This week, The Heritage Foundation welcomes our latest class of interns, part of our Young Leaders Program.

These rising stars in the conservative movement are given unrivaled experiences in public policy. The training they receive as interns, including hands-on work in crafting and promoting conservative solutions, provides invaluable preparation for their future careers.

One of the most important parts of the internship experience is the grounding these young people receive in the principles of America’s Founding. These weekly First Principles lectures give the interns an understanding of the principles of conservative thought that they almost certainly didn’t get in college.

This summer’s interns provided some valuable feedback about the lectures (emphasis added):

  • Thank you for the engaging First Principles lectures; I now feel prepared to take on liberals at my college and beyond. —Wade, Davidson College
  • The First Principles lunches were one of my favorite parts of my summer.  I cannot imagine the internship program without it.  I learned more about America’s founding principles over the past ten weeks than I have in all of my political science classes at college.  The lectures did not simply teach us what to think, but explained to us the why behind conservative principles. David and Arthur also provided us ways to communicate our founding principles to others who may not agree with us. —Lauren, Virginia Tech
  • It’s been a wonderful summer at the Heritage Foundation, and one of my favorite experiences has been to hear you deliver the principles of the founding so eloquently. —Siyao, Baylor University
  • I now feel confident to defend the conservative position for every issue. My favorite lectures were our weekly “First Principles” luncheons, where we learned from Heritage’s Principles and Politics staff about the true nature of conservatism. We looked at the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and even assessed how to combat modern liberalism in this day and age. These teachings have rooted my understanding of the founding conservative principles and I will carry these truths with me long after the summer concludes. —Addison, University of Alabama
  • I really enjoyed the First Principles lunches. I was extremely grateful to learn about the foundation of conservative policy – the “why” behind the agenda we promote. After these lunches, I am much more confident in my conservative ideologies. I can converse about a wide range of topics without simply scratching the surface but instead feeling comfortable with the principles under the issues. Haley, Clemson University
  • The First Principles lunches reinforced the importance of developing a philosophy of conservatism in a policy-driven world like Washington, D.C. David Azerrad and the other distinguished speakers showed week in and week out that politics is nothing without principles. These lunches, which touched on topics ranging from the pitfalls of libertarianism to the administrative state, were intellectually challenging and provided a forum for the interns to enhance our understanding of America’s Founding principles. The question-and-answer periods were particularly helpful because they ensured that our time here at Heritage would not just be an echo chamber but would allow an opportunity to sharpen and refine what it means to think and act like a conservative. Robert, Yale University
  • First Principles was an excellent time of revisiting the founding principles behind the nation and tackling difficult policy issues that are not often addressed in the classroom. Emily, Grove City College
  • The First Principles Lunches were a very valuable part of my internship as they forced me to think about why I am a conservative and what that means. It is so easy for me to sit and research national security issues with a conservative mindset, but it requires far more effort to think about what my beliefs really are or how I adopted them. I am grateful for David, Arthur, and all the staff who organized the First Principles, and wish we had more. I am so thankful for this important part of the internship. —Kevin, Boston College
  • One of the highlights of the internship program is the First Principles lunch, which serves to deepen intern’s understanding of the founding and their ability to articulate conservative principles. This impartation of understanding is future-focused and the key to the next generation of conservative leadership. I am grateful and better for it. Ashley, Liberty University
  • The First Principles lunch was one of my favorite parts of the internship. We gained knowledge about conservative principles as they apply to our daily lives. These talks enhanced my understanding of the foundation that supports our ideological principles and bolstered my confidence in defending conservative values as I move forward in my career path.  –Carissa, Washington and Lee University

Do you think America’s Founding Principles have been deemphasized at colleges today?

Comments (34)

Nancy Knauss - September 18, 2015

Yes I do….it would seem most “teachers” are Liberal with their own agenda. Jr. High and High School use to have “U.S. History”, Civics and Problems of Democracy…do they still?

Tom Myers - September 18, 2015

Yes our constitution is under attack.Most colleges have been liberalized.

Timothy Docter - September 18, 2015

The majority of institutions of higher education in this country are so progressive there is little if anything taught about the Constitution and its importance for the freedom of the people and government by the people.

Tom Myers - September 18, 2015

Hillsdale college is a great college. They don’t accept federal money. Not even student federal loans. I never been there, I do contribute to them though.

Bill Coates - September 18, 2015

Most institutions of ‘higher learning’ have only contempt for the founders and their work. Marxism and Darwinism are in vogue and anything outside of either is viewed with contempt or alarm. Exceptions are Hillsdale, College of the Ozarks, and some (but not all) of the colleges operated by religious institutions.

Frank - September 18, 2015

I wish colleges were balanced – instead of
so very liberal and or progressive. Liberals have been working for years to rewrite our history. Time for Constitution lovers to come forth

Kim Graham - September 18, 2015

Deemphasized? I would take it a step farther than that, we have a rebranded form of communist running most every colleges in our nation today, especially the elite ones. They wrote a book how to do it, when they failed in the 60’s; Rules for Radicals; and now they are infiltrated into government, using Common Core to brainwash kids even younger than 12 with the nonsense.

We even have them in all levels of government today, our leaders lie on a regular basis without any repercussions, they continually withhold, stonewall, deflect and are not trustworthy at all. Very few have any honor or courage; Ted Cruz and Trey Gowdy, try as they might, are among the truly brave, who will actually fight for our constitution, but are ridiculed and ignored, just like the tea party who’s four principles are the core of our nation. They need our help badly to hold accountable this government who is out of control.

I believe our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves, I am surprised their ghosts haven’t risen up to haunt our leaders who allow this to continue unabated; the IRS targeting Americans, the VA killing our Vets, the allowance of radical Islamist supporters into all departments and levels of our government, and top that off with a lawlessness of a president who ignores his limitations and the constitution constantly and consistently.

We have only ourselves to blame; the taxpayers, too busy to stay informed and hold accountable our leaders in and our of our universities. We, as citizens have neglected our responsibility as American Citizens. The sleeping giant is awakening slowly to our new reality, but our kids are suffering because of our naivety that everyone else was guarding the till. The future prospects for our kids is bleak today, although we are now aware, and scared for the future generations, because our university systems, especially the elite institutions (Harvard, Columbia, and the like), is run by believers of rebranded communism, progressive socialism, whatever you want to call it, they are teaching young people the lies only to gain more control of free people.

We have a majority of so called Democrats who are brainwashed and refuse to look at what they have been taught, with any questions of the ‘authoritative’ peddlers, they seem to just follow. They can’t see they have been had and the rebranding is working. The truth is all around them, and our forefathers were so incredible, they knew these days would befall us, and they left us the tools to rectify the situation.

Thank you for educating as many as possible about the constitution and liberty. I am so thankful there are young groups who see the issue so clearly, many of them are banding together; they know truth has no agenda, it does, however take courage, honor and dignity to challenge the new ‘brand’ effectively; just like our founding fathers did back in the day, we must all find our courage and honor again.

8%, faught, just 8%, to give us liberty and freedom we have enjoyed for generations, our country needs our own 8%, and much more, desperately.
You are part of our generation’s 8% and I hope the students of today will understand how important their participation is in ‘the process’. They are our last great hope, and they are the ones who will make the difference; will they allow us to continue down the path to the new brand of communism, or will they lead with us in our tea partying fight, to put our government back into it’s place, and take our freedom and liberty back. I think they will rise up to defend the constitution.

Thank you for everything you do.

Norris Harod - September 18, 2015

People miss that our colleges have digressed from higher learning to soaring salaries for professors who have degenerated from dedicated scholars to ideological elites hell bent on indoctrination of our young. This has occurred with massive increases in student loans to cover soaring college tuition”costs” to elevate the faculty to very wealthy people–and side step the old saying, “those that can’t do, teach”. The evaporation of tens of millions of factory jobs through too high taxes, ridiculous Federal regulations and controls, and insider bills forced more and more “everyday Joe’s” to have to seek college to have any chance of getting work. But not everyone is cut out for college, a white collar, or complicated math and engineering. Toilets still get plugged, houses need wiring, things need to get made, etc. So these skill versus grey matter “technical” jobs are still valuable and essential to our country’s well being. But Socialists (controlling elites) hate Capitalism (individual freedom) and know brainwashing our children is a proven way to win out in the future. It is time to put a stop to all of this, and make “Joe the plumber” a well respected member of the community and seen as a major contributor to our economy again. What do you want your son or daughter to be? Should they sell their soul for college and a job that obliterates real family life, or hang the job up at 5 pm and go home to enjoy and help raise their children? Personally, I grew up happy and well-adjusted in a poor family that was rich in love and family time.

Ron - September 18, 2015

Definitely! American and world history have taken a back seat to taching liberal progressive ideals. It makes me sick to see our traditional values downplayed. It’s those values that brought me to join the Marines, but I hope I didn’t fight in vein.

Bonnie K - September 18, 2015

Not deemphasized but sabotaged and condemned if not ridiculed and ignored.

Ron Mazzucchi - September 18, 2015

Yes I do! Some how this country has to get back to the God and the constitution. otherwise we’re doneIII

Don Van Valkenburgh - September 18, 2015

The Liberals / Progressives have practically overrun our colleges. The Constitution is a mere annoyance to many of them. Heritage, Hillsdale & Liberty U are beacons of hope in the darkness that is progressively (pun intended) overtaking our great nation. Never surrender!

Francis Jones - September 18, 2015

The Constitution seems to be totally irrelevant in the world of higher. We used to get civics and American History High School. Now they get Social Studies!
I am not a fan of required courses but there is a desperate need.

Helen K. - September 18, 2015

Yes, I’ve heard that most colleges accept federal money and are liberal. In our state of PA, the Grove City College doesn’t accept federal money. They teach the Constitutional values. I know this by hearing professors on radio and what they are teaching.

Leslie Feather - September 19, 2015

Absolutely. When my daughter, a staunch conservative, was attending USC and majoring in accounting and International Business, she was alone in her room watching the debates in 2008. Whe she had many friends, her political views separated her from vertually all of her friends. So incredibly proud that she stood her ground in this area

Charles E. Millardcc - September 19, 2015

The influx of liberalism all started back in the early 1900’s when Deweyism became the “vogue” in many higher education institutions. Unfortunately it was never really successfully countered. Now in this century anything that smacks of being based in Christianity is branded by the liberals as being bigoted and narrow-minded.

Stephen Johnston - September 19, 2015

College’s and their lack of respect fore our Constitutional principles ; In my opinion when I talk to college students about the Constitution I find a lack of knowledge concerning their understanding of their Constitutional right’s , as if the Constitution was out dated and sort of silly too discuss in terms of being relevant in our day and age ; Even laughable ! I think our colleges are deliberately trying to destroy our Constitution or make it irrelevant ; Usurping it and replacing it with socialistic values ; In my opinion it seems like it’s elitist and a disservice to the taxpayers and the families of these students that attend these institutions . I also be leave that a lot of these “Professors” should be prosecuted for intentionally indoctrinating our students with a personal agenda in mine too deceive not only our students , but their families , who think that their children are being properly educated in terms of our Constitutional values and principles and what it means too be and American ; This is despicable and at the very least these professors should be fired , but the way these professors go about their deception , leads me too be leave that this is criminal in nature and that’s why they should be prosecuted ; In my opinion these are treasonous crimes because they are destroying the foundations of our Republic through deception , with the intent too destroy our Constitution and our Bill of Rights and take our freedom’s away forever !! And replace it with socialistic principles ; Bricks and mortar !

Dennis Manthorne - September 19, 2015

Our government run school syste, like most government controlled systems, has been a dismal failure. Used mostly as a sounding board and indoctrination tool for liberal ideas. Only patriotic parents and institutions like Hillsdale College teach American history, including the Constution, as a core subject.

Gerald Ling - September 19, 2015

How did we let these institutions get so out of control in their presentations. God help us in our future. Personal freedoms and freedom of speech stops with the learning / teaching process, Teach dont’ indoctrinate.

Pat Smith - September 19, 2015

American History is all but ignored in our schools & colleges! Many young people don’t even know what The Constitution is, or words to Star Spangled Banner; they ignore OUR FLAG, don’t know the significance of
any of the things I’ve mentioned. Our Heritage is becoming obsolete in our OWN country as well as in the world!

William (Bill) Burns - September 19, 2015

While working grassroots for Ted Cruz For President Campaign, I recruited an attorney who said they are taught CASE LAW and precedent,
NOT CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. This shocked me but it also made sense why we have seen a neglect at best, and an attack on the Constitution, at worst.

William (Bill) Burns - September 19, 2015

While working grassroots for Ted Cruz For President Campaign, I recruited an attorney who said they are taught CASE LAW and precedent,
NOT CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. This shocked me but it also made sense why we have seen a neglect at best, and an attack on the Constitution, at worst.

Kathryn Patton - September 19, 2015

Our Constitution and our Republic is a great gift formed by experienced men who lived under a Kings rule. Now look what God has guided these men to bravely crave out for us. In order to maintain what has been so freely fought and died to protect we must continue to be vigilant and honor our Creator (God ) And resist tyranny

Carl Griffin - September 19, 2015

Yea for Hillsdale

Linda Stowell - September 19, 2015

Yes, for sure. I believe that is one of the reasons we are where we are today.

David Taylor - September 20, 2015

Obama started early in his “reign” by brainwashing first-third graders in elementary schools all over the nation. Now nearly 8 years later, these “enlightened” students are spewing out the same Liberal anti-Constitution rhetoric that has been packed in to our youths’ brains by Socialist teachers.

scottkpeterson - September 20, 2015

hillsdale college teaching u s constitution is helpful because SO MANY think they know what it says and do not know what it says!that incudes conservatives like my case manager who thought no right to jury trial in a CIVIL case! I think the Iran nuke deal approval process is unconstitutional(for a treaty) obama HATES us constitution!

Diane Woodard - September 20, 2015

Having been a high school teacher, I am so very dismayed as it appears we don’t even teach American History or the proper use of the English language anymore.It is also my opinion that world history should as well be required as this knowledge would help studentslearn from the past why and how our civilization has come to be presently.
I must say that I also agree with theses other respondents.

Robert McWain - September 20, 2015

It seems to me most instructors are socialist.

Peggy Christensen - September 20, 2015

Not only do they devalue the history of our great nation – from what I’ve heard, they actually “trash & deny” America’s history and those who have bled & died for the freedoms they are so anxious to denigrate. Thank you Hillsdale for teaching the truth about our beloved country and the millions who have fought & died to defend her.

Robert Sonnelitter - September 20, 2015

It does seem that professors at many liberal colleges are teaching their own viewpoints rather than be objective. Students should be guided toward true
critical thinking – which should be the primary objective of a college education.
The idea that the current generation is somehow responsible for past practices such as slavery should not be taught.
It should be pointed out that history shows that freedom and capitalism has led to more economic prosperity than any other system.

Sky Post - September 21, 2015

I don’t think that the US Constitution is even on the radar at 90 plus percent of US colleges. On the other hand the liberal agenda is alive and well at 90 plus percent of US colleges.

Jerry Metcalf - September 21, 2015

Yes The people must wake up our education system has been destroyed.

Henry C. Holder - September 22, 2015

No, the students of high school know nothing of the constitution, financing and take everything for granted.

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