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Barry Shain

Barry Shain

Professor of Political Science
Political Science, 124 Persson Hall
p 315-228-7965


  • BA San Jose State University, 1973
  • BA, San Francisco State University, 1981
  • MPhil (1985), PhD (1990), Yale University


American political thought (especially that of the founding periods), modern western political philosophy, enlightenment political thought, problems of modernity, and the theory of classical republicanism and contemporary communalism


  • American political thought, primarily of the late-18th century
  • Modern political philosophy, in particular, the development of natural rights language and constitutionalism in the early-modern period
  • Political theology, the relationship between Protestantism and Catholicism, and the rise of individualism
  • Natural and international law, emphasis on early-modern theorists
  • American political culture, the politics of contemporary science, agrarian localism and populism, and contemporary conservatism


  • "Eighteenth-Century Religious Liberty: The Founding Generation’s Protestant-Derived Understanding," in the Oxford Handbook on Church and State in the United States, ed. Derek H. Davis, 42-74. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • "The American Founding," in the Encyclopedia of Political Theory, ed. Mark Bevir, vol. 1: 17-22. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2010.
  • "Declaration of Independence [in Supreme Court Decisions]," Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, ed. David S. Tanenhaus, vol. 2: 13-15. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2009.
  • "Harry Jaffa and the Demise of the Old Republic." Modern Age 49 (Fall 2007): 476-89.
  • The Nature of Rights at the American Founding and Beyond, ed. Barry Alan Shain. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007.
  • "Individualism," in Encyclopedia of Politics and Religion, ed. Robert Wuthnow, vol. 1: 415-22. Revised second ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 2006.
  • "Understanding the Confusing Role of Virtue in The Federalist: The Rhetorical Demands of Two Audiences," in The Many Faces of Alexander Hamilton: The Life and Legacy of America's Most Elusive Founding Father, ed. Douglas Ambrose and Robert W. T. Martin, 134-64. New York: New York University Press, 2006.
  • "Varieties of Conservatism." Modern Age 44 (Winter 2002): 48-51. Special issue, "Is Religious Faith a Necessary Ground for Conservatism?"
  • Man, God and Society: An Interpretive History of Individualism. The John M. Olin Programme on Politics, Morality & Citizenship.  The Institute of United States Studies.  University of London, 2000.
  • "Liberty and License: The American Founding and the Western Conception of Freedom," in Vital Remnants: America's Founding and the Western Tradition, ed. Gary Gregg II, 211-42. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 1999.
  • "American Community," in Community and Tradition: Conservative Perspectives on the American Experience, ed. George W. Carey and Bruce Frohnen, 39-62.  Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1998.
  • Myth of American Individualism: The Protestant Origins of American Political Thought.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.  Third reprinting with corrections, 1996.


  • Forgotten Patriots by Edwin G. Burrows. Journal of Presbyterian History 88 (Fall/Winter 2010): 78-79.
  • Colonial American Origins of Modern Democratic Thought by J.S. Maloy. Perspectives on Politics 7 (September 2009): 650-52
  • Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History by James A. Morone. American Historical Review 109 (June 2004): 893-94
  • Case for Conservatism by John Kekes. Modern Age 42 (Summer 2000): 291-96.
  • Religion and the Founding of the American Republic by James H. Hutson. Harvard Divinity Bulletin 28 (Summer 1999): 16-18.
  • American Work Values by Paul Bernstein. William and Mary Quarterly 56 (April 1999): 474-76
  • Making the American Self by Daniel Walker Howe.  Journal of American History 85 (June 1998): 234-35
  • Natural Rights And The New Republicanism by Michael Zuckert. American Historical Review 101 (April 1996): 558-59.


"Study in Eighteenth-Century Political Theory: Liberty, Autonomy, Protestant Communalism And Slavery In Revolutionary America." Chair, Joseph Hamburger; Committee, Rogers Smith and David Mayhew

Professional Experience

Member of the Board of Editors for Modern Age and Political Science Reviewer, 2007-2011

Three-time director of Colgate University's Geneva Study Group, 2003-2011

Co-director of Colgate University's Annual Joseph C. Woodford Forum on Critical Social and Political Issues 1998-2003

Executive Board Member of the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies 1991-93


  • National Endowment for the Humanities “We the People” Fellow for the “Understanding of American History and Culture,” 2005
  • Colgate Greek Community Faculty of the Year (co-recipient), 2004
  • Colgate IFC/Panhellenic Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award 2000-2001
  • Director of a 1997 NEH Summer Seminar for School Teachers 1996-97
  • John M. Olin Foundation Fellow in History 1993
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow 1992
  • Doctoral thesis awarded distinction
  • Nominated for the APSA's Schattschneider and Leo Strauss dissertation prizes 1990-92