American Conservatism Week, sponsored by the Bowdoin College Republicans (BCR), ended yesterday after a series of lectures, film screenings and panels about the meaning of conservatism in the United States.

"We thought it would be really important to spend a week to get the word out about conservatism to encourage people to think about what conservatism means," said co-chair of the BCR John Cunningham '10.

Cunningham also said he hoped to raise awareness of the contributions conservatives make to the political dynamic of the College.

"There is a conservative group on campus. We hold strong, well thought-out views and reasonable beliefs and they are very worth considering," he said.

Sunday's lecture, "Being and Becoming a Conservative," kicked off the week's four events included two conservative faculty members, drawing a crowd of about 35 people.

Professor of Constitutional and International Law and Government Richard Morgan and Professor of Social Sciences and Chair of the Government Department Jean Yarbrough shared their views on conservatism as well as the positions they believed to be most fundamental to conservative ideology.

Co-chair of the BCR Steve Robinson '11 said Yarbrough retold her "political autobiography."

"She talked about being a single mother and the stresses that she was faced with," he said.

These stresses led Yarbrough to make the "transition from being a liberal feminist to a conservative Republican," said Cunningham.

Robinson described Morgan's lecture as more of an analysis of the "conservative disposition" rather than his own personal view of conservatism.

Morgan focused on the idea that "human nature is immutable and very flawed," added Robinson.

Morgan also said it was important that conservatives not "demonize the opposing side," said Tim O'Brien '10.

Though Cunningham believes the "school has not made an effort to get an intellectually diverse faculty," Yarbrough and Morgan are not alone in their conservative political beliefs.

During Sunday night's question and answer session, Professor of Government Christian Potholm, whom Cunningham believes to be conservative, claimed there are a number of conservative Bowdoin professors.

"Potholm said...there are five Republicans. Yarbrough said three. I have no idea who the other two are. We have some guesses but [Morgan, Yarbrough, and Potholm] are the only three obvious ones," said Cunningham.

"Both were bold in speaking their beliefs," despite the negative stigma many Bowdoin students attach to conservatives," said O'Brien.

That negative stigma was an important factor in Cunningham and Robinson's decision to sponsor American Conservatism Week.

"We think that conservatism as a political philosophy is largely misunderstood and vilified," said Cunningham. "We thought it would be really important to spend a week to get the word out about conservatism to encourage people to think about what conservatism means."

"I think it is important for conservatives to get their opinions heard. [American Conservatism Week] is to make sure that people don't just hear caricatures of our beliefs," he said.

Tuesday night featured a screening of "Mine Your Own Business," a film examining the "dark side of environmentalism." According to the Web site, the film seeks to highlight the "unintended consequences of blindly supporting environmentalist/anti-development campaigns across the globe. It is a challenge to the cozy consensus that allows westerners to deny progress to those who need it most."

The screening attracted only three attendees and was less popular than the Sunday or Wednesday night events.

Republican State Senator Peter Mills of Maine spoke on Wednesday evening to a crowd of 20 about his gubernatorial campaign.

Mills, who Robinson called "a proven leader to real Maine people," focused a large portion of his speech on his plans to improve Maine's public schools.

He stressed the need to "measure growth" through standardized testing in order to better Maine's education system. With this change, the "teacher can look at what is going wrong," he said. It allows them to see what they "did well or not," he added.

This larger theme of turning "attention to data," included his recommendation of "getting results publicized" and making the "performance of government transparent."

"The power of information is invaluable," Mills said.

American Conservatism Week came to a close yesterday afternoon with Robinson and Cunningham's panel, "American Conservatism 101."

The goal of the panel was to "address and dispel myths about the ideology."

According to Cunningham, they wanted to "test the validity of [the negative] assumptions" about conservatism.

"We are not trying to force our views down anyone's throats... We are not claiming to be poor little victims either," he said.

"[American Conservatism Week] is a testament to the fact that we have every opportunity to spread our voice," Cunningham added.