Gordon S. Wood, the Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, discusses his 2011 essay collection, The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States.
Pauline Maier, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), discusses several aspects of her book American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence. She reveals that the most stirring ideals for us today were an expression of the will of the people and the embodiment of the historical experiences of Americans, rather than the work of a single individual (Thomas Jefferson). She focuses particularly on the meaning and evolution of the phrase, "all men are created equal."