Revolution and Rebellion

When Justice Opposes Law

July 24–30, 2022 | Annapolis, MD

At the beginning of Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, he tells us that war between Athens and Sparta was “inevitable.” What makes war inevitable? “When in the Course of human events,” the Declaration of Independence begins, “it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…” Why do we describe some wars—and some ideas—as revolutionary? What happens when justice and law are not aligned? The concept of “revolution” has social, political, and scientific dimensions that stretch back to the Ancient Greek ideas about philosophy, government, and even mathematics. We will explore these ideas from the distant past and how they influenced both American and European perspectives of the American Revolution.

Sample readings include Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Rousseau’s Social Contract, Tolstoy’s Hadji Murad, Ptolemy’s Almagest, Copernicus’ On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres, the US Declaration of Independence, Paine’s The American Crisis, and speeches by Edmund Burke and Frederick Douglass.

General Information About Camp

Summer Academy Students Talking St Johns College Annapolis

Classes and Readings


  • Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Revolution at Corcyra
  • Rousseau, The Social Contract
  • Tolstoy, Hadji Murad


  • Ptolemy, Almagest
  • Copernicus, On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres


  • Edmund Burke, Speech on Conciliation with Colonies
  • Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence
  • Thomas Paine, The American Crisis
  • Frederick Douglass, The Hypocrisy of American Slavery

Example Workshops

Croquet, Swing Dancing, Painting/Drawing

Example activities

Visits to the Supreme Court of the United States and Annapolis State House

Summer Academy in Annapolis

At the St. John’s College Summer Academy, the community formed among students is a natural extension of the friendships and ideas formed in the classroom. To this end, Summer Academy students experience life at St. John’s by taking lessons in croquet, swing dancing, sailing, and choral singing. Students’ conversations about justice, nature, and law will continue as they are taken on a tour of the Maryland State House and attend a performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest by the Annapolis Shakespeare Company.