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tv   1620 Mayflower Compact Legacy  CSPAN  January 8, 2022 11:45am-1:01pm EST

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without some leadership and for the time being you feel that we are bereft of leadership. yes. take a closer. look at the spouses of our nation's presidents their private lives public roles and legacies watch all of our first ladies programs online at first ladies dot c-span.org. well, good evening to everyone. we are so delighted to be here this evening. it's such a cozy environment for the discussion. we want to have tonight. and you know as we think about thanksgiving season and the fact that we are gathered here this evening to discuss the mayflower compact and the fact that it's the 400 and first anniversary of the signing of this quintessential and inspiring american document. it just warms my heart and i'm so delighted to see the young people who are here as well for
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this incredible conversation that we will have this evening. so on behalf of our current president k coles james and our president-elect dr. kevin roberts. i bring greetings and express our complete delight to partner work with rfi and the museum of the bible for the 1620 the mayflower compact in america's founding event. at a time when the moral fabric of the american founding is constantly under assault. we are so reminded of the power of storytelling. for thousands of years humans have relied on storytelling to transfer history and knowledge to share emotions and to relate personal experiences. so the story of how the pilgrims so the seeds of liberty and self-government that made their humble new england settlement a cradle of american democracy
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must never ever ever be forgotten. it is a story that has the power to safeguard the sanctity of the american idea and to exhibit its relevance to all americans including those who have lost confidence that our nation is a place of hope opportunity and community for all americans. so it's my honor tonight to introduce you to our moderators for this panel discussion. my dear colleague dr. joe laconte is the director of the fuller institute's b kenneth simon center for american studies. in this capacity dr. laconte serves as heritages leading scholar on western civilization and john locke. he is a former associate professor of history at the king's college in new york. and author of the new york times bestseller a hobbit a wardrobe and a great war how jrr tolkien
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and cs lewis rediscovered faith friendship and heroism. gel scholarship is respected across the nation. he also serves as a senior fellow in christianity and culture at the king's college. as a singer fellow at the trinity farm in washington dc and the scholar with the faith and liberty discovery center in philadelphia. and i think now moved. he previously served as a distinguished visiting professor at the school of public policy at pepperdine university where he taught on religion and public policy. i would also like to welcome and our second moderator dr. eric patterson who serves as the executive vice president of the religious freedom institute. dr. patterson is a scholar at large and a past dean of the robertson school of government at regent university and a research fellow at georgetown university's berkeley center for religion. peace and world affairs where he previously served time.
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eric's interest in the intersection of religion ethics and foreign policy is informed by significant governance service, including two stints at the us department of state's bureau of political military affairs along with 20 years as an officer and commander in the air national guard and serving as a white house fellow working for the director of the us office of personal management, ladies and gentlemen are moderators dr. joe liconte and dr. eric patterson, please welcome them. thank you, angela. thank you so much for that. can can you guys hear me back there in the bleacher seats? great. okay, welcome everybody. i'm so glad everybody's here tonight. it says a lot about you that you came out here to here a discussion about the mayflower compacts. there's a lot about you and it's all good. you know, we're in the throws of
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a debate today over the meaning and the legitimacy of our democracy, right the latest conspiracy theory masquerading as history. is that everything important about america can be explained to the lens of racism and oppression? but at the very beginning of the american story we see something else. something remarkable in the history of world civilization because in 1620 we see a group of settlers establishing a political community based on the concepts of self-government and equal justice. it's an astonishing moment. not just in 1620, but especially when you consider that hundreds of millions of people today, ladies and gentlemen today live under governments that completely reject these basic democratic principles and the attempt to ignore this foundational moment in the american story to pretend it didn't happen. it kind of makes me think of the tourist who travels to the chianti region in sunny italy and i've been there the tourist
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returns home after a few weeks he returns home, and he's very unhappy and he informs us that there are no wineries. no vineyards. no rows of grapes. no wine tasting to be had anywhere in chianti. what are we to do with this? poor brooding befuddled specimen of humanity. we can only pity him. but we're here today to observe with our eyes open. and to remember and to engage in some honest history and help us do that. we've done all-star panel. i mean all-star panel. i'm going to introduce some very very briefly, and i'm going to turn over to eric patterson. wilfred mcclay professor of history at hillsdale college of visiting scholar for the simon center at the heritage foundation. his most recent book is land of hope and invitation to the great american story. by offering a more balanced account of our history bill's book is like a vaccine. yeah a vaccine that can inoculate the next generation of
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americans from the poisonous propaganda that threatens to infect our entire educational system. thank you bill for the book william allen. emeritus dean of james madison college emeritus professor of political science of michigan state university dr. allen is a former chairman of the us commission on civil rights served as a kellogg national fellow fulbright fellow member of the national council on the humanities, dr. allen has published several books including george washington america's first progressive. love that title. if today's progressives took this book, seriously, i think they would renounce their progressivism and repent and sack cloth and ashes. thank you, dr. alphaba and then tim hall. senior fellow at the religious freedom institute here in washington dc dr. hall is an educator's educator. he has offered several textbooks supplements. curricula popular history text including the complete idiots guide to world history clearly written philicathy. thank you much timo there. within the field of education
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dr. hall advocates for civic digital and religious literacy. there's a wonderful concept he was recently honored as the vance county teacher of the year in vance county. so let me turn over now to eric patterson for some opening framing remarks. but at the bar good evening. it's a pleasure to be here with you tonight on a half of our president tom farr and all of us at the religious freedom institute. it's a pleasure to be here and we're honored to work with museum of the bible in our partners the heritage foundation on this project. our mission at rfi is that we're committed to achieving worldwide acceptance of religious liberty is a fundamental human right a source of individual and human flourishing a cornerstone of a successful society. and as a driver of national and international security when the reason that we're here tonight
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is because ideas have consequences. you all know that and we believe in accurate history. and there's no more assailed moment in our history than those early years when people were coming to the united states as early colonists around 1620 and there's two framings of this happening one is the accurate history that's been happening for for the last three centuries recognizing the sacrifice of the colonists. who came and asking the question, what was it that drove them towards this idea of prudential ordered liberty? but you know that there's another project going on the so-called 1619 project. which has been denounced by top historians like james mcpherson and gordon wood really in my words as largely phoning history and it's one that has focused on real evils in american history, but as but slavery and things as
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our founding principle, and that just isn't so in part because the pilgrims didn't practice that and they didn't believe in it. now what i want to note tonight is that these are competing ideas right now and they really do have consequences now. i've got good news for you. freedom wins freedom one in eastern europe in the 1980s and it continues to win around the world and when you think about the american story it is true that there's been slavery and injustice. but what beat it what beat it were the things that sprouted from the seeds that the pilgrims and then later americans cherished and that is the idea of order and liberty for every single person in this country. and so that's really a part. what's at stake as we talk about the real history of the mayflower compact tonight. its history and tonight we're going to talk about that. it's also pedagogy.
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how we teach our history? we're going to talk about that tonight as well. well, let me say one housekeeping bit of information and that is is that you should have received a card when you came in. and for those of you who are viewing us online. you can hit the chat feature and send in a question. so if you send your your card questions to the fellows in the back or if you raise your hand, they'll come and get them or if you put a question into the chat feature. we're going to receive it on this ipad that neither doctor locante nor i know how to use since we still write with quills. and we will ask those questions in just a bit but first i'm going to serve as moderator to ask a question of each of our panelists tonight. so let me start with dr. mcclay. so dr. mcclay welcome, and and here's our question for you. tell us about the political and religious traditions in which the pilgrims were rooted that helped them frame their effort and self-government.
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for example did their ecclesiastical doctrines and practices inform their assumptions when they drafted the mayflower compact. well, thank you, and i don't know how far back to go and answering that but i would say one thing to begin with and it's may. add a little inflection to your remarks about the two versions of history because i think while the story has been told pretty well in the past and i have very little good to say about the 1619 version of it. one thing that historians have not sufficiently emphasized is the religious dimension of the american experiment in the american founding. so that's where i'd like to begin in talking about the mayflower compact. the pilgrims, you know, there's a chapter in one of the leading books on the pilgrims that they knew that they were pilgrims and that's so true. they were primarily motivated by
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religious sentiments by religious deal by the desire to go somewhere to practice. of the true religion and found a pure church free of the corruptions of the church of england and and to be to recreate a sort of english village life. in a new continent 3000 miles across the sea so the bold audacious thing driven by religious faith if you look at the compact you see it begins with an invocation of the glory of god and and with the the fact that this this plantation this colony of is being founded in further. it's of the glory of god, so it's ringed about with religious assumptions a lot of times people say, oh this was a lot like john locke's who've john locke cannot written yet, but his ideas about the state of nature and how people came
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together to form a civil compact. well, no not exactly. and it in fact these people were not founding the united states of america. that's they are our four beers. and i think we're right to claim them, but that wasn't what they thought they were doing. they thought they were when they were going somewhere to found a pure church and to live out their lives as christians. so that's that's part of the part of the answer. i think to the question one other thing i think is worth pointing out though. is that in the end the mayflower compact is a civil it's not a theocracy. and how does that happen? well, it's because of when they landed near provincetown one of the least puritan places on the planet right now, but in cape cod, that's where they landed and they knew that they were had
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anything north of the hudson river was outside the charter that had come from the king so they they're technically speaking they were outside of a legal authority. and some of the those aboard ship that were called the strangers who were the non non puritan non pilgrims elements. or at least not as fervent. is the core group was? we're saying well gee, you know, it will be free to go wherever we please once we land since there's no controlling legal authority. and that's how the compact came about it was an effort to to forge a civil community to hold it together because you know the leaders of the pilgrim knew that they all needed one another they needed the strangers. who are not particularly fervent some of them not even religious at all? but who had skills, that would be absolutely necessary for the
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survival the community. so it was a gesture gesture driven ultimately by religious. it aspirations. but also accommodating itself to a civil society a civil indeed secular order and i think it would one thing that is interesting about this is we often are told that america the united states was founded the secular country. the constitution doesn't doesn't mention god doesn't invoke god. and the first amendment indicates the capacity of our secular institutions to tolerate religion. if you look back the example the mayflower compact, it's the other way around, isn't it? that religious people. out of you know partly out of principal partly out of expediency pragmatisms that were went the other direction and and
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created a civil society that could include everyone but that still was religiously based. we often forget or and are taught. wrongly about other religious heritage. that is at the heart of our earliest years our foundational years. and so i welcome the heritage foundations attention to the mayflower compact. i think it brings that back. there's ecclesiastically assumption. for example, it really is a fascinating story told people seeking religious liberty. but they're not the majority not imposing it or the plurality not imposing. others in creating the civil compact, which is really a model over time. hundred and fifty years the declaration is dr. allen, let's turn to you. a nicole hannah jones latest effort the 1619 project a new origin story was released earlier this week. how does this new origin story
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of the united states compared to the historical realities of pilgrims and the mayflower compact and what seems to be the greatest weaknesses? of the 16 night project and why should that matter to us? in 30 words or less i think it's important for us to understand. the nature of the conversation we're having we have two storage of a story of family memory. and the story of national memory and we aren't always aware not always cognitive the power those things get together. how they mesh when i've spoken about the mayflower compact i've spoken about it from the perspective of that opening reliance upon god and the instruction from pastor robinson. before they even mounted the ship they had the beauty imposed upon them. to arrive at the destination not just geographically but morally that they had aimed for.
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but we are perhaps led astray. when we focus too much. on the lofty purpose and too little on the ordinary souls souls like ourselves because the real story of the united states of america of the mayflower compact of the pilgrims of the settlement of this land. is a story of the lens to which ordinary souls would go? and there's a perfect example of this. i have a very good friend. was actually a descendant of one of the shipmates in the beef are combat a mayflower who signed the mayflower compact? and his ancestor was stephen hawkins. and we might think okay. what can we learn from stephen hawkins? he's on the mayflower with all the rest of them children. and otherwise, what does his
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story tell us about ourselves? well, we can't even give to get there. until we first ask a couple of questions. the united states became a special kind of country the country that could eliminate slavery. and it is important to ask. why was it that kind of country it has something to do with who they were in the beginning. and that's why the 1619 project is relevant. for the 1619 project has nothing to say about the ordinary souls. were there in the beginning? now stephen hopkins didn't come to the north america for the first time on the mayflower stephen hopkins, was it jamestown? he was there at 16:09 16 10. he had left london left his wife in three children there as he went all with what a band of aristocratic adventurers.
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not religiously inspired not pilgrims people who were out looking for the main chance and who didn't have very much of a commitment to labor for themselves because they were used to having things done for them. hopkins had been a ministerial assistant and he went off as an industrial assisted. he had administrative functions for the governor assisting the governor as well as being a reader in congregation, so he obviously had some religious background. but hopkins soon got into trouble. remember jamestown went through terrible times. they nearly starved to death. they mismanaged the place they wouldn't work for themselves and the abuse the natives. but for some reason we don't know because he was not a literary man hopkins. he didn't leave us a diary or books to explain himself. no abstract principles. we only know he was sentenced to death. yes, because he had popped off. something had infuriated him and
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he expressed it. then that was called mutilate. please of mercy led to his partnering so he was not put to death. perhaps he wasn't executed because they knew that they needed hands that knew how to labor and that was a very indulgent thing to do to execute one who showed that he had them. but his wife died. he got a letter. so he returned to london. that's why he was in london when it's time for the group to leave delphaven in the mayflower. therefore a few years before therefore. he has back to north america thinking he's returning to virginia as they all did they didn't sail for for plymouth, they sailed for virginia. and they were blown off course, of course those crude conditions of sailing and landed someplace they do not wear and a far harsher climate to do. but hopkins is on that crew with
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his second wife because his first wife had passed. he was a man who actually had lost several wives because in those days mortality the rate was really very severe very harsh. and it wasn't unusual for people to die prematurely. he produced the large family mostly girls as it were many of whom also died early. i'm asking you to imagine in this story. who this man was what does life was about don't think about winthrop bradford mather? think about the ordinary so what on earth? sent him into those dangerous waters. seeking those new life. why was he a signature? to the mayflower compact we don't know because he left us no written record. why would you know him we know him from birth records baptismal records legal records? that's how we know him.
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but we can do something about him. as we look at these things and we can see. whatever it was that led him to pop off and i like to speculate maybe he didn't like the way the natives were being treated. we know that we came to these shores on the mayflower. he had not only his new wife and his children but a couple of servants. but they were servants just as people always had servants. in england, they were not slaves. we know that he got in trouble there just as he had done it jamestown why because in addition to his administrative functions. he had maintained an ordinary that is an in or public house. and he was reprimanded for letting anybody sit and drink in his inn servants and other sorts was what the language was that was expressed. who were the other sorts. well, maybe natives maybe the handful of slaves that were present. my point is this. 1620 there was a stephen hopkins
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there. who was someone who was fighting to build a life? that had nothing to do with the question of slavery and have everything to do with a solid grasp on those middle-class principles and values and individualism. which ultimately characterized the society? and i would submit. were far more characteristic of this society than anything you see described in the 1619 project. i think it's the project itself. the 1619 project is focused on privilege because of new york times came into being in the early 1850s after defender of privilege has never changed and that's all they know how to talk about. but the point is this. ask yourself. remember i said they're still descendants of hopkins here. ask yourself this question.
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why would the university become the kind of nation that could end slavery might have something to do with the kind of soul that stephen hopkins was? and the fact that they were very many of them. remember as we went through the civil war. over 600,000. americans lost their lives on both sides. half of them muslim confederacy the other half were of course for the union. and of those we don't know how many but in the army of the union as abraham lincoln gives us evidence. there were a hundred and sixty some thousand who were emancipated many of them had emancipated for himself, of course. now this is the environment in which you see. a spirit growing among the people the spirit represented in stephen hopkins that has more to do with what this country is where it came from and how it should be understood.
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then the handful of slaves and perhaps they were only indentured servants. brought over in 1619 at that point there was no racial defense for slavery. no one even dreamed of that until much later. that was simply something that happened in the course of some people's practices of convenience that ultimately had consequences that extended far beyond what anyone to anticipated what they did anticipate we know from the mayflower compact what we did anticipate we know from lives like stephen hopkins. we know because we have his will he didn't have slaves. he left no slaves. we know because most people where people more like stephen hopkins? then they were like slave owners. so the story being told that the 1619 project is a false story. or let me put it differently. it dishonest story. it's possible to make the kind of argument that what makes in
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that project sincerely because one thinks it's an argument. let's try it out. let's engage this dispute with people debated and see how the argument fares. that's not exactly what has happened in that project. without disparaging the participants in it at all. it is clearly dishonest precisely because of ignores stephen hopkins. in the same way that it ignored abraham lincoln. for it calls lincoln a man fundamentally races. who in fact was not opposed to slavery and who did what he did in order to satisfy the needs of white privilege. that's effectively, but they're arguing they know it's dishonest. i put it out. i said a note to eight to mr. silverstein the editor. i said look. it's alright for you to make this argument about lincoln, but don't you at least only the courtesy of response? because it turns out he did respond himself.
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he actually written a letter addressing point by point the very questions that respond to the accusations they make he never acknowledged my note. they never published lincoln's response. that's why i say it is not just a false argument. it is a dishonest argument. now vegans argument captures the heart of the life of stephen hopkins i won't read it to you. perhaps we'll come back to it later. i do have a copy of but it's a brief letter that he sent to someone from kentucky, but it is interesting because the person he was writing to was someone who would have been sympathetic to any information to defense slavery, or at least express racism. and make it work out of his way do exactly the opposite. he was not catering to any opinion of the age.
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he was declaring outright firm principles moral principles and beliefs. those firm principles tell our national story. and they have meaning because we all have families like stephen hawkins that have been nurtured in them. we remember our families good and bad. because they made us what we are. that we remember our national history good and bad. because it made us what we are. dr. allen, thank you for that and i think we'll ask you. and in this time where dishonest history for how someone feels history ought to be is so apparent in writing. it's a great corrective. free to remind us that things really happen. there were real people real we have the evidence and we ought not to go beyond that. so thank you very very much for that. and that really leads us to
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teaching. that dr. hall is a distinguished teacher. he's partnered with rfi inheritage and writing of a curriculum that will come out later very very shortly on the mayflower compact for high school students. let me ask you dr. hall. what do we need to teach young people about the meaning of significance of mayflower compact what's missing in our current approaches our current history textbooks and teaching about this subject and how do teachers whether they're they're parent teachers and homeschools or private schools or in public schools. what do what do they need to be able to strengthen our commitment to citizenship as related to the mayflower compact? well first let me say thank you. i'm glad to be here excited to be part of the stand always there's a privilege to be on the stage. so i'm very excited for that and and in know that this is just a journalization from my 20 plus years of being an educator and
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you know writing different standards at the national and state levels and participating in the national endowment or the humanities institute on separation of church and state and harvard divinity schools religious literacy institute. so so these are gentlenizations so i'll say that so first, i mean, that's a great question. like what is what's missing for for our students and and how my more informed understanding of the mayflower compact build civic literacy because that's what we're trying to do and that's what we need. i think dr. allen and we were talking about that beforehand here, so i really informed understanding if we're going off of understanding the religiosity of the document and i think that's something that needs to be pushed put out there is that we need to understand the religiosity and as rooted in that christian nature now i get it most teachers are fearful of
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that because they're well, they're a variety of reasons. i mean they're afraid to teach about that because they're afraid to push back from parents and students. maybe they're not comfortable with that religious literacy beast and possibly, you know, they're afraid that they're going to be biased. oh religious trad. ition, so they're they're hesitant, but we really need to recognize that christian. peace to that mayflower compact with an understanding that we're approaching the document from a cultural studies approach which is you know, three three things will know about the cultural studies approach is you know, first off is that religions are internally diverse? second they are change over time. and third they're embedded in culture. meaning the culture gives to the religion and religion gives the culture. and so with the mayflower compact in particular you can see where it is influenced by its christianity.
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okay, and so we need to recognize that in the classroom. and that's important. and then going back to the pluralistic nature of the mayflower compact is important as well. i'm drawing on the work of amy gutman here. we're really wanting to look at deliberative democracy, you know, which requires the principles and methods of education that promote a shared commitment to the rights and responsibilities of a civil body politic. with people that don't share the same concept of a good life. so this democratic education helps cultivate moral agency, you know meaning making one's own ethical decisions through the development of critical thinking skills self-confidence and humility. is this type of democratic education that promotes the condition that enables doc democracies to flourish now and in the future so in teaching the
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compact with this christian religious roots and the pluralism of the separatists and strangers. students are able to witness a deliberative democracy in action. if teachers gloss over these distinctions which they have and when you look at the textbooks, it's twitter brevity, you know, you know, it's a self-roll government of the consent. let's move on very quickly if you if you do that if you gloss over these distinctions, the historic moment loses its real educative power. for deliberative democracy i also argue there are many other movements and events in american and world history that need this more rigorous approach. that foster that deliberative democracy that we're talking about so end this question by stealing and modifying a famous
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line from ben franklin. about the new republic of the united states a republic if you can teach it. i can't thank you. that's a great modification. i think you're going to start being quoted on that one. well, i just want to remind you about our process for questions and we have about 30 minutes for q&a and then we'll wrap it up, but i want to remind you if you have a card if you'd raise your hand our ushers will come and grab those from you right now. i see them moving with some. churchillian haste remember churchill said make haste slowly. they're moving and for those who are online a reminder that you can type your question right into the chat box dr. loconte will have it and we'll read it. these questions will be entered into that chat box as well. let me interview dr. loconte. but gate in what way?
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does the mayflower compact account for non-christians in their society? how does the compact account for non-christians? signatory, i mean that it accounts in that way. very very everyone and it was important that non-christians. or non let's just say the people who are not fervent. puritanism might well been christian. we don't know a lot about many of them but it doesn't definitely definitionally deal with that, but i think the very fact that they participated on equal dangerous is here's the profound means. but maybe others have i would follow i would say we must remember and this is specific in the compact. it is a covenant. a covenant among people who agree so that their agreement
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among themselves defines the community. the idea of accommodating non-christians or non members of the community doesn't rise in that context. why should they? be mindful of non-christians, but they have done is extended in invitation to like-minded people to form a community together. well, guess what? he was can do that. they don't have to say here's what yunong christians can do. can do you can do it, too? anybody can do that? attract like-minded people and former communities therefore it is present in their very act and affirmation of the humanity of all. don't want to pick this question to you as well because you get such a background religious freedom remember historical context of 1620. the 30 years war is making its way through europe right now. i mean they are embroiled in religious conflict. they're not able to accommodate
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their religious differences, but we're seeing something. like that here and accommodation. go ahead. okay, that's exactly right on the european continent. there's going to be four. overlapping wars that we call the 30 years war that end in 1648 and england is going to have its own civil war which has a religious dimension that will happen in two decades later after the mayflower compact but this group of separatists. take a theology from the reformation about the priesthood of all believers which flushes itself out in their ecclesiology and their local church as a certain equality among the members and a respect for one another rather than a hierarchical authoritarian type of church structure. and so when they have to figure out, how are we going to compromise? how are we going to work together? they have a model that they had been practicing since the 1570s in england and then in the netherlands of coming together of covenanting in a contractual
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sense to work together for the common good. and it's in its rooted in a theology. that is so different than the religious wars that are going to take place in europe. well a religious foundation for religious pluralism. that's right. isn't that interesting? we got another great question here as an educator of middle school age children. what book would you recommend i use in teaching middle school age children well, we got to say bill mcclay's book. well out of the games. i'm the struggling with with my sense of modesty just to promote myself the matter is winning here. but no, i i think i think men of hope is probably the reason levels a little too high for that, but we are about to come out with a young readers edition, which i'm actually working on the page proofs right now. i mean not right now, but i will go back to my hotel and work but to get them out in time for next
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year's school classes, so and that's really aimed at 56th graders, which is the age at which most students have their first exposure to us history. so yeah, but i'm going to look there are a lot of a lot of wonderful older books biographies of figures in american history. i wouldn't trust a lot of the newer stuff coming out of publishing houses today, but but older older biographies of the founders of some of the great sort of figures that david crockett so extremely interesting figure by the way, politically in terms of his relations with indians and it's consciousness of your view rights of you know that i would i would do a lot of that with those younger students. i think conveying a sense of
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america as and not just a a story but as a conjuries of storms of many stories rich with stories often stories of i think in one way the great american stories of things that that bill allen has alluded to is the it's we're a nation that has given unprecedented opportunity to ordinary people. to make to actually say make something of themselves to have opportunity to have hope to have enterprise and and there are lots of their lots of books about that kind of thing. literally a little books short books. very manageable digestible by young people i would recommend. heavy dose of that kind of thing. thank you. this is this is your bread. yeah, right and i take a shot this. yeah. i'll take a shot. that's so i would avoid all secondary sources. i would say go ahead and go to the primary sources with all of
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it get into the us documents. i mean, those are readily available online a variety of places and really scaffold as reading so that the students can actually, you know, get deep into those primary source documents and start sourcing those documents and doing close reading of the documents and collaborating with the corroborating those documents and all the things that you need to do. so avoid the secondary sources and really get into the primary sources the unfiltered primary sources. we love those, okay. i think this is very powerful recommendation of it. we wasn't i would say this however thinking about that age and the question of teaching you we have a tendency in the modern american view over that active. and i embrace god's daughter says his perspective. that's the age when they are most obsessed with challenging and questioning things and what you should be teaching them with logic. paul comes over here.
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yeah, joe. can i mentioned something? story is the younger people and i think i agree with you, but i'm very excited sherman and i mean the fish catch them so okay just me. this is what i'm probably what i've always done wrong about if you just read the mayflower compact and have no other supporting information. it's hard to draw from there the kinds of things that we're drawing from it tonight because we are ringing it about with and we haven't given a sort of presentation the story i i'm tempted to to say we should do that, but i guess we can assume all of you know, most of the story. but i think that's what it's the interaction between the text and the context. that is the most meaningful way
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to my mind to purchase. so while i'm not at all opposed to plunging into primary sources, i think without some kind of narrative account surrounding them and being the third frame of the picture. you're not going to be able to get as much i particularly younger people, but i defer to your greater experience and comparative reasons events when isolation people with identical and say is this that it is a mistake. i have felt and ggpu to try to teach them what to think. yes, it's a big mistake our attempt to create narratives too much all of the category of say here's what you must think. yeah, and we fall into that effect. it was going to send them the other direction. yes. yeah. i don't think these narratives should be esaux fables. i think they go. we saw stables are well. yeah, but that's pretty zydacty joe and i can tell you in a worry about that is all they
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worked because they capture which you've already know. it's not that festival. well, that's another story. i'll tell you another day. yeah. okay great stories don't need to have a point a didactic. they carry young people along simply by the force of their flow and and they're in interest. eric patterson, you're going to jump in there tim scott thomas got something i think well, i'll go back to what dr. allen said is, you know. starting out with some primary sources in a compelling question associated with that that those primary sources really framing that inquiry is the way to approach it and and i think you're right. i think eventually students start to develop their own interpretations and we cannot provide that interpretation form a lot of times. we need to have them pull that out and question them and make sure that they understand the source as well.
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i would simply say that we have a high school curriculum that's free. it's five lessons on religious liberty that are tied to key themes but it also rooted in the work of martin luther king jr. and others and a junior high version of that's called the america's first freedom curriculum. they can download from the religious freedom institute website. it's at the 11th grade level like your text, but after in february or march, we'll publish a eighth grade version of that. that'll be freely available it ties some of these things. like to illustrate this if we say they're going to read physically 19 project says george washington bought the revolution because he wanted to keep his legs. there's no antidote to that other than george washington's own words and 1783. and what motivated means to heal with a civil and religious liberty. yes. that's what they need to see if you don't need me to tell them they need to be there and meet george washington beautifully said let the text speak.
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let me speak. i got a question from our virtual audience. i'm glad you're here. almost can you speak to the effect that the mayflower compact had on roger williams and the founding of rhode island, you know great hayden for religious liberty there right? i see that as something against religious freedom. that's your understanding left about a question. can you speak to the effect? they may feel come back had on roger williams and the founding of rhode island? is there a connection? well, yeah, the one thing i say about roger williams that's been well documented for instance in that biography of him by i think it's john berry. is that right is when you when you look at roger williams, what is often missed is his early life in his early adult life in the united kingdom. so for instance, he was the personal secretary to oliver cromwell. so he saw what was going on in england and the the political divisions and they're really all so class divisions that that led
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to the conflicts that later we talk about is the the round heads and the cavaliers. he was right there in the star chamber watching some of that before he comes to the massachusetts bay colony, and i think i'm speaking kind of where would i best get at the early history of roger williams? i wouldn't go to the mayflower compact in my understanding i would start there. right. yeah, right you go ahead. i was going to say it's important to remember the mayflower compact was never a legally binding form of government. it initiated a civil party, but it remained to construct the government and its legal foundation. so by 16 1640s the body of liberties is when they begin to setting whole set for the terms of relationship. politically speaking. that has more to do with roger williams and the mayflower compact does. i got a question here from our on-site audience. it's a big one for bill mcclay.
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are there historic examples of a civilization surviving and recovering from an elite that hates? the civilization is a little too targeted. it's got some punch to it. well love i i the part about the relief that hates its civilization hits it little difficult to to respond to but i think that when the fastest i think things about the history of rome. is that the extent to which rome? oh, i mean there's a sort of way that we understand rob was falling and it's something sort of different happens brett. rome is transformed into the the of these western christianity.
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and christians were the despise minority. little by little because of their personal example more than anything begin to where their way weave their way into the social structure of roman society to the point, whereby the time i mean diet lesion is sort of relaxed attempt to get rid of them and then constantine comes to to power he is himself. converted some debate about how just how christianity was, but but he makes the religion acceptable and it really does become the official religion and it's transforms realms out of its decadence into something. that same leading edge of what would be a very disorganized with vibrant medieval era of and so onwards i don't know whether that's really the example of the
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questions but looking for it. i think we're looking for some hope it wasn't much of the states could turn itself. there is a warning embedded in the question though isn't there. i mean if you think about the french revolution the elites who are running the revolution ropes beer and company they do reject what has come before right? it's a fierce rejection not only of the monarchy but also the church and all the traditions that came before so the immediately alienate themselves from over half the population you get the bloody french revolution you get the guillotine and then you get the pulley that didn't end. well, we know that the thing about the americans that's so impressive though, which is so hopeful in my mind. is that the american revolutionary do not reject everything that comes before they're building on this earlier tradition it restore away and maybe that's something to talk about here just for a minute here gentlemen what they're are holding on to take it up past the mayflower right up to the american revolutionaries who are mindful of this mayflower experience. what are they holding on to even as they're they're going in some radical directions with the revolution. we understand that they end the
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monarchy, there's no national church. that's pretty radical stuff, but they're holding on to this is good. i think that's fundamentally, you know, we we always see there's that famous dialogue with the revolutionary veteran. i forget his name, but it was asked to you know, why don't you go to war. were you influenced by reading sydney? and so guys it never heard of them exist. what we the reason we went after those red codes was that we had always rolled ourselves and they were they were intent that we wouldn't anymore. so that's why we went after so that it's it's a tradition of self-rule it evolved. fundamental rights inherited rights as englishman that were being abrogated through all the events of the 17th season 7. yes, so i think it's it's it's that and and the religious element that i think it's really important that we talk about with mayflower compact is less.
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evident but not absent not by any means. yes, dr. allen that you were ready to say something. well, we're gonna disagree with my friend and colleague. i don't think it was the rights of english bible the conference to the american family. i think they were slightly that is a different point that you seeing yourself conscious that they were making the right. and they were principles they were worthy. and yes, i said no taxation without a representation, which is a ziploc before in england. but they actually understood it in different way. they have caused the constitutional challenge to the british constitution as self-consciously did so so that there will be fair as a set of sale on overseas uncharted waters politically immoraly speaking. they were not being cold and nearly to the division himself rule. i understand. they've been told no makes that argument that they were prepared to self-government. i think that part is true, but they were in affirming the past.
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they were not discarded him to be sure that they were observing the past why because they have a special confidence in the god-given rights of humankind and they were referring that and that took president over everything else the idea that he was being were capable of self-government. that's not preservative of anything in english. that is something specifically inferred if we context of the revolution it carries a whole moral weight of the purpose of the revolution in the whole freedom of conscience is embedded in it. and do you think it's present in the mayflower compact and the in the pilgrims as well? no, not in that sense that he ref will beyond that was before the content has was a commitment to civil policy. it is not yet surface. for example the overriding importance of the beautiful conscience. yes, the exercise of they have not assertive and defended it in
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those terms the fundamental christian foundation of the freedom of conscience is what were found was recognized. as i said in some of my rights america is a christian nation because of the freedom of conscience. it doesn't matter there any christians in it? because that is basically the christian principles. you can't get it any other way. that's what was happening. that was the revolution. and if you don't understand that we're going to short change ourselves. i attempts agree. i would say this going back to the compact, you know, if we lack when we're teaching it to really recognize the religious elements of it and the plurality of it part of the problem with interpretations in the classroom of the american revolution is that the founders got most of their ideas if not all of their ideas from the enlightenment philosophers. and that really comes from that.
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and there might be some understanding of the gray awakening as being someone important, but it's really just very brief and really points all the way back just to the enlightenment philosophy. and i think that really short changes our students on the importance of religious traditions in our nation. can i just pick up on this on this point and it's it's simply that so how did these people think that they had agency? rather than a fatalistic which is much of human history kind of the gods do it or it's out of our control that comes from these ideas that come through the reformation and that is that the separatists the pilgrims are part of ordered liberty is the idea of this conscience, but it's before god and it assumes a natural moral order again not chaos, not moral chaos, and so these religious underpinnings that are become this cultural foundation. you don't get there some other way.
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it doesn't happen by chance. it's rooted in some of these religious presuppositions from the christian faith at the time and i've heard what you just said twice today. the earlier time was by my colleague at the religious freedom institute who heads are islam and religious freedom action team is male royer. he made the same case to me after an event that we had on antisemitism today that these values in the american cultural context came from christianity, but that they're now universal. well, yes that precisely what how did it. virtual because they came to prevail to the force of their instantiation in the united states as a whole. yeah, that's how we became you. yeah diversity became universal because we're standing in camp university. it was the religion that managed to spread through the world without using the sword and i know them crusades. i know they're inquisitions. that's not on christianity spread as a big the friendly
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outsourced and then when it took this concrete form in a culture and a political structure that needed to thrust in the world, which was carried forward after 1648 and the treaty of asteria the rise of the nation state that james the whole foundation of human relationships, no longer tribe no longer blood no longer religion. the politics have been put in a cab. the nation-state now had to justify itself. it couldn't. as it were given the scientifically by the pope or anybody else. it had in fact it worked with people. well, every brand is own full and that's the foundation it had to work on in that pain is concrete reality through the founding of the united states. that's the revolution. i think it's really important to having this discussion about freedom of conscience and religious liberty because as you
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guys know that principle freedom of conscience is under assault in ways that none of us on this stage i think have ever seen at least in our memories, so it's good to have the discussion, isn't it? we got more questions here. go ahead. who didn't believe and destroyed multi-scure philosophy he described a sin and carthage going to rome to accuse animal thinking they were defending correct doing exactly the all the destroyed it and what is a count of that was reciting. those are reits hated their country and couldn't save it because of that and guess what there is no carthage today. how we doing on time? yeah about 10 more minutes. okay. couple more questions here guys. how do we reclaim these stories? we tell ourselves about ourselves and preserve our national identity that arose
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from them. i'll say it again. how do we reclaim the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves and preserve our national danny that arose from them and maybe the backdrop of that question is we've got so many sources in society telling us a different story about ourselves, but i think there's a lot of love there are a lot of lies out there about about our nation. stream, but how do we reclaim the stories? how do you recommend we go about it? well, i think one thing that we do is we don't in story of the stories become stale that they're told at the same way again and again and again, i mean the first ones tempted to give a first response to your question saying well, we need to tell the stories stories but i think as in all things even the bible i think has to be freshly appropriated by each generation there are and there are different things that we find to be of node in the past different
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very variations of the story that that become part of the way we want to tell them and we want to be accountable to what we actually know about by way of evidence about to make things up the way nicole hannah jones has done and the way some very well people have done. in their accounts of early america on a more positive dimension and activism slavery and indian removal of things but weren't part of our history. we have have to contend with those but so i think i think a fresh. retelling, which is something that i welcome, you know, i've done a little bit of it myself is one way to do that because if the story it continues to be a story about us it can it can bear within itself all the resources of various ways of telling the story because it
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still our story. yeah because all of the event gives it life all of these gentlemen involved in that task in some way and trying to tell that story so maybe just practice a little bit more fresh ways. to tell story we tell ourselves about who we are you i love to build the story. yeah. well, you know, how about this is my story. this is my song thank you by saying here all day first, of course is that the story gets built into you. and you don't want to escape. so you live it you don't tell it. i love to tell the story. because it's true. you live it. and it's living it out that transmitted. this is not the relating. the idea that we talk ourselves
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into virtue. is a presentation of session that we have that is simply unjustified. wake up all ourselves in the virtue. virtue is what we do not what we talk about. and yes, it was having expectations. is important therefore to be able to convey especially the rising generations that they should perform at high levels and they should respond to moral demands. so that's not returning stories. let's say shake well do the right thing. be a 10. all of those common injunctions with shape character we were industries as we walked forward to we want justice. we don't want to believe. but at the bottom era we tend to think that the meats convey agencies.
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and by doing that we actually are enrolling. the moral foundations themselves, and we don't understand it. we're doing yoga starters. well observe how very religious people were seduced into talking about their values. rather than great. not understanding where this very term values came from. and that what it means is that your faith, if only a belief is nothing more. let me give somebody equipped on a chance because even wanting to responding my friend looks like over there. we're gonna go to a quick little video clip but jump in. yeah just say this, you know as a teacher when i first started teaching i was the sage on the stage telling everybody the story, you know, and the story how i interpreted it and of course and i found that the story didn't stick very well with the students at that point and what really stuck with the students is when we start unpacking primary sources, they start weighing those sources and
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they start interpreting those source and i helped them way the sources and then they take that story on for themselves. maybe in the beautiful way the bill allen did and communicating a kind of empathy historical empathy as your beautifully did taking us into the life of this man on them on the mayflower in a way that you know, we hardly ever do anymore back then and that's telling a story. i i profoundly agree with everything. built and and i do think that it indicates the importance of stories you think of that story stories are different from preaching precepts, you know, polonius, you know, tell us laterities, you know, all these very sound pieces of advice start with the last minute as he's about to leave is what makes it a comic scene, but amber but but that it what and shakespeare would have agreed with this state whether that
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that things like plutarch's law biographies of famous and great individuals that that we about and we think hi, i want to emulate that person. i you know that that's different from the kind of precepts mongering that bill was talking about but it is something that is a sort of a middle ground being between precepts and behavior and i think that the stories can can have that inspirational effect that because we want to imitate. yes greatness when we see it it draws us magnetically. yes. i need to see incarnated don't we? yeah, but okay. we've got a very short clip of video clip running through history over here clip as an introduction to the mayflower compact project that heritage has undertaken in collaboration with our viso. i think we're ready to see that clip. yes.
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hi, i'm dave stotts from drive-through history. the mayflower compacts was written by the pilgrims some 400 years ago remarkably that short document laid the foundation for key american principles such as the rule of law property rights and religious liberties. to unpack this amazing story. let's head to where it all began. plymouth, massachusetts with no king appointed person on board the mayflower with authority to take charge of plymouth colony.
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the pilgrims gave themselves authority and created their own government. they wrote the mayflower compact. the pilgrims called it a civil body politic a foundation for political liberty. they created a political community of equals. we've made a promise to one another we are going to abide by the laws that we ourselves will write in the future. they were establishing a world in which economic relationships were based on contract private property and economic freedom. just an equal loss. the mayflower compact was a truly unique document for that time in history. human beings are by nature free and that implies and indefinitely wide space to do many things including economic things. the mayflower compact helped establish principles of religious liberty and tolerance
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in the founding of america. the mayflower compacts. it's principles inspired the founding of the united states as a free republic undergirding a system of political economy. that would enable america to become the freest and most prosperous nation on earth. okay, lots of resources. yeah, right. lots of resources available in there. there's an ebook a curriculum god a teacher's guide all kinds of resources. we working on i think eric closes off with some closing remarks, but i want to first all let's have another round of applause for this all star panel and the discussion. i never get invited to be on the all-star panels for obvious reasons, but i get the least moderate bills our panel. so it's great being with you
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guys terrific discussion. eric take it away. sure. i've just closed by first thanking our our team of sponsors tonight the museum of the bible the religious freedom institute, and of course heritage foundation, so thanks to the leadership from all three of those for making this possible and tonight we started with the idea that ideas have consequences. we've heard about bad ideas like the revolution and the consequences that flowed from that and that kind of revolutionism we found in the russian revolution the chinese revolution. it happened in cambodia and again and again the things that tear down rather than build up and some of the projects that we've talked about tonight are exactly that they tear down then build up and i think a closing framework is to think about e pluribus unum out of many one and these stories that we've been talking about tonight are about how the pilgrims and other
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seeds after the mayflower compact the charter of the commonwealth the virginia. later the constitution of massachusetts written by john adams. the twelve documents before the declaration of independence and then the declaration of independence. the us constitution the speeches of lincoln the reflections of jefferson and on and on and on tr fdr jfk ronald reagan that there's a set of seeds and those seeds are in civil society as well. they're in our poets and in our artists and in our statesmen, but they're also in our churches and then our families and there's this consistent theme about individual agency individual responsibility the fundamental right of the individual to seek transcendent truth and to live their life and to raise their family in that religious liberty and on and on and on and i think that that
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binding narrative that we could have today that's not divisive but rather it's creative. it's in the good sense progressive to use your word from where we started tonight is if we return to this idea of a shared american identity that within that is diverse and rich and vibrant, but it's committed to these central truths of respect for the other and those things come from these religious roots that go all the way back. to what was near and dear to the pilgrims in their religious understanding of what makes us human? and what makes and and why humanity is a shared enterprise e pluribus uno. well again, thank you all for being with us tonight and help me. thank joe in our panelists one more time. during a recent virtual program hosted by the us capitol historical society historian and best-selling author joseph ellis looked at how the founding fathers can provide wisdom for navigating today society. the founders were brilliant and
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gifted. but they were flawed. um, they succeeded triumphantly in many respects. they could imagine and successfully bring off winning a war against the dominant military power on the planet at that moment great britain, and if you think about it, how many wars did great britain lose between 1750 and 1950? one they could imagine a nation-sized republic it never existed before. they could imagine. the separation of church and state the creation of a secular society from the point of view of government authority that had never happened before either. and finally a principle that political scientists think is crucial and an invention of the creation of the family the doctrine of federalism. meaning that they're shared sovereignty there's no single
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source of sovereignty in the american republic which everyone up from aristotle forward thought you had to have. all those were great triumphs and admits the triumphs. there are two enormous tragedies. one is the failure to reach a just accommodation with the native americans and the other is the failure to end slavery watch the full program and thousands more at c-span.org/history. good evening everybody. i'm betsy fischer martin the executive director of the women in politics institute at american university and welcome to our virtual series women on wednesdays. we are glad that you could join us if those of you need to our events wpi is a nonprofit and nonpartisan institute in au school of public affairs that aims to close the gender gap in political leadership and we offer academic

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