For our first live web chat for Affiliate Schools, Fordham University historian Saul Cornell joined Gilder Lehrman Institute President James Basker to discuss constitutional history and the modern-day implications of dissent in the early republic.
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."
Ira Berlin, Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Maryland, describes how the complex interplay of regional and generational factors shaped the development of slavery in the antebellum United States.
Ron Chernow presents the full sweep of Alexander Hamilton’s dramatic life and achievements and makes the case that Alexander Hamilton was the most influential American who never attained the presidency.
Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities and Director of the American Studies Program at Columbia University, Andrew Delbanco examines the evolution of the American Dream--the idea that anyone may rise above his or her station, regardless of birth. Beginning with the Puritans, Professor Delbanco traces the origins of the American Dream from the Calvinist fire-and-brimstone of Jonathan Edwards, to the swelling optimism of Emerson and Melville, to the present day.
Joseph J. Ellis, Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, discusses his Pulitzer Prize–winning book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, explains the emergence of the men who led the Revolutionary War and created the new nation, and delves into the four criticisms modern society lays at the door of the Founding Fathers.