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Documents in Detail: Bill of Rights

 

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Our Documents in Detail episode for 14 NOV 18 focused on the Bill of Rights: the politics behind its proposal and adoption; interpretations over time; and place in our history, government, and society. Among the many questions asked during the lively 58-minute program included those about James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, and why they initially did not support an enumeration of rights, but in Madison’s case, eventually went on to promote the legislation that led to the Bill of Rights. Also considered was the notion that to understand the Bill of Rights today, one must understand the original arguments against it.

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Saturday Webinar: Frederick Douglass vs. William Lloyd Garrison

 

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TAH.org’s Saturday Webinar for 10 NOV 2018 focused on the debate between Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, and their divergent views on the Constitution, solutions to slavery, and the future of America as they saw it. Suggested additional readings include:

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Documents in Detail: Brutus I

 

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The 24 OCT 18 episode of Documents in Detail took a look at Brutus I, one of the essential Antifederalist writings, dated 18 OCT 1787. The program opened with a question from the moderator about why it’s worth reading an argument for one of the “losers” of the ratification debate that waged from 1787-88. Most of the program dug into and drew conclusions and observations based on the root of Brutus’ argument, which was about his concerns over consolidation, and the creation of a single, large republic that would eventually trample the rights of individuals and would be distant and separate from the people it existed to represent.

We experienced a software glitch while recording this program, resulting in the last 12 minutes being muted. We are working to recover this block of audio, and will replace the current, incomplete audio file with the full one if we are able to do that.

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Saturday Webinars: Jefferson vs. Hamilton

 

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The Saturday Webinar for October 2018 featured a discussion of the political and personal split between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, with a focus on how their differences contributed to the development of the first political parties, and how their ideas informed the first decades of American economic policy.

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Documents in Detail: Madison’s Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787

 

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Today’s episode of Documents in Detail focused on excerpts from James Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 – the Constitutional Convention. James Madison was the only delegate to attend every day of the convention, and to take notes of all the proceedings, to include summaries of speeches and vote tallies throughout the proceedings. The Debates, published after his death, provide scholars, students, and those interested in American constitutional government an insider’s view of the process by which the Constitution was considered, debated, and eventually signed, and then released to the states for ratification.

An authoritative, contemporary edition of the Debates, edited and prefaced by Professor Gordon Lloyd, is available electronically and in print from Amazon.

Access the full program archive here.

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Saturday Webinar: Federalists vs. Antifederalists

 

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Why read Federalist writings, and perhaps of even more interest, why read Antifederalist writings?

The second of TAH.org’s Great American Debates webinar series took place on Saturday, 8 September. Our episode focused on the Federalist-Antifederalist Debates that took place most obviously from late 1787 through 1788, when the Constitution was being considered for ratification throughout the 13 states. Our program took a serious look at the ideas of both sides, considering them as ideas expressed and debated at the time, and looking at how some of these issues have been alive as points of contention throughout American history. For more information about the “out of doors” debates over the Constitution, take a look at our Ratification of the Constitution exhibit.

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Documents in Detail: James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance

 

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James Madison authored a powerful defense of religious liberty while serving in the Virginia state government, arguing that there should be no tax collected to support any established – that is, state-supported – church or other religious group. Seen as one of the seminal discussions of the topic in American political thought and discourse, Madison’s multi-point argument expressed both the belief that the mind is free, and that no man’s conscience can be dictated by the state.

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And thanks to the U.S. Army Blues Band for providing their excellent music online for free use.

Saturday Webinar: Patriots vs. Loyalists

 

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The 2018-19 season of TAH.org’s Saturday Webinars got off to a great start on 18 August with our first episode, Patriots vs. Loyalists, in which our scholars dug deeply into the political, social, and economic rifts that grew between neighbors and even within families during the American War for Independence. Access the full program archive page here, and check out our podcast options below. Also, be sure to download the free PDF copies of our Documents and Debates volumes, which form the foundation of this year’s Saturday Webinars.

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And thanks to the U.S. Army Blues Band for making their excellent music available for free online.

Documents in Detail: A Time for Choosing

 

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The last episode in TAH.org’s 2017-18 Documents in Detail webinar series, focused on Ronald Reagan’s 1964 “A Time for Choosing” speech. Often referred to as “The Speech,” is was a persuasive, articulate, and powerful endorsement of then-Republican presidential candidate Senator Barry Goldwater, and despite Goldwater’s loss that November, helped to propel Reagan to the forefront of national politics, keeping him in the public eye as he sought and won the governorship of California, went on to unsuccessfully challenge sitting Republican President Gerald Ford for his party’s nomination in 1976, and eventually win the presidency in 1980.

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Saturday Webinar: Iran Hostage Crisis

 

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TAH.org’s last Saturday Webinar for the 2017-18 school year, today we focused on the 444 day long crisis in which 52 American embassy workers were taken hostage by Iranian revolutionaries and held for over a year, bringing to a head conflict between that country’s new rulers and the United States, and likely contributing to the downfall of President Jimmy Carter. Relevant to the ongoing friction and sometimes hostility between the quasi-theocracy of Iran and the United States, this crisis ended with Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as president in January 1981, and has had ripples and repercussions since.

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Documents in Detail: MLK’s “I Have a Dream” Speech

 

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Today’s Documents in Detail webinar focused on Dr. Martin Luther King jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” which was delivered on the heels of a Congressional filibuster that had been started to block civil rights legislation. With input from our two scholars and moderator, we explored the ideas expressed in the speech, language employed, reception and meaning of the seminal piece, and took a number of interesting questions from our teacher audience.

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Saturday Webinars: Watergate

 

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TAH.org’s 7 APril 2018 Saturday Webinar was about Watergate, and the ensuing political and seeming constitutional crisis that ensued. Panelists discussed the background of the break-in that led to the crisis, but also talked a great deal about Nixon’s background, his views on Democrats and other Republicans, and how his experiences and personality contributed to his actions as president.

Questions from teachers included those about presidential powers as related to subpoenas, how precedents established played out during the Clinton impeachment incident in the late 1990s, and some about pardon powers and their extent. And how to Congressional investigations differ from criminal ones?

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Document in Detail: The Long Telegram

 

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Wednesday 21 March’s webinar focused on the Long Telegram, the famous George Kennan communique from Moscow in 1946, on which so much of American foreign policy after World War 2 was based. Scholars discussed the origins of the telegram, the context around events in Moscow and Washington in the year after the war, and why Kennan wrote it in the first place. They discussed how the U.S. government received the news from Kennan, as well as how Kennan framed and explained himself over time, even to the point of seemingly contradicting commonly-held views of the meaning of his point.

 

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Saturday Webinar: Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL

 

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Saturday, 3 March 2018’s TAH.org teacher webinar was about Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The violent response to a peaceful Civil Rights march on 7 March 1965, televised and immortalized in pictures, helped to spotlight the injustice of segregation and racially discriminatory systems of law and social norms found throughout the South at the time.

Although other crises in this series were political or security-focused in nature, what happened in Selma has a far more distinctly moral crisis, as it was made so clear that many Americans were not enjoying the same rights as others, and that the promises of the Declaration of Independence were, clearly, not yet fulfilled.

The event itself was discussed in detail and contextualized alongside other major moments and ideas from the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s.

Suggestions for additional reading:

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