American Whig–Cliosophic Society

The American Whig–Cliosophic Society (Whig-Clio) is a political, literary, and debating society at Princeton University and the oldest debate union in the United States.[1] Its precursors, the American Whig Society and the Cliosophic Society, were founded at Princeton in 1769 and 1765 by James Madison, William Paterson, Oliver Ellsworth, and Aaron Burr.

Originally two separate organizations, the American Whig Society and the Cliosophic Society were the primary student organizations at Princeton until the end of the 19th century. Competition from eating clubs, sports teams, and other student activities drew members away from the societies.

Prompted by declining memberships, the societies were merged to form the American Whig–Cliosophic Society in 1928. The organization's modern role is to serve as an umbrella organization for political and debating activity at Princeton, and is Princeton's largest student organization with over 500 members. The Society frequently hosts events open to all Princeton students, as well as to faculty and community members. These include the Society's monthly Senate Debates on topics related to national or campus policy, lectures and discussion dinners with guest speakers, and social events. The Society also oversees four subsidiary groups: the International Relations Council (IRC), Princeton's Model Congress (PMC), Princeton Debate Panel (PDP), and Princeton Mock Trial (PMT).

Christian Schmidt '20 is the Society's current President. Recent past Presidents include Lena Hu '20, Rebekah Ninan '19, Allison Berger '18, Cydney Kim '17, Adam Tcharni '15, Matt Saunders '15, Cara Eckholm '14, Jay Parikh '12, Benjamin Weisman '11, Molly Alarcon '10, Devjoy Sengupta '09, Alec Williams '09, Aaron Spolin '08, Shriram Harid '08, Matthew MacDonald '07, Karis Gong '06, and Andrew Bruck '05.

The American Whig–Cliosophic Society
Clio Hall
TypeStudent debating organization
HeadquartersPrinceton, New Jersey
Parent organization
Princeton University


Samuel Alito official photo
Samuel Alito '72, former captain of the Princeton Debate Panel

Princeton Debate Panel (PDP)

The Princeton Debate Panel competes regularly against teams such as the Oxford Union, the Cambridge Union Society, and the Hart House Debating Club. It competes most frequently in the American Parliamentary Debate Association league, of which it is a founding member, and where it currently holds the record for most Team of the Year (TOTY), Speaker of the Year (SOTY), and Novice of the Year (NOTY) awards.[2] It also won (as of 2018) five National Championships and a record eight National Championship top speaker awards.[3] It also hosted the World Universities Debating Championships three times. Its alumni include Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito,[4] international relations scholar Joseph Nye,[5] and diplomat John Foster Dulles.[6][7]

Princeton Mock Trial (PMT)

Princeton Mock Trial currently ranks among the top 10 mock-trial programs in the nation. It ranked 2nd in the American Mock Trial Association National Championship in 2013 and won the AMTA Regional Tournament held at Princeton in 2008. It annually hosts a Moot Court tournament for high school students from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

International Relations Council (IRC)

Adlai Stevenson II '22, an active member of the Whig Society and later recipient of the James Madison Award. The Princeton Debate Panel's annual collegiate tournament is named in his honor.

In the past half decade, the International Relations Council has grown to become the biggest subsidiary of Whig-Clio in terms of membership. It hosts Sunday weekly meetings for students to discuss international events and developments. It also sponsors two annual international affairs conferences: one for the high school level Princeton Model United Nations Conference (PMUNC) and one for the collegiate Princeton Interactive Crisis Simulation (PICSIM). PMUNC attracts some 1000 high school students from around the world.

Model Congress (PMC)

Currently, Princeton Model Congress offers high school students the opportunity to simulate the experience of serving in Congress, sitting on the bench as a Supreme Court Justice, counseling the Commander in Chief as a member of the Presidential Cabinet or covering the Federal Government in print as a part of the Press Corps. The conference draws approximately 1,200 participants.


Woodrow Wilson Honorary Debate Panel

The Woodrow Wilson Honorary Debate Panel (WWHDP) sponsors and promotes prize debates at Princeton University. Incumbent to this purpose is the goal of not only rewarding but fostering top-caliber debate at Princeton. Annually-held debates and oratory contests include the Lynde Prize Debate, the Class of 1876 Memorial Prize for Debate in Politics, the Maclean Prize and Junior Orator Awards, the Walter E. Hope Prizes in Speaking and Debating, the Spencer Trask Medals for Debating, and the William Rusher ’44 Prize in Debating.

James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service

The James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service is a longstanding tradition and the highest distinction bestowed by the Whig-Cliosophic Society. Past recipients include:

Allen W. Dulles

Current Governing Council

  • President Christian Schmidt '20
  • Vice President Grace Collins '21
  • Director of Program Amy Jeon '21
  • President of the Senate Karthik Ramesh '21
  • Secretary Morgan Smith '21
  • Clio Party Chair Brigitte Harbers '22
  • Whig Party Chair Justin Curl '22

The Governing Council of the Whig-Clio Society is in charge of managing the affairs of the Society. The positions of President, Vice President, Director of Program, President of the Senate, Secretary, and Whig and Clio Party Chairs are elected by all members of the Society to serve 1-year terms. The elected officers also select a corp of appointed officers.

Notably, Tina Ravitz, Class of 1976, was the Society's first female President.

Notable alumni

The Society was founded in 1765 by prominent Princetonians including President James Madison and Vice-President Aaron Burr. Alumni in modern times include President Woodrow Wilson, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz, and Senators Adlai Stevenson and Ted Cruz. A full list of notable Whig-Clio alumni is linked below.

Other historic societies

See also



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External links


Adlai may refer to:

Adlai (biblical figure), the father of Shaphat, and the grandfather of the prophet Elisha

Adlai, West Virginia, unincorporated community, United States

The first name of Adlai Stevenson I, Grover Cleveland's Vice President

The first name of Adlai E. Stevenson II, grandson of the above entry, former Governor of Illinois, and unsuccessful Presidential candidate

The first name of Adlai E. Stevenson III, son of the above entry, and former Senator from Illinois

The first name of Adlai E. Stevenson IV, son of the above entry, business executive and former journalist

The colloquial name of an annual collegiate debating competition held by Princeton University's American Whig-Cliosophic Society as part of the American Parliamentary Debate Association

Job's tears, a grain

Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, Illinois)

Allen Dulles

Allen Welsh Dulles (; April 7, 1893 – January 29, 1969) was an American diplomat and lawyer who became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), and its longest-serving director to date. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the early Cold War, he oversaw the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état, Operation Ajax, the Lockheed U-2 aircraft program and the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Dulles was one of the members of the Warren Commission investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Between his stints of government service, Dulles was a corporate lawyer and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. His older brother, John Foster Dulles, was the Secretary of State during the Eisenhower Administration.

Amherst Political Union

The Amherst Political Union (APU) is a student debating club at Amherst College. Founded in 1939 by Robert Morgenthau '41 and Richard Wilbur '42 and re-founded in the spring of 2010, the club aims to bring speakers on contemporary political thought to Amherst in a nonpartisan and unbiased manner.

Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies

The Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies, commonly known as DiPhi, are the original collegiate debating societies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and together comprise the oldest student organization at the University.

E. Grey Lewis

E. Grey Lewis (1940 - 2005) was a United States lawyer who served as General Counsel of the Navy from 1973 to 1977.

Father Bombo's Pilgrimage to Mecca

Father Bombo's Pilgrimage to Mecca (alternatively titled Father Bombo's Pilgrimage to Mecca in Arabia in variant fragments of the text that survive) is an Orientalist prose satire and picaresque mock-epic coauthored by Philip Freneau and Hugh Henry Brackenridge while both men were juniors at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University).Penned in the autumn of 1770 but not published in its entirety until 1975, Father Bombo is regarded by some to be the first American novel, competing alongside a number of other possible candidates. Father Bombo is a contender "by virtue of its early date, its undeniably native origin and materials," the future literary contributions of Freneau and Brackenridge, and the significant political careers of their College of New Jersey classmates, who included James Madison and Aaron Burr. Madison, in fact, co-founded the American Whig Society with Freneau and Brackenridge in 1769 and was a literary collaborator.The novel survives as one of the literary productions of the 'Paper War,' an exchange of satire that took place between the college's rival literary clubs, The American Whig Society and the Cliosophic Society. [The two organizations would later merge to form the American Whig-Cliosophic Society in the 20th Century.]

A roman à clef, Father Bombo recounts a number of thinly fictionalized events from the Paper War and caricatures Cliosophic Society members, who serve as the novel's absurd characters, including Bombo.

Hugh Henry Brackenridge

Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1748 – June 25, 1816) was an American writer, lawyer, judge, and justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

A frontier citizen in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, he founded both the Pittsburgh Academy, now the University of Pittsburgh, and the Pittsburgh Gazette, still operating today as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Jane Eliza Procter Fellowship

Jane Eliza Procter Fellowships are scholarships supporting academic research at Princeton University. The Fellowships were endowed by William Cooper Procter in 1921-2, and named after his wife, Jane Eliza Johnston Procter (1864-1953). The original terms of the Fellowships were for three awards, "each with an annual stipend of two thousand dollars, upon which each year two British and one French scholar will have the privilege of residence in the Princeton Graduate College, and of pursuing advanced study and investigation". The Fellowships were to be appointed annually on the recommendation of the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the École Normale Supérieure. The Fellowships are now for four visiting students per year, consisting of full tuition and stipend, for "young British and French scholars, one upon recommendation by the University of Cambridge, England; one upon recommendation by the University of Oxford, England; and two upon recommendation made by the École Normale Supérieure". The fellowship funds can be used to support non-degree visiting pre-doctoral or doctoral scholars for one year.

List of American Whig–Cliosophic Society people

This list of notable people associated with the American Whig–Cliosophic Society is made up of former students. Individuals are sorted by category and alphabetized within each category.

List of honors and awards received by Bill Clinton

The list of honors and awards received by Bill Clinton who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Before that, he was Governor of the state of Arkansas, and afterwards he has continued life in the public eye. He received many awards and honors throughout his career.

List of literary societies

A literary society is a group of people interested in literature. In the modern sense, this refers to a society that wants to promote one genre of literature, e.g. the World Science Fiction Society, or a specific writer -- see, for example, the list of poetry groups and movements. Such societies typically engage in research about their chosen author or genre, publishing a newsletter and holding meetings to deliver papers. Some are overtly academic and scholarly; others are more social groups of amateurs who appreciate a chance to discuss their favourite writer with other hobbyists.

Oliver Ellsworth

Oliver Ellsworth (April 29, 1745 – November 26, 1807) was an American lawyer, judge, politician, and diplomat. He was a framer of the United States Constitution, a United States Senator from Connecticut, and the third Chief Justice of the United States. Additionally, Ellsworth received 11 electoral votes in the 1796 presidential election.

Born in Windsor, Connecticut, Ellsworth attended the College of New Jersey where he helped found the American Whig–Cliosophic Society. In 1777, he became the state attorney for Hartford County, Connecticut and was selected as a delegate to the Continental Congress, serving during the American Revolutionary War. He served as a state judge during the 1780s and was selected as a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, which produced the United States Constitution. While at the convention, Ellsworth played a role in fashioning the Connecticut Compromise between the more populous states and the less populous states. He also served on the Committee of Detail, which prepared the first draft of the Constitution, but he left the convention before signing the document.

His influence helped ensure that Connecticut ratified the Constitution, and he was elected as one of Connecticut's inaugural pair of Senators, serving from 1789 to 1796. He was the chief author of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which shaped the federal judiciary of the United States and established the Supreme Court's power to overturn state supreme court decisions that were contrary to the United States Constitution. Ellsworth served as a key Senate ally to Alexander Hamilton and aligned with the Federalist Party. He led the Senate passage of Hamiltonian proposals such as the Funding Act of 1790 and the Bank Bill of 1791. He also advocated in favor of the United States Bill of Rights and the Jay Treaty.

In 1796, after the Senate rejected the nomination of John Rutledge to serve as Chief Justice, President George Washington nominated Ellsworth to the position. Ellsworth was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, and served until 1800, when he resigned due to poor health. Few cases came before the Ellsworth Court, and he is chiefly remembered for his discouragement of the previous practice of seriatim opinion writing. He simultaneously served as an envoy to France from 1799 to 1800, signing the Convention of 1800 to settle the hostilities of the Quasi-War. He was succeeded as chief justice by John Marshall. He subsequently served on the Connecticut Governor's Council until his death in 1807.

Philoclean Society

The Philoclean Society at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey is one of the oldest collegiate literary societies in the United States, and among the oldest student organizations at Rutgers University. Founded in 1825, the society was one of two such organizations—the other being the Peithessophian Society—on campus devoted to the same purpose.

The name Philoclean derives from the Ancient Greek for “lover of glory” from Φιλειν meaning "to love," and κλεος, meaning “glory.”

Philodemic Society

The Philodemic Society is a student debating organization and literary society at Georgetown University. It was founded in 1830 by Father James Ryder, S.J., in whose honor an award is given every Spring at the Merrick Debate. The Philodemic is among the oldest such societies in the United States, and is the oldest secular student organization at Georgetown. The society's motto, "Eloquentiam Libertati Devinctam" reminds its members that they are pursuing Eloquence in Defense of Liberty.Debates are held weekly on Thursdays at 8 p.m. in the Philodemic Room in Healy Hall. In recent years, the Philodemic has taken a more active role in engaging other prominent debating societies on the Eastern seaboard. The Philodemic maintains several intercollegiate friendships, most notably with the Demosthenian Literary Society of the University of Georgia, the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania.

Philomathean Society

The Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania is a collegiate literary society, the oldest student group at the university, and a claimant to the title of the oldest continuously-existing literary society in the United States. Founded in 1813, its goal is "to promote the learning of its members and to increase the academic prestige of the University." Philomathean is derived from the Greek philomath, which means "a lover of learning." The motto of the Philomathean Society is Sic itur ad astra (Latin for "thus we proceed to the stars).

Thomson Francis Mason

Thomson Francis Mason (1785 – 21 December 1838) was a prominent jurist, lawyer, planter, councilman, judge, and the mayor of Alexandria, District of Columbia (now Virginia) between 1827 and 1830.

Union-Philanthropic Society

The Union-Philanthropic (Literary) Society (UPLS) is a college literary society at Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden-Sydney, Virginia.

For over two centuries, the Union-Philanthropic Society has offered Hampden-Sydney a unique forum for discussion. Whether debating the ethics of slavery — in 1810 — or discussing the various views of the historical Jesus — in 1996 — the Society has continually provided the College with an unparalleled source for the oratorical and literary improvement of her sons.

Rather than narrowly focus on a single subject, the Society has long complemented the College's liberal curriculum by addressing topics from a variety of issues. Each week, the Society analyzes a different item from literature, politics, or the arts. The Society's exercises quickly train its members to think clearly, argue coherently, and speak forcefully on any topic.

The Union-Philanthropic is the oldest student organization at the College and the second-oldest literary society in America (the oldest being the American Whig-Cliosophic Society at Princeton University); however the UPLS is the oldest continuously-existing society of its kind in North America. It was founded on September 22, 1789. Edward Henry, the son of Virginia's greatest orator, and William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, were among its early members. Yet the society has never been simply a student organization, and its influence has never stopped at the College gates. Men and women from all backgrounds, from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to Robert E. Lee, have been awarded — and have accepted — honorary membership.

The Union-Philanthropic Society faces the future confident in its traditions but cognizant of the need for innovation. While reinforcing its ancient emphasis on private discussion among its members, the Union-Philanthropic is now exploring new arenas for public discussion, including debates, round-table talks between faculty and students, activities with the women's colleges in the region, and hosting guest lecturers.

Membership in the Society is an honor which is bestowed upon students who demonstrate an interest in public discussion, a thirst for learning, a friendly manner, and good character. The Society summons several men to become members each term.

The Union-Philanthropic Society currently meets in the Brinkley House, a 1920s era home that was previously the residence of longtime Critic and former President of the Society, John L. Brinkley '59. Meetings are held every Sunday evening when classes are in session at 6 o'clock in the evening.

Vincent Schofield Wickham

Vincent Schofield Wickham (1894-1968) was a New York graphic illustrator, painter, sculptor, teacher, and inventor, whose career coincided with the Golden Age of American Illustration. Wickham worked as an editorial artist for the New York Times from 1924-1956. His work included sports illustrations, window displays in Times Square, and promotional posters that were displayed on newspaper trucks. In addition to his job at NYT, he also taught advertising art and layout at Textile Evening High School (now the Bayard Rustin Educational Complex), on 351 West 18th Street.

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