Freedom in American Political Thought: An Online Summer Course for College Credit

May 31-24, 2022
Online (through Washington College)

This summer, get an education in freedom—and earn 4 college credits!

Apply by May 15. To apply, submit (1) a brief résumé and (2) a 2-paragraph essay on the importance of studying the American Founding



Do you want to understand where our freedoms come from? 

To really know this, you need to know the American political tradition . . .

. . . but unless you’re one of a lucky few students today, you’re probably not getting a complete picture at your school.

It’s well documented that in political science, liberal and far-left professors badly outnumber conservative professors. 

The problem is not (or not merely) a bias against students who question progressive thinking. The key issue is which ideas and thinkers your professors teach you—and which ones they don’t teach you.  

But you can avoid all these problems—and develop a rich understanding of freedom—in this immersive online summer course.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College have partnered to present Freedom in American Political Life.

This political-science course transfers 4 credits to colleges and universities nationwide. So you’re getting more than a semester’s worth of credit in under a month!

The course is open to college students and select advanced high school students.

You will encounter the great thinkers in the American political tradition, with a strong focus on the founding period and the fulfillment of founding principles of natural law and natural rights across American history.

The course will take you on an in-depth exploration of:

  • religious freedom and economic freedom
  • the eradication of slavery
  • the victory over fascism and Soviet communism
  • challenges facing freedom in the United States today

As you immerse yourself in the study of American freedom, you will encounter the give and take of opposing arguments. As in any pursuit of truth, you will need to learn to listen sympathetically to positions with which you may at times disagree—perhaps even deeply disagree.

Your guide to this compelling subject matter is Professor Joseph Prud’homme, the Burton Family Chair in Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College (PhD, Princeton University).

You will also hear from a number of guest speakers, including: 

  • Wilfred M. McClay, award-winning historian and author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story
  • Arthur Milikh, executive director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life
  • Cara Rogers, assistant professor of history at Ashland University
  • Thomas G. West, professor of politics at Hillsdale College and author of this course’s core text, The Political Theory of the American Founding

Enrollment is limited to ensure a personalized, highly interactive, and in-depth seminar.

Course Details

  • Dates: Course runs from May 31 until June 24, 2022
  • Hours of instruction: FLEXIBLE. The class will meet via Zoom three times per week for 1.5 hours per session. An asynchronous option is available for students who work. 
  • Cost: $2,000 (course awards 4 credits)
  • Scholarships: ISI will offer 10 scholarships of $250 to ISI students, with priority going to ISI Honors Scholars and Society Leaders. The Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture will also provide scholarships for select students. 


Course Instructor and Featured Speakers

Joseph Prud'homme
Joseph Prud’homme (Course Instructor)

Joseph Prud’homme holds the Burton Family Chair in Religion, Politics, and Culture at Washington College, where he teaches political science and directs the Institute for Religion, Politics, and Culture. He received his doctorate from Princeton University, where he studied in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy, with additional specialization in constitutional law and religious studies. He was awarded a fellowship at Harvard University, where he studied at the Harvard Law School and served as a member of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He has also held a visiting fellowship at the University of Oxford. Dr. Prud’homme is the author of Religion and Politics in America from the Colonial Period to the Civil War and coauthor of Curriculum and the Culture Wars. He is a frequent guest lecturer nationally and internationally.

Wilfred M. McClay
Wilfred M. McClay

Wilfred M. McClay has served for nearly a decade as the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma. In the fall he will join the history faculty at Hillsdale College. McClay’s most recent book, Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, received ISI’s 2020 Conservative Book of the Year award. His other books include A Student’s Guide to U.S. History (ISI Books), The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, and Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Public Life in Modern America. McClay served on the National Council on the Humanities and is a member of the U.S. Commission on the Semiquincentennial, which has been charged with planning the celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. An ISI alumnus, he is a graduate of St. John’s College (Annapolis) and received his PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University.

Arthur Milikh
Arthur Milikh

Arthur Milikh serves as executive director of the Center for the American Way of Life at the Claremont Institute. Previously he was associate director of the Center for American Studies and AWC Family Foundation Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. There, his work focused on the tradition of American political thought and on the freedom of speech. Milikh has written for National Affairs, City Journal, Real Clear Politics, the Claremont Review of Books, American Greatness, and the Daily Signal. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and is working toward his PhD in philosophy at Catholic University.

Cara Rogers
Cara Rogers

Cara Rogers is assistant professor of history at Ashland University, where she teaches courses on the Age of Enlightenment, American history from the colonial era until the Civil War, and Thomas Jefferson. Previously, she taught at Collin College in Dallas and at Rice University. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and has a master’s degree in history from the University of Texas at Dallas and a PhD from Rice University. 

Thomas G. West
Thomas G. West

Thomas G. West holds the Paul Ermine Potter and Dawn Tibbetts Potter Professorship in Politics at Hillsdale College. Previously he taught for many years at the University of Dallas. Dr. West is the author of The Political Theory of the American Founding—the core text for this course—as well as Vindicating the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of America. He is a director and senior fellow of the Claremont Institute.

Daniel McCarthy
Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy is vice president for the Collegiate Network at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and editor of ISI’s journal Modern Age. He is responsible for the ISI’s college journalism programs, which support independent campus publications and provide internships and fellowships to outstanding student reporters, writers, and editors. He has an extensive background in journalism, including as a columnist for The Spectator and past editor of The American Conservative. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, The National Interest, First Things, Reason, and a wide range of other publications. Before coming to ISI, he was director of the Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship Program at The Fund for American Studies. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (where he edited a Collegiate Network paper) and lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

John G. Grove

John G. Grove is managing editor of Law & Liberty and author of John C. Calhoun’s Theory of Republicanism. He previously taught political science at Lincoln Memorial University.

Apply Now

Applications are due on May 15th at midnight. Please contact Marlo at with any questions.