Telling America’s Story
Hilda E. Bretzlaff Academy
Serious education is about pursuing great questions, and the goal of this Academy is to pursue the most important question for us as citizens: namely, “What does it mean to be an American?” To do that, the seminar will immerse you in the study of the ideas and institutions that make Americans who we are.
It is a sound principle of learning that one must begin with what is familiar. We know that there are three documents in American history that most of us are familiar with: the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The Ashbrook Academy is built around these three documents, which illuminate three great epochs in the American story: the birth and definition of American freedom in the 18th century; the great crisis of the American experiment and the “new birth of freedom” in the 19th century; and the fulfillment of the American promise of freedom a century later in the 20th century. While these documents are historically and rhetorically linked with each other by the themes of equality, liberty, and self-government and will be the alpha and the omega of the Ashbrook Academy, we will consider many other documents, deeds, and significant issues in American history. While we will be concerned with understanding the history of our country and with applying its principles to contemporary issues, we will keep our focus on the central question of what it means to be an American.
Where and when
Schedule and Syllabus of Readings
Schedule of events coming soon.