Thursday, June 14, 2018


23 May 2018

Dear Mr. Fitzhugh,

When I first discovered the Review and read some of the past testimonials by published authors, I remember initially doubting how one research paper could transform the lives of their authors and, in some cases, significantly advance research in the fields in which they were written. One author, for instance, described the Review as the "jewel in the crown of American education." When I first read laudatory remarks like these, I adopted the opinions of other outsiders. That is, that The Concord Review is inherently elitist since it only accepts 5% of submissions and therefore fails to cater to the public good since it is reserved to a coterie of authors.

But once I began my research on Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, and once my priorities shifted from publication in the journal as a resume booster to publication in the journal as a platform to share my findings with other scholars, I suddenly realized that the point behind a selective academic journal is to showcase the best of us (high school scholars). The competitiveness of the journal is not so much to create barriers for future historical talent as it is to create bridges that connect aspiring historians to the accomplishments of their peers. In effect, The Concord Review is a "jewel in the crown of American education," not because your submission's acceptance affords you a prestigious status in college admissions. Rather, it is because it inculcates within you a belief in your own sense of human agency, a belief that with a devotion to your research, you can advance our generation's understanding of history. To me, that experience is what makes publication in the Review priceless and is what draws college admissions committees to these published authors. 

Speaking of college, I must share with you some of my results from this past application season. Thanks to my publication in the Review, I was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. However, because the University did not offer me enough financial aid, and given that I intend on pursuing graduate studies, I have decided instead to enroll at the University of Virginia.

While there, I plan on continuing to cultivate my interests in academic research and hope to publish my first book in the fall of 2020. This book, which I will begin to research for this summer at my local university's library, will be entitled, A Call for Conservatism: Redefining an Ideology for the 21st Century. In effect, my book seeks to answer the following crucial question: because the Republican Party has disparaged its conservative principles in favor of the alt-right populism of Mr. Trump, how should conservatism redefine itself after Trump leaves office? I plan on using my knowledge of American political history—especially during the Civil War—as a means to springboard my dive into contemporary American politics.

So as you can see, my time at UVA will be quite busy with research and leaving my own indelible mark on Grounds. I would like to take this time once again to say thank you not just for publishing my paper on Stanton, but for providing other high school students' work as motivation for me to advance my own intellectual pursuits and craft my own historical scholarship.

Nicholas See
“Edwin McMasters Stanton,” [Fall 2017, 28/1]

Emerson Prize 2018
Metairie Park Country Day School, Class of 2018
Metairie, Louisiana
University of Virginia, Class of 2022

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