Call for Papers: Undergraduate Journal of American Political Ideas

Compass: An Undergraduate Journal of American Political Ideas is a project of the Tocqueville Forum at Northern Illinois University in partnership with Starting Points. This online journal aims to provide a space for the work of talented undergraduates who have original and well-articulated insights on important ideas and issues relating to American democracy. At Compass, we offer a venue for undergraduate students to publish essays on current American political issues understood in the broad contexts of political philosophy, history, literature, and culture. We encourage submissions from across academic disciplines employing various methods of analysis.

Submitting to Compass

Compass welcomes submissions on a rolling basis. Please submit your essays to Published essays will usually be 1500-2000 words in length. We encourage a lively style that is highly readable. This is a venue to relate original work, whether using interpretive textual analysis, archival work, quantitative findings, comparative historical analysis, or other methodological approaches. However, we ask that these findings not be delivered or expressed in the manner of a term paper to specialist professors but in a more journalistic fashion to a wider audience of readers eager to glean what’s interesting from your findings.

Once you have submitted your essay, the editorial team will work quickly to let you know if your piece will be appropriate for the journal and whether it requires revisions.

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Starting Points

Starting Points is a project of the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. In keeping with the mission of the Kinder Institute, Starting Points aims to foster an understanding of the principles of the American political tradition among academics and citizens in a non-partisan and interdisciplinary manner.

We welcome essays that address the meaning and significance of American principles such as democracy, freedom, equality, rights, the rule of law or constitutionalism, either in themselves or as they appear in particular texts and contexts, as well as essays that address the conjunction of these principles with present or past American practice. We also welcome essays in a comparative or international relations vein that shed light on American principles and their practical application. The journal strives to reflect a wide variety of approaches to this general topic, including those characteristic of history, political science, philosophy, law, literature, and cultural studies.

Submissions should be 1,500 to 2,000 words, and should not contain any footnotes or bibliography. All citations should be either integrated into the body of the text or included as embedded links. Please see previously published articles for examples of style and for a sense of our topical range.

Please send all submissions and inquiries to



Compass: An Undergraduate Journal of American Political Ideas