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On-Campus Summer Alumni Colleges

"The 2004 Election" (July 15-18) and "Life, Love, and Letters" (July 22-25)

By Bill Brower  |  Contact Bill Brower
Posted March 12, 2004
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The 8th annual Summer Alumni College, offers alumni, parents and friends two on-campus choices.

Philip A. Klinkner, the James S. Sherman Associate Professor of Government, will facilitate "The 2004 Election," Thursday, July 15 through Sunday, July 18. A member of the Hamilton faculty since 1995, Professor Klinkner is an expert on American politics, including political parties and elections, race relations, Congress, and the Presidency, and he is the former director of the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center at Hamilton. His books include The Losing Parties: Out-Party National Committees, 1956-1993 (Yale University Press, 1994), and Midterm: The 1994 Elections in Perspective (Westview Press, 1996). Most recently, he co-authored The Unsteady March: The Rise and Decline of America's Commitment to Racial Equality (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which received the 2000 Horace Mann Bond Book Award.

The 2004 presidential election promises to be one of the closest and most consequential in recent American politics. In "The 2004 Election," you will analyze the historical and political context of the election, including such factors as contemporary political party ideologies and alignments, the relationship between the economy and election outcomes, the impact of 9/11 on American politics, and the character of the presidential candidates.

Douglas Ambrose, the Sidney Wertimer Associate Professor of History, will facilitate "Life, Love, and Letters: Exploring the Written Worlds of John Adams, Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson," Thursday, July 22, through Sunday, July 25. Ambrose, a member of the Hamilton faculty since 1990, is a recipient of the Class of 1963 Excellence in Teaching Award. His teaching and research interests include American history, biography, early America and the Old South. Ambrose is the author of Henry Hughes and Proslavery Thought in the Old South (Louisiana State University Press, (1996). In addition, he has written numerous articles, book reviews and encyclopedia entries about Southern slavery and Southern intellectual life.

"Life, Love, and Letters" looks at the fascinating worlds revealed by the letters of John Adams, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and their correspondents.  What do letters tell us that other sources do not? What do they conceal? What implications may the lack of letter writing today pose to future historians? 

In 1774, in the middle of one of John Adams's many letters to his wife Abigail, he notes: 

I write you this Tittle Tatle, my Dear, in Confidence. You must keep these Letters chiefly to yourself, and communicate them with great Caution and Reserve. I should advise you to put them up safe, and preserve them. They may exhibit to our Posterity a kind of Picture of the Manners, Opinions, and Principles of these Times of Perplexity, Danger and Distress.

John's letters to Abigail, and hers to him, especially those from the years he spent in the Continental Congress, do indeed exhibit to us a "picture of the manners, opinions, and principles" of those "times of perplexity, danger, and distress." But their letters and the letters of Thomas Jefferson tell us much more. Letters provide windows not only into the political world of the founding era, but also into the emotional, intellectual, and personal worlds of men and women who lived through tumultuous times but who also attended to their marriages and children, pursued avocational interests, and pondered the fundamental questions of the human condition.


Most activities for each session will take place in the beautiful Rogers Estate at the edge of the Hamilton campus. The Rogers Estate offers sweeping views of Clinton and the Oriskany Valley. Space in the facility is limited, so we recommend making your reservations as soon as possible. Rooms are comfortable and lounge areas are spacious. Since the Rogers Estate typically functions as a student residence, bathrooms may be shared. Alternate off-campus accommodations are available. One evening of each session will include dinner and a performance at the world-renowned Glimmerglass Opera House in Cooperstown.

The cost is $575 per person, $1,100 per couple, or $1,100 for both sessions and includes books and other reading materials, residence hall accommodations, gourmet meals, opera tickets and transportation to Glimmerglass. The non-resident fee for local attendees is $470 per person. For more information about "The 2004 Election" or "Life, Love, and Letters," please contact Bill Brower '84, Executive Director, Annual Giving and Alumni Programs, at 315-859-4027 or wbrower@hamilton.edu or Amy Palmieri, Sr. Assistant to the Executive Director, at 315-859-4667 or apalmier@hamilton.edu.

To reserve space, full payment is required no later than June 21, 2004. Please make checks payable to the Trustees of Hamilton College and mail to the address below or call Amy Palmieri toll-free at 866-729-0315 to reserve your space using American Express, Visa, or MasterCard.

Please mail checks to:

Amy Palmieri
Hamilton College
198 College Hill Rd.
Clinton, NY 13323

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