Highlights of my Summer Research

The findings of my research focus on my analysis of The Spirit of the Laws in relation to current arguments made by other political scientists. One of the greatest challenges in understanding Montesquieu, is that he makes broad generalizations that seemingly contradict each other, but his examples show the purpose of his statements and indicate that his generalizations are rules that loosely apply to many (if not most) situations.

Some of the highlights of the research I completed include: regime typology, liberty for state vs. booksthe individual, the confederate republic, and commerce as a means for international peace. First, Montesquieu divides regimes in to three categories: republics, monarchies, and despotic states. Second, he distinguishes between liberty as applied to a state and to the individual. Third, he offers a solution to the security of small states by forming alliances to create a confederacy. Finally, he suggests that commerce works to make war less desirable, thus increasing peace internationally.

After this summer, I hope to continue exploring the intricacies that lie within The Spirit of the Laws, but I also realize that I must take a step back from my Montesquieu focused studies to allow room for this upcoming academic year. Still, I know that I will return to great philosophers, like Montesquieu, to serve as the emphasis of my research in the future.

by Charles Moore

A Great Mentor-Mentee Relationship

One of the most vital parts about undergraduate research is having a great relationship with one’s mentor. In order to have a great mentor-mentee relationship, both the mentor and the mentee need to be on the same wavelength. For some people, this type of intellectual socialization comes naturally; for others, this can be difficult. In the time that I have spent working with Dr. Radasanu, it has become increasingly evident that she excels as a mentor.Radasanu-Andrea

My first encounter with Dr. Radasanu was in an interview for an internship offered by the political science department. (I did not receive this internship). However, she did email me to suggest that I take a class she was teaching and to offer me a (department approval only) class that she was co-teaching. Through these classes, I was able to learn the various arguments that Dr. Radasanu presented. Since the classes were so enjoyable (partially from my interest in the subjects, but mainly from in-class discussion facilitated by Dr. Radasanu) I decided that this (Political theory) was the topic I wished to cover for my honors capstone.

As this summer research approaches its end, I am glad of my choice in my mentor. We have met several times to discuss the various sections of the research, from the primary source (Montesquieu) to the secondary sources (articles). Now that the summer is over, the next step will be to take an independent study with Dr. Radasanu in the fall and then work on my capstone in the spring.

by Charles Moore

Connecting my interest in debating to Political Science

Have you ever met someone as stubborn as a rock? So strong of will (bullheaded) that they will argue and argue their point until they’ve won (or rather you’ve simply become annoyed and conceded to let them believe they’ve won). I am one of those people. Debates have always been one of my redeeming and, sometimes, degrading qualities. However, somewhere in life I learned that there is not always a right answer. We argue and argue; yet no concrete answer emerges. Now, instead of holding firm to answers, I hold firm to arguments: their strengths and weakness.

So, why political science? Of all the abstract areas to focus my attention, why this field? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure myself. Somewhere in my education leading to college, I decided that this was the conversation I wanted to be a part of. Locke, Hobbes, Aristotle, Montesquieu, and so many more, are all great thinkers that are studied by political scientists.

The project that I’m working on for my capstone focuses on Montesquieu. His book, The Spirit of the Law, goes beyond borders. From idealism to realism and ancient to modern, researching Montesquieu gives me the oargumentspportunity to think about states in a different way. The connections between nations are becoming stronger and more numerous, and my hope is to learn how these interactions play out in theory, and reality. For theory, we look to history and great thinkers, but for reality, we just have to wait.

by Charles Moore