The ISI Honors Program is a highly selective yearlong mentoring fellowship for fifty of the nation's most promising undergraduates.
Honors Fellows are assigned an Academic Mentor who guides them through reading projects and advises on intellectual questions and career options. Fellows explore the West's intellectual tradition at a weeklong, all-expenses paid summer conference, at weekend colloquia, and through online correspondence.
Fellows receive an array of ISI publications, including American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia and Modern Age, and are given special priority for employment, fellowship, and internship opportunities.
America, as the song extols it, is pre-eminently a “sweet land of liberty.” From the religious liberty sought by our Pilgrim forefathers to the central right to liberty proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence to the political liberty secured by our federal Constitution and on to the current political issues that perplex us so, American political thinking dwells constantly on the theme of liberty. So successful have Americans been at securing liberty as their birthright that they seldom reflect on just how great and hard-won their achievement has been. They tend, instead, to presume that liberty is “easy”—the natural condition of mankind, a simple matter of leaving people alone.
But the liberty we prize is not so simple. In fact, American liberty is the profoundly complex fruit of multiple traditions that constitute its foundation. Religious liberty, for example, springs from the tradition of libertas ecclesiae—a corporate claim which publicly recognizes a sphere of social life beyond the scope of political authority. Similarly, our conceptions of economic liberty rely on common law notions of property rights, on the one hand, and common law understandings of corporate personality, on the other. And in a republican regime, it is not so much “parchment barriers” that protect our liberty as the art of dividing power against itself within a democratic government.
How is it that these traditions came together in American experience? Are they always complementary or are they sometimes in tension? Are there dimensions of liberty that are, in fact, unacknowledged in the American settlement? What happens when the moral sources of our liberty are eroded or obscured? This summer, join ISI as we explore some of the most important questions in contemporary political theory and practice.