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"The Government Department at William & Mary provides students with opportunities to investigate political phenomena ranging from the behavior of the individual citizen to relations among states in the international arena. The program seeks to develop awareness of the moral and ethical implications of political action as well as understanding of political institutions and processes from an empirical perspective." 1

In 1888, after William & Mary was reorganized, the teaching of government was included in the Department of Moral Science, Political Economy, and Civil Government. President Lyon G. Tyler served as the head of the department. In 1907, according to Warner Moss, government (political science) received a separate listing but it was not until 1920, with the arrival of Professor Robert Kent Gooch, that Government would formally be taught at William & Mary.(Moss) The Marshall-Wythe School of Government and Citizenship was established in 1922, with Professor John Garland Pollard as dean and professor of government.(Moss) It is not until 1943 that the Government Department leaves the Marshall-Wythe School of Government and Citizenship and becomes its own department.

Margaret L. Hamilton was the Chair of the Department of Government from 1973-1978 and she also acted in that capacity in 1968-1969, making her one of the first women department chairs at William & Mary.(BOV resolution marking her retirement, April 25, 1986) Margaret L. Hamilton's appointments: Acting Assistant Professor of Government, 1953-1955; Assistant Assistant Professor of Government, 1955-1964; Associate Professor of Government, 1964-1969; Professor of Government, 1969-1986; Professor of Government, Emerita, 1986.

The Department of Government has been located in Boswell Hall since 1973.


  • Department of Government Webpage
  • Warner Moss, "Government at William & Mary," Alumni Gazette 9.2 (1941): 10-11, 25-27. University Archives Subject File, Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library, William & Mary.


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A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.