From the President’s Desk
4 December 2023
Message from The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI)
Dear Friends of AHI:
AHI solicits your support in time of need.
AHI had weathered the Covid storm successfully, but inflation and the overall condition of the economy has bedeviled us. As prices soar, the contributions of non-profits such as ours fall in real and nominal terms. On principle, as most of you already know, we accept no governmental support at any level, federal, state, or local. The overwhelming majority of AHI’s donations come from middle-class donors, private citizens in amounts of $250 or less.
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 any amount to further our existing programs and to provide for future initiatives.
In 2023, AHI passed with flying colors— as it always does— an annual audit performed by Rosenbloom and Butler, CPA, of Washington D.C. Since much of the work at AHI is done by unpaid volunteers, you can rest assured that your donation will get the most bang for the buck.
Here is an extended sampling of programs, scholarship, and initiatives brought to you by AHI in 2023:
For starters, AHI featured three individuals for special lectures. For the Sixteenth Annual David Aldrich Nelson Lectureship on Constitutional Jurisprudence on Constitution Day (the late Carl Menges’s birthday), Dr. Timothy Burns, an AHI Senior Fellow and distinguished political theorist at Baylor University, presented “Two Visions of a Constitution: Adams and Publius.”
For the Fifth Annual Columbus Day lecture, Jeff-Fynn Paul, a professor of Global History and Economics at Leiden University, the Netherlands, delivered a splendid talk on the myth of European colonialism.
For the Eleventh Annual General Josiah Bunting Veterans Day lecture, Colonel Adam J. Hepp, a much-decorated Air Force officer, impressed with his presentation “‘Never Volunteer for Anything’: Volunteers, Leaders, and the Value of Trust.”
Senior Fellow Juliana Pilon, like Mary Grabar in 2022, must be singled out for her achievements in 2023. Dr. Pilon had a banner year. Her acclaimed book, An Idea Betrayed: Jews, Liberalism, and the American Left, appeared in March. Her articles and reviews have graced the pages of such publications as the Jewish News Syndicate, Academic Questions, City Journal, and New English Review. She has published regularly for Law & Liberty on such wide-ranging topics as Alexander Hamilton, antisemitism, and liberalism. Recently, she joined a roundtable discussion of Hamas’s threat not only to Israel but to Western civilization itself.
In addition, Dr. Pilon directed AHI’s two-week program in Washington DC on national security (WaPoNS), now in its seventh year. Students from around the country took part and raved about it. Henry Tyler, an undergraduate at Hamilton College, extolled the program in an article in Enquiry.
Freedom Conservatism recognized her for “leading the way” in “nurturing and advancing Western civilization.”
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 decided to hold an in-person class as well. He offered courses to a record number of attendees on “The Civil War” and “Reading the Federalist Papers.” Former Pentagon speechwriter Lauren Weiner offered successful Zoom courses on “Freedom’s Writers: Orwell and Koestler” and “Anthony Trollope: One of England’s Most Famous Novelists.”
Dr. Frisk continues to work on his intellectual biography of Willmoore Kendall, one of this country’s greatest political theorists, and he contributed a soon-to-published article on “Rusher at 100: Realism for the 21st Century” for The William A. Rusher Centennial Project. At AHI headquarters on December 9th, he will be featured at the Moms for Liberty (Oneida Chapter) event “Grassroots Politics & American Government in our Time.”
On October 7th, Dr. Mary Grabar had the distinction of delivering a lecture on Critical Race Theory on the first-year anniversary of the Oneida Chapter, Moms for Liberty. Dr. Grabar has also been busy publishing articles and reviews. She has published for Doc Emet Productions on the scourge of plagiarism; for The Epoch Times on the decision-making of Albany’s Democratic mayor Kathy Sheehan; for American Greatness on the “never-ending” BLM riots; and for Front Page Magazine on the decline of Spelman College. Three times she published for The American Spectator, on the teaching of racist history; on an unsung hero Larry Grathwohl; and on Black History Month’s continuing neglect of the black journalist George Schuyler. Dr. Grabar is working on two books. Her biography of George Schuyler is almost complete, and she is tackling a new project, tentatively titled “Debunking the FDR Myth.”
Senior Fellow Alexander Riley, a sociologist at Bucknell University, is known for wide-ranging interests. His publications in 2023 include articles on Hamas, LGBTQ statistics, Cormac McCarthy’s novels, Vladimir Putin, and the future of free speech. Dean Ball, a senior program manager at the Hoover Institution’s State and Local Governance Initiative as well as an AHI board member, published an article for National Review assessing the dangers of artificial intelligence. Peter Coclanis, an AHI academic advisor and a distinguished professor at the Global Research Institute, University of Chapel Hill, produced a refreshing piece for The American Conservative on climate change. To a packed house at AHI, Charter Fellow Douglas Ambrose introduced a documentary on Gerrit Smith. Robert Paquette, President of AHI, contributed an article on slavery to be published by ACTA. He continues to work on his magnum opus on Thomas Jefferson, Louisiana, and the Haitian Revolution.
Mary Nichols, an AHI Senior Fellow and Professor Emerita of Political Science at Baylor University, published a book for the University of Notre Dame Press on Aristotle’s Discovery of the Human: Piety and Politics in the “Nicomachean Ethics.” On April 14-15, she also directed AHI’s 14th Annual Mary and David Nichols Conference on the Great Books, “The Moral Foundations of Modern Democracy,” at Waco and Pecan Bluff, Texas, for the Department of Political Science.
AHI presented two summer fellowships of $3000 each to Hamilton undergraduates for courage and academic achievement: Casimir Zablotski and Austin Bullock. Mr. Zablotski used his fellowship to help him spend a year of study in Poland. Mr. Bullock, also a graduate of Juliana Pilon’s WaPoNs program, spent the summer reading texts on national security issues on his way in the fall to graduate school at Syracuse University.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) continue to use AHI’s headquarters for their monthly meetings. On March 29, they held a commemorative event there to honor Vietnam veterans.
Finally, AHI has news to announce about its board of directors. Paul Carrier, Adam Clark, and James Coupe have been added to the board, each one with unanimous votes. Congratulations to you all.
As is my wont, I’ll leave you with a quote. The French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville spent only nine months in the United States, but he observed acutely. He wanted to know how far the rising tide of democracy would carry the United States and for that matter, the world.
He presented his findings in two volumes, with the second volume much more pessimistic than the first. The founders, need I remind you, created a democratic republic, not a pure democracy. Tocqueville saw dangers in democracy wedded to abstract equality. “When all the prerogatives of birth and fortune are destroyed, when all professions are open to all, and when one can reach the summit of each of them by oneself,” he observed, “an immense and easy course seems to open before the ambition of men, and they willingly fancy that they have been called to great destinies. But that is an erroneous view corrected by experience every day. The same equality that permits each citizen to conceive vast hopes renders all citizens individually weak: It limits their strength in all regards at the same time that it permits their desires to expand.”
AHI wishes you and your loved ones a healthy and prosperous holiday season. Thank you for your support.
Robert L. Paquette