Each year on 17 September, Constitution Day, the AHI awards prizes to those students who have demonstrated excellence in scholarship based on their participation in the AHI’s annual April colloquium at the Turning Stone Resort.  The 2010 colloquium, keynoted by Robert George of Princeton University, focused on the relationship between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution from the time of the founding to the Fourteenth Amendment.

Students from the various colleges and universities who attend the annaul colloquium are enjoined to read the same thick packet of readings as the colloquium panelists, and the students’ instructors prepare a challenging written assignment based on both the prescribed readings and the intensive discussions that occur during the colloquium’s six sessions.

Three Hamilton College students received awards at the AHI’s headquarters during this year’s Constitution Day dinner, which featured Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center of Law & Justice.

Grace Jacobson, an anthropology major, received an award for a paper that explored the meaning of freedom in the political thought of John C. Calhoun.  Antebellum white Southerners, unlike white Northerners, Jacobson explained, developed an undertanding of freedom that increasing rejected Lockean conceptions of pre-social rights, preferring a particularistic, historically grounded freedom suspicious of abstracts and universals.  In reaching her conclusions, Jacobson assessed Calhoun’s 1848 speech on the Oregon Bill.

Will Eagan, a mathematics major, received an award for connecting Anti-Federalist thought both to antebellum southern conservatism and the twentieth-century Agrarian movement. His paper proved particularly discerning in investigating the anti-individualist and anti-capitalist dimensions of antebellum southern conservatism.

Noah Bishop, a philosophy major, composed an award-winning essay that explored the founders connection of liberty to private property rights.  Mr. Bishop highlighted the fundamental tension  in Early Republican and antebellum Southern discourse between equality and property (liberty).

In recognition of their outstanding performance, AHI fellows awarded each student with inscribed copies of the recently published Oxford Handbook on Slavery in Americas.  Multiple AHI fellows and academic advisers contributed to this 800-page reference work.

The AHI also bestowed a special recognition award–an inscribed copy of Jay Sekulow’s Witnessing Their Faith: Religious Influence on Supreme Court Justices and Their Opinions (2007), to Lauren and Chris Love, recent graduates of Hamilton College, AHI undergraduate fellows, and student leaders of the AHI’s Christopher Dawson Society.  Chris will be serving his country as a junior officer in the United States military and will be deployed to Japan in a few months.

Congratulations to you all!