We the Teachers

Saturday Webinar Tomorrow!

You can still register for Ashbrook’s American Controversies webinar for this month by signing up here. This month’s topic is “Has the day of enlightened administration come?” As with all our webinars, this program is free, and if you complete a short survey at the end you will receive a certificate for 2 hours of continuing education time.

Happy Birthday George Washington!

Sunday, February 22nd is our first president’s birthday. In celebration of Washington as a man, as a precedent setter, and as a leader calling Americans to embrace the full promise of our national experiment in self-government we encourage you to re-visit his Letter to the Hebrew Congregation. In this Letter, which celebrates its 225th anniversary this year, Washington notes, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

washingtons bday

The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom is offering an Educators Kit to help teachers and administrators guide a classroom reading and discussion of Washington’s Letter. The Institute even provides the Letter’s translation from English into nine (9) languages.

Click here to get your GWIRF Educators Kit.

Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 6

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. In this, the final of 6 sessions, Dr. Lloyd ends with a discussion of James Madison, the father of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. A master reference chart of the origins of the rights found in the Bill of Rights is here, along with a short biography of James Madison, here.

Session 6: James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 5

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. Session 5′s topic is that of the first Congress, and how this body of legislators worked to draft what would become the Bill of Rights. Supplemental references for this session can be found here.

Session 5: The First Congress and the Bill of Rights

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Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 4

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. In Session 4, Dr. Lloyd discusses the political and legal processes by which the Constitution was ratified, and how these impacted the debate over whether the inclusion of a Bill of Rights was necessary or even desirable. For information about the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates surrounding ratification, look here.

Session 4: Constitutional Ratification

Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 3

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. Session 3 focuses on the idea that the Constitution itself, as an instrument of both instituting and limited government, is a means of codifying and protecting rights – a Bill of Rights. Reference this page for a list of rights secured by the Constitution.

Session 3: The Constitution is a Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 2

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. Session 2 focuses on the state origins of the Bill of Rights. Given that the 13 colonies pre-dated the Union, and the Constitution, a thoughtful study of those political entities’ provisions related to rights is important, along with the thoughts of the Founders from those states. This page has a chart to use as a reference.

Session 2: State Origins of the Bill of Rights

Bill of Rights Lecture Series: Session 1

The Ashbrook Center’s Professor Gordon Lloyd gave a six-part lecture series to a group of teachers at the Reagan Library, in which he discussed several key perspectives on the development, writing, ratification, and implementation of the Bill of Rights. Episodes run from 50-60 minutes each. Session 1 concerns the English roots of the ideas found within the Bill of Rights, reaching back to Magna Carta and the intervening centuries. Use the chart found at this link as a reference during the lecture, or pass it along to students as a means by which to examine the roots of America’s views on fundamental rights. Session 1: The English Roots of the Bill of Rights

Ft. Collins Seminar on American History & Government

Ridgeview Classical Schools hosted an Ashbrook Seminar in American History and Government on January 31st for a group of teachers from around and near Fort Collins. Professor Peter Myers facilitated a day-long discussion about Civil Rights, in which teachers were able to discuss the evolution of the ideas, laws, and movement related to this important thread in American history and society.

Of particular interest to participants were the ideas of legal rights, political rights, and social rights, and how the three contribute to, and yet differ from one another. Additionally, teachers discussed the legal ambiguity that existed after the end of the Civil War, and how southern states sought, through legislation like the Black Codes, to define freedmen and give them what was considered to be acceptable legal status – all before the 14th Amendment was ratified, making them citizens.

Teachers also had an opportunity to discuss in detail the writings of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights thinker whose ideas formed part of the foundation of Martin Luther King, Jr’s methods of nonviolent protest.

Ft. Collins Seminar

If you’d like to read some of the documents used for this seminar, please refer to the links below.

Black Codes of Mississippi (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

Bayard Rustin, selections:

Martin Luther King, Jr., selections available here:

  •      “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (April 16, 1963)
  •      “I Have a Dream” (August 28, 1963)
  •      “The Black Power Defined” (June 11, 1967)

 

Tampa Seminar on American History & Government

On Saturday, January 31st, 2015 teachers from multiple school districts convened at Hillsborough Community College to discuss the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Debates with the esteemed Dr. Eric Sands of Berry College providing his scholarly knowledge and guidance.

Tampa Seminar on American History & Gov't

The Anti-Federalist writings are oft forgotten in history classes mostly due to the fact that “they lost” as Dr. Sands stated, however “The Anti-Federalist writings and warnings, especially of Brutus, seem more relevant today than ever.” The essays of Centinel, Brutus and Federal Farmer expressed concerns that a powerful national government would weaken states rights, representatives in Congress would be too far removed from their constituents to effectively govern on their behalf, and the judicial branch would become too activist. Richard R expressed his thought that the writings were almost prophetic in nature, “almost Nostradamus-like”.

Participants enjoyed spirited discussions and lively debates on a number of issues: the extent of the necessary and proper clause,the proper role of government and the limiting of executive power to name a few.

If you would like to ponder these profound essays yourself, please view selected reading from this seminar below to experience some of the debates:

For additional resources, visit our online exhibit with timelines, biographies and extensive writings on the Federalist - Anti-Federalist Debates created by Dr. Gordon Lloyd.

 

Ft. Myers Seminar on American History & Government

On Saturday, January 17th, 2015 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida the Ashbrook Center hosted a Seminar on the Abraham Lincoln. The esteemed Dr. Eric Sands provided his scholarly knowledge to local high school teachers who joined us for the day.

“President Lincoln is such an enigmatic character yet so personal to all of us,” said Dr. Sands. “He is consistently ranked as number one on all Presidential polls.” Indeed, more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American figure. Teachers enjoyed profound conversations and discussed Lincoln’s view on Popular Sovereignty, Slavery, Secession and Constitutional Limits. We spent a great deal of time comparing the ideals within the  Gettysburg Address (on Liberty and Equality) to the ones written by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Paul P stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Ashbrook Seminar and wished I had known about them sooner.”

Perhaps you would like to ponder these great documents yourself.  To experience the writings of Abraham Lincoln please click the links below:

 

Webinar Audio: Has America Progressed Beyond Its Founding Principles?

Join Professors Chris Burkett, Peter Schramm, and Gordon Lloyd as they discuss this topic before an audience of teachers. This moderated discussion between scholars is about the relationship between Constitutional principles and traditions versus the Progressive political movements of the early 20th Century and today. You can view a video archive of the session, as well as related readings, here.

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