jefferson and Louisiana.

Paquette’s essay “Revisiting Denmark Vesey’s Church” was published in an anthology by James O’Neil Spady, Fugitive Movements: Commemorating the Denmark Vesey Affair and Black Radical Antislavery in the Atlantic World (2022).  Paquette and his co-author Douglas Egerton won a prize for The Denmark Vesey Affair:  A Documentary History.  The University Press of Florida issued the 1000-page volume in a paperback version in 2022.  Along with twenty-three thinkers, Paquette had the distinct pleasure of sitting for the making of Gloria Greenfield’s fifth documentary film, “Civilization in the Danger Zone.”

Two undergraduates and one high school student received fellowships. Philip Gow, Hamilton College 2022, received the Harlan Calkins Fellowship to study diplomatic history.  Jack Gee, Hamilton College 2024, received the William L. Vick fellowship to study economic history.  For the first time, Marina Cascini, a high school student, won the James Piereson Fellowship.

Dick Williams, for forty years the driving force of the Clinton Historical Society, and Robert Hamill, an AHI board member, were the driving forces behind the creation of a historical marker on the property of AHI’s headquarters.  They investigated, gathered important information, and set to work to bring an encapsulated version of the history of this building, first known as the Williams House, to light.  Othniel Samuel Williams (1813-1880), a lawyer, judge, and entrepreneur, was a Hamilton College alumnus, treasurer, and a charter member of the Alpha Delta Phi literary society, one of the oldest fraternal associations in the United States.

The Daughters of the American Revolution have a rich history, as befitting an organization founded in 1890.  Dr. David Frisk shepherded the Oneida Chapter of the DAR through AHI headquarters and handed out informational literature about us.  They were so impressed that they met there on November 1 and will subsequently be meeting on the premises during the new year.

An anonymous donor gifted AHI with $50,000 in 2021 to complete a major renovation in the basement of the building.  The renovation will ultimately cost AHI $70,000.  It will house bookcases that feature the Eugene Genovese Collection, framed manuscripts and works of art, and an emerald-green carpet.  They will conjoin the AHI/ADP treasure rooms.  AHI board member Bob Cady has graciously donated to us his collection of framed and unframed presidential manuscripts for display in the renovated parts of the building and other places.  The renovated room will be dedicated on December 11th at 5:00 pm.

As is my wont, I’ll leave you with a quote.  It’s about history, and seems apropos for these tumultuous times in which we are living. “Most modern people appear to resent the past and seek to deny its substance for either of two reasons: 1) it confuses them, or 2) it inhibits them.  If it confuses them, they have not thought enough about it; if it inhibits them, we should look with a curious eye upon whatever schemes they have afoot.”

AHI wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and enjoyable holiday season.  Thank you for your support in our efforts not only to sustain, but to bolster our programming in the coming year.




Robert L. Paquette
President and Executive Director
The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization