Slavery or Freedom: The Conception of America

National Association of Scholars

How should we teach American history? The New York Times’ 1619 Project and associated curriculum disseminated by the Pulitzer Center teaches a polemical narrative of oppression, shorn of nuance, context, or historical accuracy. Yet, this narrative has had success in persuading minds across the nation and beyond that the "America the exceptional nation" story is wrong, misguided, and fails to tell the whole truth.

How do we, as Americans, reconcile these two narratives? Should we?

This webinar conference addresses how we understand and teach America’s founding: should we place the ideals of liberty or the institution of slavery as the foundation of American history?

The conference was streamed online every day from Monday, September 14th to Friday, September 18th. The online lectures, panels, and events are listed below.

This conference was sponsored by the Alexander Hamilton Institute, The Texas Public Policy Institute, and hosted by the National Association of Scholars.

Download the Conference Proceedings


Schedule

Monday, September 14

10:45 am—Welcome and Opening Remarks:

— Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation

— Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

11:15 am—Opening Address: “The Very DNA of this Country”

—Peter Kirsanow, Partner at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff and current Member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights

3:30 pm — Panel Discussion: Absences from the 1619 Project's History

Moderated by Thomas Lindsay, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Higher Education and Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

— John Stauffer, Professor of English, American Studies, and African American Studies at Harvard University on “The White Abolitionist Tradition”

— Diana Schaub. Professor of Political Science at Loyola University, Maryland, on “Frederick Douglass”

Tuesday, September 15th

11:00 am —The Spirit of the Adams Family

— Susan Hanssen, Associate Professor and Chair of History at the University of Dallas

2:00 pm — Our Founding Ideals

— Paul A. Rahe, Professor of History and Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College

Wednesday, September 16th

11:00 am — Did Slavery Make America Rich?

— Peter A. Coclanis, Albert Ray Newsome Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

2:00 pm — Panel Discussion: Teaching American History

Moderated by Thomas Lindsay, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Higher Education and Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

— Richard A. Johnson III, Director, Booker T. Washington Initiative, Texas Public Policy Foundation

— Robert Maranto, 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

— Jamie Gass, Director of the Center for School Reform, Pioneer Institute

Thursday, September 17th

11:00 am — What Made American Slavery Distinctive?

— Robert L. Paquette, President and Executive Director at The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization

2:00 pm — Panel Discussion: American Ideals

Moderated by Thomas Lindsay, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Higher Education and Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Kevin R. C. Gutzman, Professor of History at Western Connecticut State University, on “Who was the Declaration For?”

Jason Ross, Professor of Political Science of Helms School of Government at Liberty University, on “Was the Constitution Written to Protect Slavery?”

Joseph Fornieri, Professor of Political Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, on “Did Lincoln Oppose Black Equality?"

Friday, September 18th

11:00 am — Panel Discussion: Let America Be America Again

Moderated by Thomas Lindsay, Distinguished Senior Fellow of Higher Education and Constitutional Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation

— Cathy Young, Contributing Editor at Reason

— Wilfred Reilly, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Kentucky State University

— Carol Swain, Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University

2:00 pm — Slavery and Liberation: Defying the Power of Legree’s Ghosts

— William B. Allen, Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University, and Emeritus Dean, James Madison College

3:45 pm — Closing Remarks:

— Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives, Texas Public Policy Foundation

— Peter Wood, President, National Association of Scholars

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