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.
A. E. Dick Howard, the White Burkett Miller Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Virginia School of Law, presents a short history of the Constitution and discusses the Supreme Court’s role in the ongoing debate about the separation of church and state.
James I. Robertson, Alumni Distinguished Professor in history at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, re-examines, in Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend, the life and the aura of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Brian DeLay, associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses how the backwater of western Europe emerged from the devastation of the fourteenth century to generate the power, wealth, knowledge, institutions, and energy to initiate and develop a worldwide expansion.
Jill Lepore, Professor of Early American History at Harvard University, draws on scholarship from her book, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, to trace how the meanings attached to this brutally destructive war have changed as the attitudes about historical actors and the political pressures on those actors have changed.