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  • Institute

    Mission The James Wilson Institute's Mission is to restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights. In that remarkable era of the American Founding, lawyers of the caliber of James Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, and John Marshall sought to explain their judgments by drawing their readers back to those deep axioms of law, those principles of natural right, that underlay the Constitution.  They taught, in that way, the principles that were there before...
  • Seminar Topic 1

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  • James Wilson Seminar

    It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. The point of using Lorem Ipsum is that it has a more-or-less normal distribution of letters, as opposed to using 'Content here, content here', making it look like readable English. Many desktop publishing packages and web page editors now use Lorem Ipsum as their default model text, and a search for 'lorem ipsum' will uncover many web sites still in their infancy. Various versions have evolved over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose (injected...
  • James Wilson Fellowship: An Overview

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  • Board of Scholars Info

    The JWI Board of Scholars is a collection of the most devoted regular attendees of our Senior Seminars.  These leading scholars offer informal advice for the topics to be discussed at future Senior Seminars. Additionally, these scholars identify intellectual "fellow travelers" who see the restoration of Natural Law as key to informing the work of lawyers, judges, and legal scholars.
  • Board of Jurists Info

    The Board of Jurists is a collection of the most devoted regular attendees of our JWI Senior Seminars. These judges lend informal advice as to which topics might be chosen for discussion at the Senior Seminars.   
  • Leadership Info

    James Wilson Institute Board of Trustees
  • Testimonials Intro

  • Staff

    Hadley Arkes, Founder and Director Hadley Arkes has been a member of the Amherst College faculty since 1966, and since 1987 he has been the Edward Ney Professor of Jurisprudence. Since 2016, he has assumed emeritus status. He has written five books with Princeton University Press: Bureaucracy, the Marshall Plan and the National Interest (1972), The Philosopher in the City (1981), First Things (1986), Beyond the Constitution (1990), and The Return of George Sutherland (1994). But his most recent books have been with Cambridge University Press, including Natural Rights and the Right to...
  • Seminar Topic 2

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  • 2021 Fellowship

      8th Annual James Wilson Fellowship Washington, D.C. Area August 1-6, 2021 Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days on Natural Law and its bearing on our jurisprudence. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment, and how we would see certain landmark cases differently if they were viewed through the lens of...
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  • Leadership

      Board of Trustees Douglas C. Neff, Chairman and President Michael A. Petrino, Treasurer  Stephen R. Pflaum, Secretary  Edward Angelini Michael C. Maibach (non-voting) Joseph H. Nesler Andrew Neviaser    
  • Seminar Topic 3

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  • 2020 Fellowship

    7th Annual James Wilson Fellowship Old Town Alexandria, VA August 2-August 7, 2020  Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days on Natural Law and its bearing on our current law. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment, and how we would see certain landmark cases differently if they were viewed through the...
  • "A Natural Law Manifesto" -by Hadley Arkes

    Adapted from remarks delivered in 2011 by Hadley Arkes before an audience in Washington, D.C. We want to proclaim again the case for natural law, and offer a kind of Natural Law Manifesto. We announce here nothing new to the world, much in the way that James Wilson, at the origin of the Constitution, proclaimed that we were not, under this Constitution, inventing new rights. The object of the Constitution, he said, was "to acquire a new security for the possession or the recovery of those rights" we already possess by nature. The great Blackstone had famously said that, on entering civil...
  • 2019 Fellowship

                     James Wilson FellowshipWashington, D.C., July 28-August 2, 2019   Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days in Washington, DC, on Natural Law and its bearing on our current law. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment, and how we would...
  • Who is James Wilson?

    James Wilson (1742-98), an émigré from Scotland, became one of the premier minds and leading figures of the American Founding.   He would settle eventually in Philadelphia, but he brought with him an education shaped at the Universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.  Steeped in the commonsense philosophy of one of the most luminous teachers of the time, Thomas Reid, Wilson brought part of the Scottish Enlightenment to America.  He played a critical part throughout the deliberations in Philadelphia that brought forth the Constitution;...
  • 2018 Fellowship

                         James Wilson Fellowship Washington, D.C., July 29-August 3, 2018  Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days in Washington, DC, on Natural Law and its bearing on our current law. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment,...
  • 2017 Fellowship

                      James Wilson Fellowship Washington, D.C., July 30-August 4, 2017   Prof. Hadley Arkes, along with five other JWI Faculty, will lead five days of seminars on natural law in Washington, DC, from July 30-August 4, 2017. We are pleased to present the James Wilson Fellows Class of 2017:          Christian "Coby" Ascunce Coby Ascunce is clerking for Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He previously worked in...
  • Opportunities

    Open Positions  *** James Wilson Institute Internship Are you looking for a substantive internship that fosters intellectual growth while honing professional skills? Are you interested in law, philosophy, and America's founding principles? James Wilson Institute interns perform critical work in carrying out our mission to transform the legal culture. Each academic trimester, JWI welcomes about two interns to our office in downtown Washington, DC. Ideal candidates will demonstrate a commitment to the Mission of JWI, a good work ethic, and strong writing skills. Although an intern's...
  • 2016 Fellowship

    James Wilson FellowshipWashington, D.C., July 31-August 5, 2016   In partnership with the Wheatley Institution of Brigham Young University, we were pleased to host our third annual James Wilson Fellowship in Washington, D.C, July 31-August 5.          James Baehr A resident of New Orleans, LA, James is an Assistant United States Attorney at the Eastern District of Louisiana, after clerking for Judge Edith Brown Clement on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He previously served as a judge advocate in the United States Marine Corps, stationed as a...
  • 2015 Fellowship

    James Wilson FellowshipWashington, DC, August 3-7, 2015  Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by joined by Professors Daniel Robinson, David Forte, and Michael Uhlmann, offered a seminar over five days in Washington, D.C, August 3-7.   Introducing Our 2015 James Wilson Fellows Ifeoma Anunkor—Originally from Harlem, New York, Ifeoma received a J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2014. She received her bachelor's degree from Amherst College. After some time in public interest law firms, she is embarking on a career in pro-life advocacy. She is especially interested in...
  • 2014 Fellowship

    James Wilson FellowshipNaples, Florida, July 7-12, 2014 In partnership with the Alliance Defending Freedom, Prof. Hadley Arkes led five days of seminars on natural law in Naples, Florida, July 7-12, 2014.  Arkes was joined occassionally in these seminars by two gifted teachers of law and philosophy, Michael Uhlmann and David Forte. For a full account of the Fellowship, please see here.     Paul Alarcón—Originally from Orange County, California, Paul is currently clerking for Judge Daniel A. Manion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh...
  • Faculty

               Hadley Arkes Hadley Arkes is the Founder and Director of the James Wilson  Institute, a center for the jurisprudence of natural law in Washington, DC. Professor Arkes was a member of the Amherst College faculty since 1966, marking his 50th anniversary of teaching in 2016. In 1987 he was named Edward Ney Professor of  Jurisprudence. He has written...