Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation is an extraordinary speech from a president who was not otherwise known for his oratory. Much attention has been paid to Eisenhower’s warning about the power of the “military-industrial complex”: in other words, a pattern of collaboration between the armed services and defense contractors that could steer the federal government toward spending colossal amounts on weapons systems that it did not need.
What often goes unnoticed, although just as noteworthy, is his equally strong warning about the influence of a “scientific-technological elite.” Since the dawn of the Progressive Era at the start of the twentieth century, a close relationship had developed between major universities and governments at all levels. An early example of this is the so-called “Wisconsin Idea,” in which the University of Wisconsin served as a gigantic think-tank for Governor Robert M. La Follette’s efforts to reform his state. By the 1950s something similar was occurring on a national scale, with universities furnishing governments with ideas, expertise, and the latest technological advances. Governments, meanwhile, reciprocated by offering massive research grants and prestigious positions in various agencies and bureaus. President Eisenhower’s fear was that this alliance could eventually corrupt both parties: academics risked losing their intellectual freedom and creativity in their quest for government jobs and money, while university-affiliated technocrats might so dominate the policymaking process that the ordinary citizen would feel pushed to the margins. Far from being merely an admonition against out-of-control military budgets, then, the president was taking aim at something even larger–the basic structure of the modern Progressive state.
John Moser, Associate Professor of History, Ashland University
Read the document:
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address
More than seventy-five years after the presidential electoral contest between Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, we are still wrestling with the public policy debate they inaugurated: what government should do for the domestic economy and quality of life of the American people, and which level and which branch of government should do it. Whereas Hoover saw the New Deal as a “challenge to liberty” and to the American system of limited federal government and robust individual responsibility, FDR, by contrast, envisioned the New Deal as an opportunity to establish “freedom from fear” and save democratic capitalism from destruction. This lecture explores these two different and competing narratives of what it means to be an American.
Gordon Lloyd is Professor of Public Policy in the graduate School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He has written and lectured extensively on the moral and intellectual foundations of political economy, particularly with respect to the fate of classical liberalism. He has edited three books on the American Founding and is the author and designer of our comprehensive websites on the creation and adoption of American Constitution.
On March 4, 1789, the Constitution of the United States went into effect as the first Federal Congress convened in New York City. At the time, there was still one of the original thirteen states that had not yet ratified the document. To find out which one, go to the interactive map on our website, The Ratification of the Constitution.
Check out the plentiful list of resources at the EDSITEment website.
Among these, you’ll find a link to a National Portrait Gallery site that explains the origin and significance of the Seneca Falls Convention. Held in July of 1848 and organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, it was the first women’s rights convention in American history. Stanton drew up the “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” that defined the aims of the meeting, and she closely modeled her document after the nation’s own founding document, the Declaration of Independence.
Ashland University’s master’s program in American History and Government is designed with high school teachers in mind. Courses are offered only during the summers, and you may earn the degree in as little as three summers of intensive coursework. If you already have a master’s degree or would simply like to obtain additional CEUs, you may also attend specific courses for continuing education credit. Uniquely, the program engages in the substantive study of history and government. All courses emphasize the use of primary historical documents. Learn more about the program.
A sample course in the MAHG program: Great American Texts: Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Long dismissed as a condescending account of African-American experience, Uncle Tom’s Cabin has lately “re-entered the canon,” says Professor Bill Allen, who will teach a course on the novel during Session Five (July 18-23). Allen, who is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Michigan State University, first began work on his own ground-breaking study of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Re-Thinking Uncle Tom: The Political Philosophy of H.B. Stowe (2008), back in the 1970s. He’d like to think the renewed interest in Stowe has occurred “because I was doing this work,” but in fact, it is a happy accident. “The feminists decided to reclaim” Stowe, he laughingly admits.
Allen’s course will focus on Uncle Tom’s Cabin but comment on several other of writings, after first establishing a context for the discussion. “The course will begin by reviewing Frederick Douglass’s powerful question, ‘What country have I?’ and then examine the political, religious, and cultural contexts in which Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written. The goal is to understand just how Stowe came to formulate her ideas and why she had the impact on American society that she did,” Allen says. Finally, the course will consider “whether the philosophical ideas that informed Stowe’s work bear any direct responsibility” for the political events that unfolded after she wrote.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin had a powerful influence on American history. As Allen explains, the book brought a national crisis of conscience to the fore, giving people in parlor rooms across America a way of speaking directly about the moral problem of slavery instead of only “indirectly, about the politics of slavery.”
The application for the 2010 Presidential Academy is now open. It is a program unlike any other that will lead secondary school teachers in a careful study of the pivotal turning points in American history memorialized by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the “I Have a Dream” speech. Participating teachers will spend five days in Philadelphia, six days in Gettysburg, and five days in Washington, DC, studying the American Revolution and Founding, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement, respectively. Participants may choose to earn four hours of Master’s degree credit from Ashland University. This credit can be applied to the Master of American History and Government degree program offered by Ashland University or may be transferred to another institution.
Sixty teachers will be accepted–one from each state, one each from the District of Columbia and a US territory, and eight at-large candidates. The Presidential Academy will be available at no cost to participants, and each will receive a $1,500 stipend to cover the cost of time and travel. The program takes place between Sunday, July 11 and Thursday, July 29, 2010. The deadline for applications is March 15. Please don’t hesitate to apply and spread the word. The application is available on-line at www.PresidentialAcademy.org.
The Presidential Academy’s sister program, the Congressional Academy for American History and Civics, will lead current high school juniors in a careful study of the pivotal turning points in American history memorialized by the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the “I Have a Dream” speech. Participating students will spend two weeks in Washington, DC, with day trips to Philadelphia and Gettysburg, studying the American Revolution and Founding, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights movement. All hotel, meal and tour expenses are paid by the Academy and each student will receive a travel reimbursement of up to $500. Participants will receive 3 hours of college credit from Ashland University. This credit can be used toward a degree offered by Ashland University or may be transferred to another institution.
Two students from each state and from the District of Columbia, and ten students from the nation at large, will be selected to participate. The program takes place from Sunday, June 27, 2010 to Friday, July 9, 2010. Applications are due April 1; please don’t hesitate to spread the word. The application is available on-line at www.CongressionalAcademy.org.
The Bill of Rights Institute invites you to apply for their new Founders Fellowship Program.
Founders Fellows will convene in Washington, D.C. on July 6, 2010 for an all-expenses paid multi-day educational program. During the program, Founders Fellows will participate in lectures, discussions, and scholar-led visits to historic sites including Mount Vernon, the National Archives, Gunston Hall, Monticello, and Montpelier.
Promising social studies teachers, grades 7-12, who have been teaching for five years or fewer, will be selected for this program. Early career teachers from all around the country are encouraged to apply. Twenty top teachers, representing 20 states will be selected to participate.
For more information on the program and application requirements please visit www.BillofRightsInstitute.org/Fellows. All application materials must be submitted by 5:00 PM EST on March 24, 2010.
A pocket-sized booklet that holds key texts of the American founding, including the Declaration of Independence and the entire text of the US Constitution and its amendments, as well as key primary texts interpreting these. Copies of the booklet are available for $1.00 each. A 10% discount is available for purchases of 25 or more.
To order, call (877) 289-5411 or visit our website.