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You will emerge from your government major grounded in international relations, American politics, comparative politics and political theory. If you are accepted into Hamilton’s program in Washington, D.C., you will get a front-line perspective on U.S. government, including working in a Congressional or executive office.

About the Major

The study of politics and public affairs at Hamilton has three tracks: government, world politics and public policy. The government major provides a broad grounding in international relations, American politics, comparative politics and political theory. World politics focuses on either a region or theme, for instance, poverty and inequality, democratization or international law and organization. Public policy is interdisciplinary and includes economics and philosophy.

I definitely think government was a good choice because the government professors really teach you how to think critically about all sorts of issues, and regardless of what field you go into critical thinking is a lifelong skill. I also love the major because we write a lot of papers (as well as for my philosophy minor) so my writing has improved dramatically! I read papers from freshman fall and can't believe how much my writing has improved.

Hillary Kolodner ’14 — Government major

Careers After Hamilton

  • Program Analyst, Department of Homeland Security
  • Strategic Marketing Coordinator, NBC Universal Media
  • Writer, Comedy Central
  • Coordinator for Communications & Outreach, U.S. Department of State
  • Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Advisor & Associate Counsel, Republican National Committee
  • Maynard-Knox Professor of Government, Hamilton College
  • Founder/Executive Director/President, New England Center for Children
  • Director, Foreign Exchange Distribution, UBS Securities LLC
  • President & CEO, Texas International Education Consortium
  • Senior Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior

Contact Information


Government Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4450 315-859-4477 government@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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International Relations 114FS


Introduction to the theory and practice of world politics. Emphasis on the changing structure of the international system; the role of the nation-state and non-state actors; patterns of conflict and cooperation; the use of force, diplomacy and ideology; the interplay between politics and economics. Writing-intensive. Proseminar.

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Congressional Campaign Politics 200F


Course will examine the factors that influence Congressional elections both at the individual and national level. Students will also complete an volunteer internship with a local congressional campaign. Available in both Summer and Fall 2018.

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Nationalism and the Politics of Identity 244S


The evolution of nationalist, ethnic and religious conflicts in the post-Cold War world. The causes, implications and potential resolutions of such conflicts. The origins, history and power of nationalism. Cases include countries from across the globe. Writing-intensive.

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The Politics and Theory of Place and Space 360F


How do we map out, conceptualize, inhabit and govern our spatial environment? What political challenges arise in organizing and maintaining a coherent world of places? A look at the theoretical and political dimensions of place and space through writings of geographers, political theorists, environmental thinkers, novelists and U.S. case studies, including 9/11, the debate over logging in the Pacific Northwest, the problem of sprawl, the decline and revival of old industrial cities, the future of America’s agricultural landscape, and the impact of climate change. Writing-intensive.

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Violence, Justice and the State in Latin America 368S


This class explores contemporary issues in Latin American politics, focusing on the ways that the capacity of Latin American states impact people’s everyday lives. The course will consider the role of the state in controlling and contributing to violence and in enhancing and impeding struggles for social justice. Emphasis will be placed on critically reading the theoretical and empirical literature in order to understand and assess the relationship between states and citizens in Latin America. Writing-intensive.

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Capitalism, Democracy, and the Workplace 389S


What is the relationship between capitalism and democracy? Do the claims of democracy extend into the workplace? This course examines the development of a market society, the division of labor, and contemporary working conditions, exploring the challenges and possibilities each presents democratic life. It emphasizes critical reading of historical, empirical, and normative texts in order to define and assess the mutual obligations between democratic societies and their citizens and workers. Readings include Adam Smith, Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, C. Wright Mills, and Karl Polanyi. Writing-intensive. Proseminar.

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