We the Teachers

Documents in Detail: MLK’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail

 

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The second episode in our pilot webinar series, Documents in Detail, aired live on 15 February, with a focus on MLK’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, of 1963. Among a variety of issues and topics, the program delved into the historical context around the letter, its perceived and actual audience, and the particulars of King’s citing of Abraham Lincoln in the letter. Teachers also asked questions about the role of King’s faith in the content and wording of the letter, and King’s relationship with other Civil Rights leaders, namely Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.

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Saturday Webinar: Tinker v. Des Moines

 

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The latest in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinar series focused on Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the landmark case that decided a school-based case about expressive speech and political protest. At the height of the Vietnam War, high school students in Iowa sought to protest America’s involvement in the war by wearing black arm bands, and were mary-and-johnprevented from doing so by school administration. Four years later, in 1969, the case was decided by the Supreme Court, changing American legal views on free speech, protest, and how these things could be expressed in a public schools.

Questions raised by the audience of teachers focused on Justice Black’s dissent, original intent of the Founders, and the power of the Supreme Court to interpret language and law.

Access the full archives of the program on its original page on TAH.org, and subscribe to our iTunes Podcast.

Documents in Detail: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

 

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TAH.org’s first Documents in Detail webinar aired on Wednesday, 25 January 2017, focusing on Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Professors John Moser, Eric Sands, and Joe Fornieri discussed a number of perspectives on the document, from the prominence of Biblical language throughout, to the political impact of and reaction to the address. The scholars also discussed a counter-factual question regarding how Lincoln might have navigated the minefield of Reconstruction differently – and perhaps more successfully – than his successor, Andrew Johnson.

lincolninaugural-560x502Suggested further reading is Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, by Ronald White.

Access the full archive of the program, and related documents, here.

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Note: there is a slight echo on one scholar’s voice at about the 34-minute mark, which lasts for about 20 seconds. It is the only place where this audio issue came up during the program.

Saturday Webinar: Miranda v. Arizona

 

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Drs. Chris Burkett, Stephen Tootle, and Jeff Sikkenga discussed the background, constitutional questions, politics, and immediate and long-range impact of the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona (1966) during 7 JAN 2017’s Saturday Webinar.

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Access the full archives here.

Saturday Webinar: Gideon v. Wainwright

 

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Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) was the subject of December’s Saturday Webinar. guest hosted by Dr. Jason Stevens of Ashland University. The case, which overturned a previous USSC case and forced states to provide legal counsel to defendants in criminal cases. Although a majority of states already required this, those that did not were required to do so, from this point forward. The panelists discussed not only the interesting background of the case, including Betts v. Brady (1942), but also the complex situation of determining the “special circumstances” mentioned in that decision that states had to somehow work through in each case. An interesting point brought up was that some 22 states filed amicus briefs in support of a single federal ruling, essentially asking the court to provide a single standard for them instead of the open-ended (and difficult) question left to them by the Betts decision.

The broader discussion also looked at the Warren court in general, the concept of incorporation, and the original intent behind the ideas in the Bill Rights.

Resources mentioned include…

Access the archives, including our YouTube recording and podcast, on the permanent program page here.

Saturday Webinar: Brown v. Board of Education

 

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TAH.org’s latest episode in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinar series took place on Saturday, 19 November, and was hosted by Dr. Chris Burkett, with Drs. Emily Hess and Jason Stevens as panelists. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was discussed as both the repudiation of Plessy v. Ferguson as well as what many see as the formal start to the post-WW2 Civil Rights era. The two cases’ legal reasoning, constitutional foundations, and outcomes were discussed as a an integrated whole, making for an interesting and informative discussion of African-American Civil Rights, as playing out over generations.

For those interested in additional readings on the subjects, the panelists recommended the following books.

View the archive of the program here.

Saturday Webinar: Dred Scott v. Sandford

 

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The latest episode of TAH.org‘s Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinars aired live on Saturday, 15 October 2016, with Dred Scott v. Sandford as the focus. Prof. Chris Burkett of Ashland University moderated the discussion between Profs. Lucas Morel and Jonathan White, and included a live teacher audience of over 100. In addition to the background of the case itself, the panelists discussed the following question, most of which were posed by teachers from the audience:roger-taney-in-1858

  • Did Justice Taney believe that the decision in the case would put an end to sectional differences over slavery?
  • Were there political motives behind Taney’s decision?
  • What were the main points of the dissenting opinions?
  • How did Taney justify and rationalize his decision?
  • How did the decision reflect or relate to the positions of other leaders of the time, including Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Stephens?

An interesting point related to the case is that of the perceptions of the Founder’s intent. Essentially, Taney asserted that the Founders never intended for African-America526px-dredscottns to be treated and seen as anything but property, and that they were truly lesser beings. If anyone believed otherwise, Taney’s response would be that they misunderstood the Founders’ true intentions. Alexander Stephens, on the other hand, asserted that although the Founders did promote equality of all people, they were wrong by including, even if only by implication, non-whites, and that the Southern view of the races, based in ‘science,’ was the correct one. Finally, it was Lincoln who believed that the Founders did include non-whites as people and therefore entitled to certain natural rights, and that if anything, it was the generations of leaders since who’d failed to continue to reach for those goals.

Rebuilding the Liberty Narrative: A Conversation with Gordon Lloyd

 

There is nothing more arduous than the apprenticeship of liberty, Tocqueville informs. While equality in modern democratic society is a natural tendency—one that grows without much effort—it is liberty that requires a new defense in each generation. In this spirit the next edition of Liberty Law Talk discusses with Gordon Lloyd the Liberty Narrative and its unending contest with the Equality Narrative.

Gordon Lloyd

Gordon Lloyd is the Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University and a senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center. He is the creator, with the help of the Ashbrook Center, of four highly regarded websites on the origin of the Constitution.

From the Library of Law and Liberty

From the Archives: Re-Thinking Uncle Tom: The Political Philosophy of H.B. Stowe

 

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The first of two sessions from Professor Bill Allen, about the political philosophy of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. This was recorded at the Ashbrook Center with a live audience of teachers on 24 January, 2009. This 74-minute program consisted of remarks by Dr. Allen and a question and answer session with teachers.

Generally critics and interpreters of Uncle Tom have constructed a one-way view of Uncle Tom, albeit offering a few kind words for Uncle Tom along the way. Recovering Uncle Tom requires re-telling his story. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s oeuvre, in partnership with that of her husband Calvin, constitutes a demonstration of the permanent necessity of moral and prudential judgment in human affairs. Moreover, it identifies the political conditions that can best guarantee conditions of decency. Her two disciplines—philosophy and poetry—illuminate the founding principles of the American republic and remedy defects in their realization that were evident in mid-nineteenth century. While slavery is not the only defect, its persistence and expansion indicate the overall shortcomings. In four of her chief works (Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Dred, and Oldtown Folks), Stowe teaches not only how to eliminate the defect of slavery, but also how to realize and maintain a regime founded on the basis of natural rights and Christianity. Further, she identifies the proper vehicle for educating citizens so they might reliably be ruled by decent public opinion.

Saturday Webinar: McCulloch v. Maryland

 

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Drs. Chris Burkett, Jeremy Bailey, and Dan Monroe discussed the historical context, constitutional connections and reasoning, and legal and political legacy of the second in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinars, McCulloch v Maryland (1819). Access the archives of the program here and subscribe to our iTunes podcast.

Saturday Webinar: Marbury v. Madison

 

 

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On Saturday 27 August 2016, TAH.org hosted its first Saturday Webinar of the 2016-17 school year, on Marbury v. Madison. This year’s theme of Landmark Supreme Court cases got off to a great start with a thoughtful discussion of the politics and constitutional aspects of the at the time it was decided, and the legal and constitutional legacy in the years since. Scholars also discussed the case as related to the concepts of both judicial review and judicial supremacy, and the extent to which the Constitution was seen as a legal, rather than political document.

You can visit the archive page of this program here.

Liberty vs. Freedom

 

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Historian David Hackett Fischer discusses the related, yet distinct concepts of liberty and freedom in this archived lecture. Expanding on his 2004 book, Liberty and Freedom: A Visual History of America’s Foundinghe describes the different meanings of the words at the Founding, and how their meanings have evolved and been applied by Americans since.

American Presidents: Ronald Reagan

 

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reagan43Our last Saturday Webinar of the 2015-16 school year took place on Saturday, May 7, with Ronald Reagan as our focus. Teachers from around the country joined our panelists for a discussion about Reagan the person, president, and thinker. Questions ranged from his core political beliefs to his transformation from an FDR Democrat to a Republican, and included questions about both foreign and domestic policy. A good deal of attention was paid to his views on Communism and his enduring belief that it was an oppressive, morally bankrupt system that could be made to fail, and without war. Additionally, his genuine desire to eliminate – not just reduce – world arsenals of nuclear weapons was discussed, in the context of his personal outreach to and relations with Soviet leaders, especially Mikhail Gorbachev.

The following books are recommended for additional reading about Reagan and his era:

The full archive, with documents and video, is available here.

Join us, starting in August, for our 2016-17 Saturday Webinar series, ‘Landmark Supreme Court Cases,’ beginning with Marbury v. Madison.

American Presidents Webinar: Lyndon Johnson

 

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Saturday, April 9th’s American Presidents webinar focused on Lyndon Johnson and the two pillars of his administration: the Great Society, and the Vietnam War. Panelists discussed topics ranging from the impact of Johnson’s political skill and legislative experience on the development and passage of his policies, as well as the role of Democratic majorities in Congress at the time. Of interest was the broad, bipartisan support expansion of Social Security enjoyed, as compared against other large social programs of the 20th and early 21st centuries, and how this support, or lack of it, shaped the policies and the politics surrounding and following them.

johnson2LBJ’s views on and actions related to Vietnam were discussed at length, touching on what seemed to be his lack of interest in being involved, and yet his sense of necessity to stay involved in the war he inherited. The panelists also touched on the different rhetoric LBJ used when promoting his social programs versus that he employed regarding Vietnam and foreign policy. View the archive page, with document and YouTube links, and scholar bios, here.

To register for the final webinar of the 2015-16 school year on Saturday, May 7 at 11:00 AM EST discussing Ronald Reagan – The Great Communicator, click here.

Webinar: Religion in American History & Politics – Jefferson and Hamilton

 

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Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were, famously, political opponents.  Their differences went beyond grand visions of the country’s future and the daily operation of the new government, however.  They also disagreed about religion.  We will examine their disagreement by reading and discussing some of their writings on the still controversial issue of religion and its role in politics. On Saturday, 12 March, David Tucker, Jason Stevens, and Stephen Knott discussed the religious views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and how these impacted their actions and relationship.

Access the primary documents reading packet for this program here.

Subscribe to our iTunes podcast here.

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