Itinerary

The inaugural two-week-long Presidential Academy for American History and Civics took place from July 16-30 2006. Participating teachers spent five days in Philadelphia, five days in Gettysburg, and four days in Washington, DC. They were surrounded by the fabric of our past, all the while thinking through the words penned in the documents, the choices made, and the meaning they hold for our common citizenship. Below you will find links to the audio from the sessions held during the Academy. You may listen to them individually or you may wish to subscribe to the 2006 Presidential Academy podcast which will enable you to download the entire series at once.

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Philadelphia
Theme: The Birth of American Self-Government

Primary Text: The Declaration of Independence
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…"

July 16, 2006


Overview
(19:59)


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7:00 pm – 7:30 pm:
Presidential Academy Overview with
Dr. Peter W. Schramm


Flannery
Seminar

(44:12)


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Morel
Seminar

(47:41)


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7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Session 1
Seminar with Professors Flannery and Morel

Topic: "Apple of Gold": The Centrality of the Declaration of Independence in American Political Life

Focus: Why is it important to understand the Declaration of Independence? What does the Declaration say, and why and how does it say it? What does the Declaration not say, and why and how does it not say it? What is the significance of Jefferson's draft of the Declaration? What does the Declaration mean, and what does the Declaration not mean?

Readings:


July 17, 2006


Seminar
(1:28:03)


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9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 2
Seminar with Professor Flannery

Topic: The American Mind: Part I

Focus: Thomas Jefferson wrote that in drafting the Declaration of Independence he meant to give expression to "the American mind." What does the Declaration tell us about the American mind as it related to the foundations, forms, and purposes of the newly sovereign United States? What is the political logic of the argument of the Declaration? What is the philosophical and historical heritage on which the Declaration draws? Reflections on the course of human events, people, the laws of nature and of nature’s God, decent respect for the opinions of mankind, self evident truths, equality, rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, consent, prudence, the ends of government, the right to abolish government and institute new government, facts submitted to a candid world, sacred honor, and more.

Readings:


Seminar
(1:28:31)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 3
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: The American Mind: Part II

Focus: The political logic of the argument of the Declaration, continued: Further reflections on the course of human events, people, the laws of nature and of nature’s God, decent respect for the opinions of mankind, self evident truths, equality, rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, consent, prudence, the ends of government, the right to abolish government and institute new government, facts submitted to a candid world, sacred honor, and more.

Readings:


Guest
Lecture

(49:57)


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4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Session 4
Guest Lecture with Dr. David Hackett Fischer

Topic: The Revolutionary Era

Focus: How did the American colonists define liberty and freedom as they sought to secure their independence from mother England? During the Revolutionary War, what difficulties did the Americans face in fighting for liberty while maintaining the supremacy of civilian over military authority?

Readings:

  • Fischer, Washington's Crossing


Guest
Lecture

(1:30:30)


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7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Session 5
Guest Lecture with Dr. Gordon Lloyd

Topic: The Constitutional Convention, Part I – The Alternative Plans

Focus: Of what significance were the rules adopted by the Convention? In what respects did the Virginia Plan represent a new constitution rather than a mere revision of the Articles? What were delegates' initial reactions and questions concerning the Virginia Plan? What parts of the Plan were rejected or amended? What did the delegates mean when they spoke of a national government as opposed to a federal government? What different principles animate the New Jersey and Virginia Plans and the Hamilton Proposal? Why were they even introduced? What are the arguments for representation of the states, as opposed to the people, in the federal government? Consider the discussions of the executive power, bicameralism, and the role of the judiciary in the context of "republican principles." What do "republican principles" say about the sources of power, the powers, and the structure of the federal government? Is Madison’s extended republic argument a departure from republican principles?

Readings:


July 18, 2006


Guest
Lecture

(1:14:21)


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9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 6
Guest Lecture with Dr. Gordon Lloyd

Topic: The Constitutional Convention, Part II – The Connecticut Compromise

Focus: What accounts for the persistence of the New Jersey Plan supporters despite their defeat earlier? What are the arguments against the "legality" and "practicality" of the Amended Virginia Plan? When and how did the Connecticut Compromise emerge as a viable alternative? How did the "partly national, partly federal" concept enter the discussion? Why did Madison argue that the issue facing the delegates was not small states vs. large states but the slavery question? What is the significance of who was elected to the Gerry Committee? Who changed their minds and why during this month long discussion over representation? Who favored and who opposed the Connecticut Compromise? What else, besides the representation issue, was discussed during this part of the Convention?

Readings:


Guest
Lecture

(1:27:48)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 7
Guest Lecture with Dr. Gordon Lloyd

Topic: The Constitutional Convention, Part III – The Committee of Detail Report and the Close of the Convention

Focus: Who was elected to the Committee of Detail and what has been their position so far with respect to the republican and federal issues? How does the Committee on Detail Report differ from the original and amended Virginia Plans and what significant recommendations did it make? Who was elected to the Slave Trade Committee and what had they said about slavery up to that point? How did the slavery provisions undergo changes during the deliberations?

Readings:


July 19, 2006


Seminar
(1:36:16)


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9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 8
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: The Constitution and American Self-Government

Focus: How does the Constitution work? How do constitutional means produce constitutional ends? How do the principles of the regime work their way into the mechanisms of the federal government? What role does public opinion play in constitutional self-government?

Readings:


Seminar
(1:15:21)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 9
Seminar with Professor Flannery

Topic: The Proposed Constitution of 1787 and Its Defense in The Federalist Papers

Focus: What is the structure of the argument of The Federalist? What improvements in "the science of politics" did Publius think necessary to make the republican form of government defensible? What is Federalist 10's republican remedy for the problem of faction? What are the defects of the Confederation, according to Publius? Why is there "an absolute necessity for an entire change in the first principles of the system"? What "inducements to candor" and to the "spirit of moderation" does Publius present in Federalist 37-38? What were the difficulties "inherent in the very nature of the undertaking referred to the [constitutional] Convention"? What are (some of) the ingredients of republican government? Of good government? How is the proposed government both federal and national according to Publius in Federalist 39? How, in Federalist 40, does Publius answer the question of "how far the conventions were authorized to propose such a government"?

Readings:


July 20, 2006


Seminar
(1:30:57)


Click Here to Listen

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 10
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: The Federalist Papers – The Sum of Power and the Separation of Powers

Focus: Outline Federalist 41-46 and 47-51. What is "delicate" about the two questions raised at the end of Federalist 43? "The time has been when it was incumbent on us all to veil the ideas which this paragraph exhibits. The scene is now changed, and with it, the part which the same motives dictate." What does Publius mean by this last sentence in the penultimate paragraph of 43? What articles and clauses of the Constitution are discussed in 43 and 44? How, in Federalist 43, does Publius defend the Convention's proposal to supersede the Confederation "without the unanimous consent of the parties to it"?

Why, in the American representative republic, should the people "indulge all their jealousy and exhaust all their precautions" against the legislative branch? What are Publius' criticisms of Thomas Jefferson's suggestions for maintaining the separation of powers? Why does Publius think that it is necessary to have the "prejudices of the community" on the side of even the most rational government?  What kinds of prejudices is he thinking of? "[I]t is the reason of the public alone that ought to controul and regulate the government. The passions ought to be controuled and regulated by the government." How does Publius reconcile this principle with the republican principle that government "derives all its powers directly or indirectly from…the people"? Why would "an extinction of parties necessarily [imply] either a universal alarm for the public safety, or an absolute extinction of liberty"? What is the principle of separation of powers? What is the greatest threat in the American republic to separation of powers, and why is this the greatest threat?

Readings:


Seminar
(1:25:58)


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10:50 am – 12:30 pm: Session 11
Seminar with Professor Flannery

Topic: The Federalist Papers – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches

Focus: What qualities did Publius expect or take for granted in the American people who would be living under the proposed new constitution? In what ways was the constitution a response to these qualities? What qualities did Publius expect in the people who would serve respectively in the House of Representatives, the Senate, the office of President, and the Supreme Court? How did the functioning of each of these branches and of the constitution as a whole involve the operation of these qualities? What are the relations of the composition, powers, mode of selection, and tenure of office of the House of Representatives, Senate, Executive, and Judiciary to the political purposes these offices were meant to serve and to the overall purposes to be served by the constitution? How, in particular, do any of these elements contribute to the effective functioning of the separation of powers?

Readings:


July 21, 2006


Seminar
(1:27:27)


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7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Session 12
Seminar with Professors Morel and Guelzo

Topic: Lincoln and 21st-Century America

Focus: In the face of modern-day critics from both the Right and the Left, does Lincoln still "belong to the ages"?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • Michael Lind, What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President, 191-232, 334-338


July 22, 2006


Seminar
(1:31:36)


Click Here to Listen

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 13
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: The Rule of Law, Slavery, and the Future of Self-Government

Focus: What is "reverence for the laws" and why does Lincoln think it is so important to "the perpetuation of our political institutions"? Who or what is the "towering genius" that poses the greatest threat to American self-government? What does Lincoln's criticism of "old school" temperance reformers suggest about the proper mode of political debate for a self-governing people? What role does Lincoln believe religion plays in a self-governing society?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided, chaps. 9, 10
  • McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, chap. 5


Seminar
(1:27:59)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 14
Seminar with Professor Guelzo

Topic: Abolitionism and Constitutional Self-Government

Focus: According to Garrison, what is wrong with gradual abolition of slavery? Does he think the Constitution is pro-freedom or pro-slavery? Why does Garrison not endorse political reform as the cure for the nation's ills? What is the key principle that Lincoln proposes for the "fusion" of various political interests into a new party? Contrast Lincoln's approach to eliminating slavery with Garrison's. What does Lincoln mean by comparing America to "a house divided against itself"? What is Frederick Douglass's view of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? Does he view blacks in the United States as Americans? What do blacks in America need to flourish as human beings and as citizens? Why is Lincoln not an abolitionist?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided, chaps. 7-8
  • Diana Schaub, "Frederick Douglass's Constitution"


Seminar
(1:30:14)


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4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Session 15
Seminar with Professor Guelzo

Topic: Lincoln Confronts Stephen Douglas's Popular Sovereignty

Focus: What does Stephen Douglas mean by "popular sovereignty"? Why does Lincoln view the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 as a reversal of American policy towards domestic slavery? How does "indifference" about the spread of slavery amount to "covert real zeal" for its spread? How does Lincoln justify previous national compromises with slavery? What is Lincoln's definition of self-government and how does it inform his political rhetoric and policy proposals? What is Lincoln's definition of democracy? What role does Lincoln think the Declaration of Independence plays in contemporary political practice? Why does Lincoln advise against a Republican call for repeal of the fugitive slave law? What connection does Lincoln make between liberty, union, and the Constitution?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • Jaffa, Crisis of the House Divided, Epigrams, p. 15, and chaps. 3, 4
  • McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, chap. 6


Seminar
(1:41:41)


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7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Session 16
Seminar with Professor Guelzo

Topic: Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

Focus: Contrast Lincoln's understanding of the relation between public opinion and political rule with that of Stephen Douglas. What does Douglas mean by "diversity" and how does he use it to attack Lincoln's alleged doctrine of "uniformity"? Why does Douglas think Lincoln is wrong to criticize the Dred Scott opinion? How does Lincoln answer Douglas's charges? What does Lincoln mean by the "moral lights" of the community? In the second debate, how does Lincoln force Douglas into a quandary regarding popular sovereignty and support for the Dred Scott opinion? (See Douglas's argument about "unfriendly legislation.") In the seventh debate, what is Lincoln's understanding of the Founders' views regarding slavery? How does Lincoln show that the rhetoric of Douglas makes him a kind of abolitionist in practice?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:


July 23, 2006


Guest
Lecture

(1:57:57)


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1:00 pm – 3:00 pm: Session 17
Guest Lecture with Dr. James M. McPherson

Topic: The Causes of the Civil War

Focus: Why did the South secede? Why did secession lead to war? For a half century the northern, free states coexisted politically in the same nation with southern, slaveholding states. Why and how did that national structure fall apart in the 1850s? Was this breakdown inevitable, or could wiser political leadership have prevented it? Why did the election of Abraham Lincoln as president precipitate the secession of seven lower-South states? Why did both sides prefer war to compromise? Could this terrible war have been avoided? Could the positive results of the war (Union and freedom) have been achieved without war?

Readings:

  • James M. McPherson, "What Caused the Civil War?," North and South, IV (Nov. 2000), 12-22, and response to this article in subsequent issues of North and South.
  • Hans L. Terfousse, The Causes of the Civil War, 91-125 (excerpts from Ramsdell, Potter and Current).
  • Charles B. Dew, "Apostles of Secession," North and South, IV (April 2001), 24-38.


July 24, 2006


Seminar
(1:32:45)


Click Here to Listen

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 18
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: The Rights and Wrongs of Secession

Focus: What reasons did Southern secession commissioners give for seceding from the Union? What reasons did Alexander Stephens give in defense of the Southern Confederacy?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, chap. 8
  • Mackubin Thomas Owens, "The Case Against Secession"


Seminar
(1:24:59)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 19
Seminar with Professor Guelzo

Topic: Lincoln's Election, Secession, and the Civil War

Focus: As Lincoln recounts the early history of the federal government, what authority did it exercise over slavery? What problems do southerners have with the Republican Party, and how does Lincoln respond to their charges? Why does Lincoln claim that the southern disposition during the 1860 election year was to "rule or ruin in all events"? What is his advice to Republicans as they face opposition over the slavery controversy? In his address to the New Jersey Senate, why does Lincoln call the American citizenry God's "almost chosen people"? What is Lincoln's declared agenda as the incoming president? Why does he think secession unjustified and illegitimate? What is Lincoln's view of the authority of the Supreme Court? What does Lincoln mean by "the better angels of our nature"? How does Lincoln think the country can avoid civil war?

Readings:


Seminar
(1:26:40)


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4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Session 20
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: Lincoln and Civil Liberties

Focus: Lincoln claimed to be fighting a war that would lead to "a new birth of freedom," yet some claim he violated civil liberties on an unprecedented scale. How can a war for liberty be reconciled with such violations of civil liberties? Were the steps he took during the war constitutional? Why or why not? Compare and contrast Taney's opinion in ex parte Merryman and Lincoln's apologia in his letter to Erastus Corning and the New York Democrats.

Readings:


July 25, 2006


Seminar
(1:37:19)


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9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 21
Seminar with Professor Guelzo

Topic: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation

Focus: The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave under the authority of the Federal government, e.g., the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware, or Missouri. What did it accomplish? What did Frederick Douglass think about the Emancipation Proclamation at the time and then in retrospect? On emancipation, Lincoln moved too slowly for the radicals and abolitionists and too fast for the Democrats. How would you assess Lincoln's actions?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • Lucas E. Morel, "Forced into Gory Lincoln Revisionism"
  • Don E. Fehrenbacher, "Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln & the Negro"
  • James M. McPherson, "The 'Glory' Story"


Seminar
(1:24:07)


Click Here to Listen

10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 22
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: "A New Birth of Freedom" and Lincoln's Re-Election

Focus: Why does Lincoln call "all men are created equal" a "proposition" instead of a "self-evident truth"? How does he see the Civil War as a test? What does he define "dedication" and why does Lincoln depreciate what was said at the Gettysburg dedication? What is "the great task" that remains for the American people? What is the "new birth of freedom" he calls the nation to experience?

What are Lincoln's objectives as the newly re-elected president? Why emphasize that both sides tried to avoid war? Why is there no explicit mention of the South as the cause of rebellion in the Second Inaugural Address? According to Lincoln, who or what was the cause of the Civil War? Why does he appeal to God's judgment to discern the meaning of the Civil War? How does the Second Inaugural Address forge a connection between America's past and America's future? In other words, why does Lincoln use his Second Inaugural Address to explain the meaning of the preceding four years?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Reading:

  • Lucas E. Morel, Lincoln's Sacred Effort, chaps. 2 (Gettysburg Address) and 5 (Second Inaugural)
  • Michael P. Vorenberg, "A King's Cure, A King's Style: Lincoln, Leadership, and the Thirteenth Amendment"


Seminar
(1:23:23)


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4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Session 23
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: Frederick Douglass – Reconstruction and the Future of Black Americans

Focus: How did Douglass answer the question, "What Country Have I?" What was his critique of the emigrationist position? What was the basis for his greater optimism about race relations in America? Just as Douglass was the leading figure in the fight to secure the natural right to liberty for blacks in America, he was the leading figure in the post-war struggle to secure civil rights for African-Americans. Why does Douglass favor justice ("fair play") over charity ("benevolence") for black Americans? Why does Douglass counsel black Americans against "race pride"? Why does Douglass consider "the Negro problem" a misnomer for "the nation's problem" and how does this affect the kind of solutions proposed to help black Americans? What was his critique of the emigrationist position? Does he believe in black reparations? If color prejudice is the bane of black Americans, what principles and policies does Douglass propose to eliminate it from American society?

Readings:


July 26, 2006


Seminar
(1:09:25)


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7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: Session 24
Seminar with Professors Morel and Kesler

Topic: The Modern Era Confronts the American Founding

Focus: What did the American founding and Civil War look like to politicians and public intellectuals at the start of the 20th century?

Readings:


July 27, 2006


Seminar
(1:19:11)


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2:15 pm – 3:45 pm: Session 25
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois

Focus: What did Washington believe were the most urgent priorities for blacks at the close of the 19th century? On what issues was Washington prepared to compromise and why? What were the goals of Washington's program and how did these differ from the recommendations of W.E.B. Du Bois? Why does Du Bois seek to "conserve" the races? How would "the conservation of the races" help the future of the Negro race as well as the future of world civilization? What principles of the American regime appear to run counter to Du Bois's emphasis on "race organizations" and "race solidarity"? What does Du Bois mean by the "talented tenth"? Compare Washington and Du Bois on the purpose of education.

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:


July 28, 2006


Seminar
(1:28:46)


Click Here to Listen

9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 26
Seminar with Professor Kesler

Topic: The Progressive Reform and Self-Government

Focus: The Progressives fought for reform at the turn of the century. What principled form did their criticism take of the Declaration, the Constitution, and political decentralization take? They revered Lincoln, yet did not emulate his devotion to the Declaration of Independence, but invoked the preamble to the Constitution to make democracy more active. Jefferson's and Hamilton's views became living arguments again, but with interesting shifts. Self-government was in need of some assistance. What effect did their reforms—for example, direct primaries, initiative, referendum—have on federalism, separation of powers, and political parties? What legacy did the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson in particular, leave the nation?

Readings:


Seminar
(1:39:51)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 27
Seminar with Professor Kesler

Topic: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Democratic Leadership

Focus: The political and constitutional legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt is impressive. What was his extraordinary achievement? In what ways did he improve upon Jefferson's, Lincoln's, and the Progressives' understanding of democratic life and political structures? How did his New Deal envision a powerful, active, and programmatically ambitious national government? How was this related to the possibility of self-government? What is his legacy?

Readings:


Guest Lecture
(1:00:36)


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10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 28
Guest Lecture with Juan Williams

Topic: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP

Focus: What role did Thurgood Marshall play in the Civil Rights Movement? What was his view of the American founding? What was his opinion of contemporary activists for civil rights, like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X?

Readings:


July 29, 2006


Seminar
(1:36:50)


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9:00 am – 10:30 am: Session 29
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: Brown v. Board of Education; Martin Luther King, Jr., Non-Violent Resistance, and the American Dream

Focus: In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court briefly traces the history of public schools in America. How does this help the Court argue against racially segregated schools? What role do legal precedents play in the Court's argument against "separate but equal" schools? What is meant by "intangible considerations" and how does this help the Court establish that the mere act of separating school children by race produces an unequal education? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Court's opinion in Brown? If segregated schools did not produce "a feeling of inferiority" on the part of black children, would these schools be unconstitutional according to Brown?

Why does King reject force as a response to oppression? What is the major concern of the white clergymen who counsel King to stay away from Birmingham? What are the four stages of civil disobedience? How does King's nonviolent resistance against a particular law actually support obedience to the government and laws? Why does King blame white moderates more than fringe elements like the Ku Klux Klan for lack of progress in securing civil rights for black Americans?

Readings:

Supplemental/Optional Readings:

  • W.E.B. Du Bois: Writings–The Crisis, "Marcus Garvey" (Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921), 969-979
  • Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, "Brown's Backlash," 385-440
  • Fairclough, Better Day Coming, chaps. 6-8


Seminar
(1:30:48)


Click Here to Listen

10:50 am – 12:20 pm: Session 30
Seminar with Professor Morel

Topic: Martin Luther King, Jr; Malcolm X

Focus: Does King's proposal for a "Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged" indicate a shift from his earlier vision of the American dream? Does King's advocacy of "compensatory or preferential treatment" look more to race or poverty as its justification? Is the G.I. Bill of Rights a good analogy for King's promotion of a federal, economic program to help blacks and the disadvantaged, generally? What does "black power" mean to King?

How does Malcolm X's theology inform his political thinking? Malcolm X insists that there is no legitimate intermediate position between "the ballot" and "the bullet." He is highly critical of King's reliance on "civil" disobedience. Is he correct? How does his understanding of political action, and particularly the justification for violence, compare to the right of revolution as articulated by John Locke and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence? Why did Malcolm X reject integration as an aim of the civil rights struggle? Why must Black Nationalism be an internationalist movement?

Readings:


Seminar
(1:37:47)


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4:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Session 30
Seminar with Professor Kesler

Topic: The Reagan Era and the New Deal Legacy; George W. Bush's Founding Faith

Focus: Reagan seemed to campaign against Roosevelt's legacy, but delighted in pointing out that he voted for him four times. Yet, he seemed to be interested in cutting back the size of the federal government and making its programs less ambitious. What were his purposes in doing so? Was his failure to cut back the size of government due primarily to Reagan's policies during an era of "divided government," or rather more a reflection of FDR's success?

President Bush seems intent on arguing that his policies, both domestic and foreign, derive directly from the principles of the founding. He argues that self-government needs to be re-invigorated and places emphasis on the obligations of citizenship, and sometimes public spiritedness is difficult. He reminds us that citizenship is not a matter of birth and blood, but rather, "we are bound by ideals," and those ideals have to be learned. Is he right? Are his arguments about the philosophical and historical heritage he appeals to persuasive?

Readings:



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