Social Sciences


Understanding and Restoring the First Principles of American Constitutionalism

Your study of politics at Hillsdale College begins with the principles of our country found in the Declaration of Independence and the Mission Statement of the College. Through the serious study of the great works of political philosophy and American political thought, and the examination of the thoughts and deeds of American statesmen, you'll discover the first principles of politics and government. Politics is offered as both a major and a minor.

A First Principles Approach to the Study of Political Philosophy and American Political Thought

Dr. John W. Grant teaching class

The Politics major and minor at Hillsdale College focus on the rigorous study of Political Philosophy and American Political Thought. From Plato and Aristotle to Nietzsche and Heidegger students study the fundamental questions and challenges found in the greatest works in Classical, Medieval, Modern, and Post-Modern Political Philosophy.

At the same time, students study the great American experiment in self-government under the rule of law. This study focuses first on the statesmanship of the American Founding, especially the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

In a variety of courses in American Politics students refine and enlarge their understanding of basic principles such as social contract theory, limited government, the separation of powers, federalism, American institutions, and ‘the inestimable blessings of civil and religious liberty.’

Students also study the transformation of American Politics in the great crises in the American experience, especially the challenge of slavery culminating in the Civil War and the emergence of an unlimited centralized modern administrative state in the course of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Students come to understand republican liberty as the Founders understood it and to understand and face the great theoretical and practical challenges to that liberty in our time.


WHIP students at the Capitol

The Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) provides students the opportunity to participate in semester-long internships in Washington, D.C. while continuing their Hillsdale education.

Learn More about the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program

Pi Sigma Alpha

WHIP students at Monticello.

Pi Sigma Alpha was founded in 1920 for the purpose of bringing together students and faculty interested in the study of government and politics and to stimulate scholarship and intelligent interest in politics.

Learn More about Pi Sigma Alpha