The Ashbrook Academies are summer programs designed for rising high school juniors and seniors who share a deep interest in U.S. History, Politics, and Economics. Unlike other courses or programs that tend to erode young Americans’ confidence and proper pride in their country by emphasizing its historical failures, the Ashbrook Academies invite students to consider the American experiment in self-government as a historical triumph, a victory for reason and the human spirit that warrants grateful celebration but also demands serious study. We believe that America’s experiment in self-government has proven exceptional because it is rooted in a series of moral assertions that we call self-evident truths: that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed with natural rights, and that free governments require the consent of the governed. This is the American creed; it defines who we are as a people, and it belongs to all of us.
The Academies will meet in two sessions this coming summer. The Academies on American History will meet from June 17-22, 2019, while the Academy on Political Economy will meet from July 22-24, 2019.
American History Academies
The Academies on American History meet for seven days (June 16-22, 2019) at the Ashbrook Center on the campus of Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. This summer we will be leading two separate academies simultaneously — one that will survey the most important questions that have faced our nation from its founding through the civil rights era and a second that will provide a more focused study of the Civil War era for more advanced students.
Telling America’s Story
During this academy, we will read and discuss dozens of interesting and crucial documents (see the Academy’s syllabus), including the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which together comprise the most elegant articulation of our creed. By the end of the program, students will have acquired a deep understanding of the fundamental principles that define and unite us as Americans. This academy provides a perfect starting point for students interested in digging deeper into American history and government through the use of original documents.
Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War
This academy, intended for more advanced students, will take participants on an in-depth exploration of perhaps the most difficult era in American history, the Civil War.
Through a thorough analysis of the writings and actions of Abraham Lincoln and others, participants in this academy will encounter and discuss the fundamental questions about America that nearly tore it apart during the 1860s. Did the Declaration of Independence promise equality for all? Was the Constitution a pro-slavery or anti-slavery document? Why did Lincoln call the idea that “all mean are created equal” a “proposition” rather than a self-evident truth? What was proven by the outcome of the Civil War?
Though many of the conflicts that caused the Civil War, most notably the institution of slavery, are now resolved in American political discourse, some persist and continue to shape American politics.
Participants in the Academies on American History will receive two elective credits in Political Science from Ashland University that may either be used towards a degree at Ashland or transferred to another institution. These Academies cost $750 which covers all instruction materials, the college credit, room and board (including all meals), transportation to and from a local airport (if necessary), and all daily activities. All participants will be housed in air-conditioned double-occupancy dormitories on the campus of Ashland University.
Political Economy Academy
The Academy on Political Economy meets for three days (July 22-24, 2019) at the Ashbrook Center on the campus of Ashland University.
Commerce and Self-Government in the Founding Era
One of the key values of American citizenship is freedom. What does freedom mean? The purpose of this Academy is to explore this question in light of two important publications in 1776: The Declaration of Independence and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. We often discuss the Founding Fathers’ plan for government in America, but what plans did they make for America’s economic future? How were their economic plans related to the form of government they chose and vice versa? By considering important documents from the American Founding in light of economic arguments that were being advanced around the same time, we will be concerned with understanding the relationship between politics and economics at the Founding and beyond. In doing so, we will keep our focus on the central question of defining American freedom.
Participants in the Academy will receive one elective credit in Political Science from Ashland University that may either be used towards a degree at Ashland or transferred to another institution. The Academy costs $250 which covers all instructional materials, the college credit, room and board (including all meals), transportation to and from a local airport (if necessary), and all daily activities. All participants will be housed in air-conditioned double-occupancy dormitories on the campus of Ashland University.
To apply for any of the Ashbrook Academies, click here and fill out our online application. As part of the application, you will be asked to write a brief essay explaining your interest in the Academy. A letter of recommendation from someone who knows you academically is also required.