Salvatori Center Associated Faculty

George Thomas
Dr. George Thomas

Director, Burnet C. Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions

George Thomas is Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College, where he has taught for over 10 years. He came to Claremont McKenna from Williams College. He is the author of The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2015), The Madisonian Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), and numerous scholarly articles in journals such as Perspectives on Politics, Studies in American Political Development, Polity, and American Political Thought, as well as essays in more popular journals such as National Affairs and The American Interest.

He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Huntington Library, and is the recipient of the Alexander George Award from the American Political Science Association.

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Joseph Bessette
Dr. Joseph M. Bessette

Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics


Joseph M. Bessette has been at CMC since 1990. He teaches courses in American government, ethics, and crime and public policy. From 1985 to 1990 he served first as Deputy Director for Data Analysis and then as Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. Department of Justice. Before that he served for three and a half years in the Cook County, Illinois, State's Attorney's Office, where he was Director of Planning, Training, and Management. In 1983 he was issues coordinator for the Chicago mayoral campaign of Richard M. Daley. From 1990 to 1993 he served on Mayor Richard Daley's Blue Ribbon Panel of Police Hiring and Promotion, which dealt with issues of affirmative action in the hiring and promotion of Chicago police officers.

In addition to other published writings on American government and politics, he is author of The Mild Voice of Reason: Deliberative Democracy and American National Government, co-editor and contributor to The Presidency in the Constitutional Order, and co-author of American Government: Origins, Institutions, and Public Policy. He is currently working on a major study of the murders committed by those on death row throughout the United States, to be titled Murder Most Foul: A Portrait of Death Row in the United States.

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Mark Blitz
Dr. Mark Blitz

Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy

Mark Blitz (A.B. and Ph.D. from Harvard University) is Fletcher Jones Professor of Political Philosophy. He served during the Reagan Administration as Associate Director of the United States Information Agency, where he was the United States Government's senior official responsible for educational and cultural exchange, and as Senior Professional Staff Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He has been Vice President and Director of Political and Social Studies at the Hudson Institute, and has taught political theory at Harvard University and at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the co-editor (with William Kristol) of Educating the Prince, and the author of Plato's Political Philosophy, of Duty Bound: Responsibility and American Public Life, of Heidegger's "Being and Time" and the Possibility of Political Philosophy, and of many articles on political philosophy, public policy, and foreign affairs.

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Charles Kesler
Dr. Charles R. Kesler

Dengler-Dykema Distinguished Professor of Government


Charles R. Kesler is Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He received his A.B. in Social Studies (1978) as well as his A.M. and Ph.D. in Government (1985) from Harvard University.

From 1989 to 2008, Dr. Kesler was Director of CMC's Henry Salvatori Center for the Study of Individual Freedom in the Modern World. From September 2000 to March 2001, he served as Vice Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Congress's James Madison Commemoration Commission. He was selected in June of 2000 as a member of The Scholars Commission on the Jefferson-Hemings Issue sponsored by The Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society.

Dr. Kesler is editor of Saving the Revolution: The Federalist Papers and the American Founding (Free Press, 1987), and co-editor, with William F. Buckley, Jr., of Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought (HarperCollins, 1988). He has written extensively on American constitutionalism and political thought, and his edition of The Federalist Papers (Signet Classics, 2003) is the best-selling edition in the country.

Dr. Kesler contributes regularly to the opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. His articles on contemporary politics have also appeared in The Washington Times, Policy Review, National Review, and The Weekly Standard, among other journals.

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Susan McWilliams
Dr. Susan J. McWilliams

Professor of Politics, Chair of Politics, Pomona College


Susan McWilliams is a Professor of Politics at Pomona College, where she has twice won the Wig Award for Excellence in Teaching.

She is the author of Traveling Back: Toward a Global Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2014) and a co-editor of several books, most recently The Best Kind of College: An Insiders' Guide to America's Small Liberal Arts Colleges (co-edited with John Seery, SUNY Press). Her writing has been published widely, including in Boston Review, Bust, Front Porch Republic, Perspectives on Political Science, Political Science Quarterly, The Review of Politics, and The Star-Ledger.

McWilliams received her B.A. in political science and Russian from Amherst College, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, where she won the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni University Teaching Award.

In 2014 she won both the Graves Award in the Humanities and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. She lives in Claremont, California, with her husband and two children.

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Christopher Nadon
Dr. Christopher Nadon

Associate Professor of Government


Christopher Nadon was educated at the University of Chicago (B.A. 1985, M.A. 1989, Ph. D. 1993) and previous to coming to Claremont McKenna College taught at the University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy and Trinity College in Hartford, CT. He is author of Xenophon's Prince: Republic and Empire in the Cyropaedia and is interested in the relations between religion and politics.

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James Nichols
Dr. James H. Nichols, Jr.

Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics


James H. Nichols, Jr., is Professor of Government and Dr. Jules L. Whitehill Professor of Humanism and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College and Avery Fellow at Claremont Graduate University. Educated at Yale and Cornell, he has also taught at McMaster University, the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, and Yale University, and spent a year working at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, as Associate Director of the Division of General Programs. He teaches chiefly courses in political philosophy and also the Freshman Humanities Seminar. His publications include Epicurean Political Philosophy: The De rerum natura of Lucretius; translations with introduction, notes, and interpretative essays of Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus; and articles on pragmatism, human rights, Plato’s view of philosophic education, liberalism, and political economy. His most recent book is Alexandre Kojève: Wisdom at the End of History, and his current research focuses on the Roman imperial historian Tacitus.

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Emily Pears
Dr. Emily Pears

Assistant Professor of Government


Emily Pears is Assistant Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. She earned her B.A. in government from Claremont McKenna College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the development of patriotic attachments and constitutional union in the American Founding and early 19th century, and she is broadly interested in questions of nationalism and political culture in American political thought.

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Jon Shields
Dr. Jon A. Shields

Associate Professor of Government

Jon A. Shields is associate professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of The Democratic Virtues of the Christian Right (Princeton University Press) and coauthor of Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University (Oxford University Press). His commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New Republic, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Wilson Quarterly. Currently he is working on a book (with Stephanie Muravchik) on long-standing Democratic communities that voted for Donald Trump. His recent course offerings include classes on campus politics, racial inequality, and the American culture wars.

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