Monthly Archives: March 2015

Gainesville Seminar in American History & Government

On Saturday, March 14th, the Ashbrook Center held another One Day Seminar in American History and Government in Gainesville, Florida with Dr. John Moser on the topic of the Origins of the Cold War.

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Participants discussed the complex relations between the Soviet Union and the United States that spanned a period of six decades. As one participant stated, “These two countries virtually held the world hostage as they jockeyed for position and tried to one up each other in the nuclear arms race.”

As Dr. Moser mentioned, “The Cold War extends far beyond the basic tenets of Capitalism versus Communism.” Lively discussion permeated the day and continued into the lunch hour as well. The first session “Wartime Alliance” focused on several wartime documents such as Roosevelt’s Message to Congress on the Atlantic Charter and Protocol of the Proceedings of the Crimea (Yalta) Conference. Session two explored “The Origins of Containment”, George Kennan writings on Soviet policy and the US response to the Soviet provocations. The third session focused on “the Practice of Containment” and post World War II policies. Participants discussed the effectiveness of Truman’s administrative policies, why did the US join NATO, the Marshall Plan and the division of Germany. The effects of the Cold War still resonate today and debate still continues over Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb.

Happy Birthday, James Madison

James Madison, our fourth president, architect of the Constitution, and author of the Bill of Rights, was born today in 1751. In that spirit, we highlight two discussions of Madison and his spirit of civic compromise.

Professor Gordon Lloyd, Senior Fellow at the Ashbrook Center, and Dr. Jason C. Ross, Ashbrook’s Director of Programs, discuss Madison’s belief in the importance of conversation and civil discourse in the Wisconsin State-Journal.

Separately in the Columbus Dispatch, Dr. Ross further explores Madison’s philosophy as a means of engaging civic education in the classroom.

 

Saturday Webinar: Do American Principles Require American Interventionism?

 

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14 March 2015’s American Controversies webinar focused on foreign policy, and how American principles impact the decision to get involved overseas, where, and how. Scholars David Tucker and Stephen Knott discussed examples from Washington’s administration to the Obama presidency,  unpacking events and decisions including the War of 1812, Indian Removal, the annexation of Florida, the Spanish-American War, and more recent interventions in the Balkans, Africa, and elsewhere. 80 teachers from across the country attended and posed excellent questions, digging at the issue of where principles and pragmatism meet – and either clash or complement one another.

You can access a video copy of this webinar, along with the core documents used by the scholars, on this TeachingAmericanHistory.org archive page.

Join us for next month’s American Controversies webinar, the guiding question behind which will be “Are Congress or the Courts Too Strong or Too Weak?

Subscribe to our podcast here.

Ashbrook Weekend Colloquium in Colonial Williamsburg, VA

The Ashbrook Center hosted a group of teachers at Colonial Williamsburg this past weekend, to discuss the topic of slavery as it is related to the Constitution. Teachers from across the country – as far away as North Dakota – engaged in a discussion about how the treatment of slavery evolved during the Convention of 1787, how the 3/5 clause was added and where the number really came from, and how the Founders wrestled with slavery as an institution with political and economic aspects and impacts.

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Professor Gordon Lloyd led our discussions, helping participants dig deeply into a diverse collection of documents, including notes from individual states’ ratifying conventions in 1787 and 1788, as well as from the Philadelphia Williamsburg 2 2015.03Convention itself. Along with 9 hours of outstanding discussion, participants were given a guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg, led by a resident scholar in the history of slavery and African-Americans at the historic settlement, and viewed a dramatic presentation of the lives of three African-American women who lived in Williamsburg in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries.

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