Published on: March 12th, 2021

Lucas Morel Joins Graduate School of Government as Worsham Teaching Fellow

Will teach special courses on Frederick Douglass and modern civil rights

The Graduate School of Government is proud to have Lucas Morel as our Worsham Teaching Fellow at Hillsdale College’s Van Andel Graduate School of Government in Washington, D.C.  He is teaching two special courses this year – one on the life and writings of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass and another on the modern Civil Rights movement. 

Dr. Morel is a professor in the politics department at Washington and Lee University and specializes in American politics and the life and works of Abraham Lincoln.  His book Lincoln and the American Founding ties Lincoln’s political thought back to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and demonstrates the importance Lincoln put on individual rights.

Last semester, Dr. Morel taught “Special Topics in Statesmanship: Frederick Douglass.”  This course examined how Frederick Douglass’s speeches and writings helped shape the political development of the United States.  The course explored topics from the abolition movement and emancipation to the role of the Declaration of Independence and natural rights. 

Dr. Morel has been a trusted voice on Frederick Douglass for some time.  When Hillsdale College added a statue of Frederick Douglass to the Liberty Walk on Hillsdale’s Michigan campus, Dr. Morel was chosen to give the keynote address. In his speech he said:

“Douglass argued for identifying with America—with the nation founded on “human brotherhood and the self-evident truths of liberty and equality.” He saw that the protection of specific groups or classes would lead government away from protecting individual rights and towards assigning benefits and burdens.  “I know of no rights of race,” he said, “superior to the rights of humanity.”

Dr. Morel is also teaching “Special Topics in American Politics: The Modern Civil Rights Movement.”  This course explores the diverse political theories and activism of influential black Americans in the mid-to-late 20th century.  

Dr. Morel hopes that students gain clarity about how to understand political issues from the vantage point of previous generations of Americans.  He said that reading with humility before the text “promotes a civic moderation sorely in need today.  As citizens, we can maintain our convictions and even partisan opinions but must redouble our efforts to abide by the rule of law while we seek justice.”

Of teaching for the Van Andel Graduate School of Government, Dr. Morel said:

“The students come prepared, have a great desire to dig deeper into topics and figures in American history, and bring earnest questions about how the readings might shed light on contemporary political issues and controversies. I enjoy our discussions and also listening in on their debates with each other.”

Learn more about the curriculum at the Van Andel Graduate School of Government and our faculty.

About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 5.7 million. For more information, visit