Predicaments of the New Republic: America, 1789–1820

Thursday, November 3, 2011
7:00–8:30 p.m. (EST) Enter Classroom Enter Forum


Scott E. Casper

Professor of History
University of Nevada, Reno
National Humanities Center Fellow

About the Seminar

In the three decades after the American Revolution, the identity of the new nation remained far from settled. American writers and politicians asserted that the United States differed from Europe, but they disagreed about how. Did the American people possess a new national character? If they did, what was it, and on what was it based? What threats did the new nation face? What policies and practices would best ensure its survival? And how would a nation founded on the principle that “all men are created equal” address the contradictions of its own inequalities?

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Assigned Readings

  1. The Apotheosis of Washington
  2. Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801 and Letter to John Holmes, 1820. Notes and discussion questions.
  3. Noah Webster, Oration on the Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, 1802. Notes and discussion questions.

Seminar Recording