Gleaves Whitney

About Gleaves Whitney

Gleaves Whitney is Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. He is the director of Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. Mr. Whitney has written, edited, or contributed to several books, including John Engler: The Man, the Leader & the Legacy, American Presidents: Farewell Messages to the Nation, and the revised edition of Russell Kirk’s The American Cause.

Presidential Farewell Addresses

By |2017-03-29T01:12:34-05:00January 10th, 2017|Categories: Barack Obama, George Washington, Gleaves Whitney, Presidency|

Presidential farewells constitute a great American conversation among the nation’s chief executives and open our view onto a large and detailed panorama of the past… Farewell, Mr. President Tonight, Tuesday, January 10, 2017, Barack Obama will deliver his farewell address to the nation. The occasion will be only the tenth time in U.S. history that [...]

The Education of a President

By |2017-02-23T00:24:34-05:00December 2nd, 2016|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Classical Education, Education, Featured, George Washington, Gleaves Whitney, History, Liberal Learning, Presidency|

The lack of schooling in the formation of one of every four U.S. presidents underscores the paradox that even the most humble among them were often great champions of education in general and of the liberal arts in particular… Can the liberal arts prepare citizens for leadership? Most of us in higher education want [...]

Our Age of Anxiety: Surviving Political Realignment

By |2016-12-28T07:45:18-05:00October 17th, 2016|Categories: Democracy, Democracy in America, Featured, Gleaves Whitney, Information Age, Politics, Presidency, Technology|

In 2016 Americans are feeling anxious. It’s not that we are experiencing crises—we are neither in total war nor economic depression. Yet 2016 has forced us to rethink all we thought we knew. A Socialist made a credible run for the Democratic nomination and succeeded in moving the Democratic Party platform farther left than [...]

The Swords of the Imagination: Russell Kirk’s Battle With Modernity

By |2018-10-11T17:08:24-05:00December 14th, 2015|Categories: Conservatism, Featured, Gleaves Whitney, Imagination, Modernity, Russell Kirk, Timeless Essays|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to fight the battle with modernity, as we journey with Gleaves Whitney in his exploration of Russell Kirk’s vision of the imagination. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher “Imagination rules the world,” Russell Kirk used to say.[1] He meant that imagination is a force that [...]

The Conservative Mind at 60

By |2014-01-28T18:34:26-05:00January 28th, 2014|Categories: Gleaves Whitney, Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind|

Speaking about The Conservative Mind on the book’s sixtieth anniversary, Gleaves Whitney explains why Russell Kirk chose Edmund Burke as his book’s central figure. Kirk believed that Burke understood the fragility of civilization and knew that free peoples will have both parties of innovation and conservation. How our culture appropriately balances the will of the two will [...]

Progressives & Conservatives: Is There Common Ground?

By |2017-03-08T13:36:10-05:00May 17th, 2013|Categories: Conservatism, Gleaves Whitney, Liberalism, Political Philosophy, Politics, Progressivism|

Common Ground between Whom? A lot of people are skeptical about what the Hauenstein Center is trying to do. Seriously now: common ground between conservatives and progressives? Each camp has been telling me how much it can’t stand the other. In popular culture, conservatives regard progressives as arrogant, woolly-minded, and un-American; progressives see conservatives [...]

The Swords of Imagination: Russell Kirk’s Battle With Modernity

By |2014-03-10T17:56:12-05:00December 31st, 2012|Categories: Books, Gleaves Whitney, Imagination, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Modernity, Russell Kirk|Tags: |

“Imagination rules the world,” Russell Kirk used to say.[1] He meant that imagination is a force that molds the clay of our sentiments and understanding.[2] It is not chiefly through calculations, formulas, and syllogisms, but by means of images, myths, and stories that we comprehend our relation to God, to nature, to others, and to the [...]

Decadence and Its Critics

By |2018-05-29T12:16:59-05:00November 14th, 2012|Categories: Culture, Featured, Gleaves Whitney, Modernity, Western Civilization|Tags: , |

Through the ages the death of civilizations, no less than the death of human beings, has fascinated unnumbered observers of the human condition. For those who seek examples of civilization’s perdurability, the historical record is not reassuring. After all, what is Sumeria today but eroding ziggurats on the plain of Shinar? What remains of [...]

American Founding–John Adams (Part 3)

By |2019-05-02T13:17:18-05:00August 4th, 2011|Categories: American Founding, Character, Education, Gleaves Whitney, Happiness, Leadership, Religion, Virtue|Tags: , |

Why the Fame? Given John Adams’s liabilities–his prickly personality, several career setbacks, and the inconvenient fact that his presidency was shoehorned between that of eminent Virginians–it is hardly surprising that his revival came so late–200 years after his retirement from public life. I’d argue that it is not justifiable to give all the credit [...]

The Founders and Happiness

By |2019-04-15T19:12:16-05:00August 3rd, 2011|Categories: American Founding, Gleaves Whitney, Happiness, Natural Rights Tradition, Virtue|

It was Thomas Jefferson and America’s founding generation that set culture on a new course when they declared that all human beings had the inalienable right to the “pursuit of happiness.” It has been said that that phrase in the Declaration of Independence has done more to shape the sensibilities of the modern age [...]

American Founding — John Adams (Part 2)

By |2019-05-02T12:54:41-05:00July 4th, 2011|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Gleaves Whitney, John Adams, Leadership|

John Adams has finally gotten the fame he craved, but it was a long time coming over a rough road. Already as a young man he tortured himself thinking about a future without fame. Historians don’t need to speculate on this point because he and his wife Abigail seemed to write down everything. Because of the thousands [...]