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1776 was one of the most radical years in the history of political thought. But 1776 was still far more than a single date or event. It was an idea, a movement, one that continues onward to the present day.
November 13 – "The Reason for Revolution": this week we examine the question of why; why did the Revolution occur? Why did so many Americans, in such a short time, transition from unquestioned loyalty and love for the King, to a document in 1776 condemning him as a "Tyrant"?
November 20 – "Winning the Revolution": this week we examine the question of how; how was the Revolutionary War fought and won? Though briefly touching on military strategy, we will also look at ideology, the question of what to do with Loyalist Americans, the splitting up of families, the hyperinflation of the Continental dollar, and other matters pertaining to life during the war.
December 4 – "Completing the Revolution": this week we examine the political questions that towered over the new nation in the 1780s. The war was officially over after 1783, but the Revolution was not. Immediately after the war completed, there was already great debate over what to do next, culminating in the epic contest between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the U.S. Constitution. Were the Anti-Federalists right or wrong in warning that the Constitution violated the principles of 1776?
December 11 – "1776 in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries": this week we examine the legacy of 1776 in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. How did political and cultural leaders during these two centuries deploy the rhetoric of 1776? Was it effective? Does it suggest that the Revolution in fact never really completed, but was rather an ongoing process?
December 18 – "1776 Today and Tomorrow": for this final week we examine the legacy of 1776 in our own day. Is there a spirit of 1776 in the year 2014? If so, how has it manifested itself? How do people on both sides of important political questions use the rhetoric of 1776? By doing so, do they contradict each other, and if so, how do we reconcile this? Will 1776 continue to inspire Americans in the future?"
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