Applications for new Colloquia will reopen in Fall 2021

Many Colloquia for 2021 have been postponed until 2022. Please see below for specific seminar dates.


With the support of our donors, Teaching American History is proud to continue offering free multi-day colloquia for social studies teachers. These residential programs allow teachers of American history and government to explore the themes of liberty and responsibility throughout America’s history and constitutional tradition.


Controversy, Consensus, and Compromise in the American Founding  POSTPONED

Tucson, AZ | June 7-9

Discussion Leader: Adam Seagrave

The American Founding is alternately hallowed as a miraculous moment of inspiration, and criticized as a vague set of mundane compromises. We will explore and discuss the specific points of controversy, important agreements in principle, and crucial moments of compromise that animated the debates and discussions of the American Founding Era.

The seminar will include a tour to the Pima Air & Space Museum, one of the largest aviation and space museums in the world, featuring over 350 historical aircrafts.

Alexander Hamilton: The Indispensable Founder

Alexandria, VA | June 11–13 POSTPONED

Discussion Leader: Steve Knott

This seminar will examine the impact of Alexander Hamilton on the American Founding. While Hamilton served as the first treasury secretary, his reach extended well beyond financial matters as he became George Washington’s indispensable advisor, creating institutions which launched the United States on the path to becoming a world power.

Included will be a visit to Mount Vernon, the historic home of George Washington. View the iconic mansion, the grounds, and the museum, in our first president’s home on the banks of the Potomac River.

Slaves and Rebels in Colonial America  POSTPONED

St. Augustine, FL | June 14–16

Discussion Leader: Cara Rogers

This seminar will explore some of the colonial era’s most important legal, political, and physical fights over the nature of freedom. We will begin by reading primary documents from New England and the Chesapeake in order to trace the origins of both American racism and American abolitionism. Then, we will investigate the mysteries surrounding the Stono slave revolt that took place near Charlestown, SC, in 1739.

Included will be a visit to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument: built by the Spanish to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, the museum preserves the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and interprets more than 450 years of cultural intersections.

Civil Rights, the Great Society, and Backlash POSTPONED

Austin, TX | June 16–18

Discussion Leader: Eric Pullin

This seminar covers the Great Society and Johnson’s efforts on behalf of civil rights. It also explores how LBJ’s foreign policies (both in Europe and Vietnam) affected his presidency and American society.

This seminar will include a tour of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum which houses 45 million pages of historical documents, as well as more than 54,000 objects donated by the President and Mrs. Johnson, their family, close friends, associates, and the American people.

Faith and Freedom in Colonial America  POSTPONED

Winston-Salem, NC | June 18–20

Discussion Leader: Sarah A. Morgan Smith

In this seminar, we will explore how the intersections of religious cultures (Catholic, Protestant, and indigenous African and native) and imperial conflicts and priorities provided shape and context for European colonization of North America, paying special attention to the ways arguments for and the pursuit of religious liberty relate to arguments for and the pursuit of political liberty.

This seminar will include a tour of the Old Salem Museums & Gardens: a living history museum that interprets the area of Winston-Salem originally settled by the Moravian community in 1766.

The Political Theory of the American Founding POSTPONED

Santa Fe, NM | June 21–23

Discussion Leader: Jason Jividen

In this multi-session seminar, through a careful examination of primary source documents, we will discuss the fundamental principles and political institutions of the American Founding. We will try to understand the manner in which the Founding generation sought to secure liberty and stability though a sufficiently energetic and republican national government.

This seminar will include a tour of the Palace of Governors: originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s seat of government for what is today the American Southwest, the museum chronicles the history of Santa Fe, as well as New Mexico and the region.

Wilson and World War I   POSTPONED

Staunton, VA | June 23–25

Discussion Leader: John Moser

Under Woodrow Wilson the United States became directly involved in a European war for the first time in its history. Through an examination of primary documents from the period 1914 to 1919 we will consider how this happened, and why it was important. How committed was Wilson to neutrality from 1914 to 1917, and why did he finally decide to abandon it? What were his ideas for the postwar world, and what role did he envision for the United States in that world?

This seminar will include a tour of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum which includes seven galleries which explore Wilson’s early years, his eventful presidency, suffrage, prohibition and World War I.

Jefferson and the American Founding  POSTPONED

Ticonderoga, NY | June 30–July 2

San Diego, CA | October 22-24

Discussion Leader: David Tucker

Covering the period from the American Revolution through the election of 1800, this seminar will explore Jefferson’s role in the creation of the American republic. The seminar will include a detailed examination of the conflict between Jefferson and Hamilton.

This seminar includes a visit to Fort Ticonderoga, which preserves 2,000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched Revolutionary War era earthworks surviving in America.

Creating a New Government: James Madison and the Constitution   POSTPONED

Montpelier, VA | July 19–21 OR August 2–4

Discussion Leader: Todd Estes

This seminar investigates the roles played by James Madison in advocating for, helping to create, and then ratifying the 1787 Constitution and his subsequent efforts in the new government to put the new Constitutional system into practice after 1789. Readings will consist of extensive primary source writings by Madison as well as excerpts from key secondary historical accounts.

Included will be a visit to Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison. The Montpelier estate features the mansion, garden, historic buildings, exhibits, archaeological sites, and forest trails.

Liberty and Equality in the American Founding  POSTPONED

Dallas, TX | July 28–30

Discussion Leader: Jeremy Bailey

The Declaration of Independence says that governments are instituted in order to secure rights. In this two day seminar, we will examine about thirty of the most important documents from the Founding period to ask how and whether the Constitution secures rights. We will also discuss the meaning of equality and liberty as understood by the Founding generation.

This seminar will include a tour of the Sixth Floor Museum, one of Texas’ most visited historic sites, which chronicles the life, death and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.

The American Founding: Creating the Presidency POSTPONED

New Orleans, LA | August 4–6

Discussion Leader: Jim Stoner

How did the American Revolution, made in the name of republicanism against a British monarch, issue in the invention of the American president, who appears to be a sort of republican king? What did the Founders expect of the presidency, and are those expectations being met or betrayed in twenty-first century America?

This seminar will include a tour of the National WWII Museum, which features immersive exhibits, multimedia experiences, and an expansive collection of artifacts and first-person oral histories, taking visitors inside the story of the war that changed the world.

Apples of Gold in a Frame of Silver: The Declaration and Constitution Together and in Context POSTPONED

Philadelphia, PA | August 6–8

Discussion Leader: Lauren Hall

This seminar investigates the links between the political theory of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that resulted from that act. The seminar will explore a range of documents from the founding, including letters, philosophical tracts, and commentary on the rights and duties of citizens and colonists to understand the way in which the theory of the Declaration informed and influenced the structure and content of the final Constitution.

Participants will visit the Museum of the American Revolution​ as part of the seminar, placing these documents within their historical context.

The American Founding

Williamsburg, VA | August 6–8 OR August 13–15

Discussion Leader: David Alvis

This multi-day seminar will focus on teaching the first principles of the American Founding and the original documents that embody them, especially the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. At the heart of our discussion will be a close examination of the writings of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington.

This seminar includes a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. This 18th-century city is the world’s largest living history museum, boasting over forty sites and trades, four historic taverns, and two world-class art museums.

From Brown v. Board to Little Rock and Beyond: School Desegregation and the Civil Rights Movement POSTPONED

Little Rock, AR | August 11-13

Discussion Leader: David Krugler

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Supreme Court ruling was a landmark decision, but as the 1957 showdown at Little Rock’s Central High School showed, enforcing the decision’s Constitutional mandate required the dedication and courage of ordinary heroes–young African Americans, their parents, and allies–determined to earn an equal education opportunity. The Little Rock Nine succeeded in desegregating Central High, but is that the end of the story?

In this seminar featuring a visit to the National Historic Site at Central High, we will use a variety of primary sources to learn about and discuss the legal campaign of the NAACP to put school segregation before the Supreme Court, the Constitutional issues of the cases, the effort to enforce Brown in Little Rock, and the long, difficult effort to desegregate schools elsewhere in the United States after Little Rock.

The Adams Family: the Private and Public Lives of Four Generations POSTPONED

Boston, MA | August 13-15

Discussion Leader: Natalie Taylor

Four generations of the Adams family were rooted in Quincy granite and breathed its revolutionary atmosphere. Not only were they America’s statesmen, but they were the keepers of their family’s legacy and the historians of our nation. This seminar examines how Quincy informed each generation’s understanding of United States between 1776-1918.

The seminar will include a visit to the Adams National Historical Park, which tells the story of “heroes, statesman, philosophers … and learned women” whose ideas and actions helped to transform thirteen disparate colonies into one united nation.

Liberty and Equality in the American Founding POSTPONED

Omaha, NE | September 10–12

Discussion Leader: Jeremy Bailey

The Declaration of Independence says that governments are instituted in order to secure rights. In this two day seminar, we will examine about thirty of the most important documents from the Founding period to ask how and whether the Constitution secures rights. We will also discuss the meaning of equality and liberty as understood by the Founding generation.

This seminar includes a tour of the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, founded by President Abraham Lincoln. Explore more than 150 years of history through unique artifacts, precious photos and several interactive digital displays.

The Founding and the Jefferson Enigma POSTPONED

Valley Forge, PA | September 17–19 OR November 12–14

Discussion Leader: Eric Sands

Thomas Jefferson is one of the most famous figures of the American founding generation, yet he left behind an intellectual legacy wrought with confusion and contradiction. From his opinions on the Constitution and race and slavery, to religious liberty and toleration and education, Jefferson continues to baffle scholars looking for consistency and coherence in Jefferson’s thoughts and actions. This seminar will look at Jefferson’s ideas and principles through his writings and try to unravel some of the pieces of this enigmatic figure.

This seminar includes a visit to Valley Forge National Historical Park, the site of a Revolutionary War encampment of the Continental Army, and Washington’s Headquarters. 

The American Founding: the Fight for Ratification POSTPONED

Bucks County, PA | September 24–26

Discussion Leader: Natalie Taylor

On September 17, 1878 the Constitutional Convention concluded its work and forwarded the Constitution to the states for ratification. Debates on the size and scope of the government got underway in each of the states. This seminar examines, not only the theoretical underpinnings of the American government, but the politics that shaped those debates.

This seminar includes a visit to Old Barracks Museum, a touchstone for colonial and revolutionary history in New Jersey, that brings the world of colonial America to life through interpretive programs, exhibits, and preservation.

Abraham Lincoln, Race, and the New Birth of Freedom POSTPONED

Springfield, IL | October 13

Discussion Leader: Dan Monroe

The seminar will examine Lincoln’s speeches and letters, as well as those of select contemporaries, on emancipation, civil war, and reconstruction. We will focus on Lincoln’s consistencies and inconsistencies on race, his changing war goals, and his vision for a postwar reconstructed nation rededicated to the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

Participants will tour the Lincoln Home National Historic Site where they will get a glimpse into Lincoln’s life as a family man, as well as explore his rise as a successful lawyer and politician through the context of the Lincoln Home.

What is New and What is Old in the American Founding: How the U.S. Constitution Improved on other Republican forms of Government POSTPONED

Tulsa, OK | October 8–10

Discussion Leader: Scott Yenor

Through an examination of original sources, this seminar emphasizes how the creation of the independent republican executive, an independent judiciary, and a system of divided sovereignty set the American experiment in self-government apart from previous efforts, and how these innovations brought both stability and disruption to the American experiment.

This seminar will include a tour of the Thomas Gilcrease Institute of American History and Art, known as Gilcrease Museum, which houses a comprehensive collection of the art, culture and history of North America.

Henry Clay, the American Union, and the Causes of the Civil War

Lexington, KY | October 15–17

Discussion Leader: Andrew Lang

This seminar uses Henry Clay’s political philosophy to explore early-to- mid nineteenth-century debates on American nationalism and state sovereignty. Though Clay’s generation viewed itself the heirs of the Founding Fathers, their political debates and philosophies of American nationality established the sectional foundation that would lead to secession and civil war. This seminar will engage Clay’s views alongside his leading political contemporaries: John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson, Daniel Webster, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln.

Participants will tour AshlandThe Henry Clay Estate, a historic house museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of Henry Clay.

Race, Religion and American Politics

San Diego, CA | October 29–31

Discussion Leader: Gaston Espinosa

This seminar will explore the intersection of religion, race and American politics. It will begin by examining the influence of religion in colonial America and key Founding Fathers like Washington, Jefferson and Madison, then explore the spiritual impulse of the Black, Mexican American, and American Indian civil rights movements, and finish by examining the role of religion and race in politics and presidential elections from George W. Bush to the Present, with special attention to Catholics, Evangelicals, Latinos, and Blacks.

Participants will tour Cabrillo National Monument which commemorates the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States. In addition to telling the story of 16th century exploration, the park is home to a wealth of cultural and natural resources.

Western Histories: Old and New

St. Louis, MO | November 5–7

Discussion Leader: Greg Schneider

This seminar will emphasize the old western histories of the 19th century from Louisiana Purchase through Civil war; the railroad, developmentalism and the West; Frontier Exceptionalism and the West; culminating in a discussion of Government and the West and the New Western History, gender, race and environment.

St. Louis is the perfect place to reflect on the West in America and America as western history; participants will visit Gateway Arch National Park which serves a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.

The Political Theory of the American Founding POSTPONED

Northampton, MA | November 19–21

Discussion Leader: Jason Jividen

In this multi-session seminar, through a careful examination of primary source documents, we will discuss the fundamental principles and political institutions of the American Founding. We will try to understand the manner in which the Founding generation sought to secure liberty and stability though a sufficiently energetic and republican national government.

This seminar will include a tour of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum, which offers an intimate look at Coolidge’s long political career and his legacy.

Parties and Party Strife during the American Founding POSTPONED

Kansas City, MO | November 19-21

Discussion Leader: Joseph Postell

People tend to conclude that the American Founders were opposed to political parties, and that they would be appalled at today’s partisanship. Yet our Founders were also the creators of our first political parties, and they engaged in partisan politics that was often acrimonious. This seminar will examine the paradox of parties in the American Founding and what it means for today.

This seminar includes a visit to the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Interactive displays, thought-provoking films and eyewitness testimonies help guide visitors through one of the largest collections of WWI artifacts in the world.

The American Founding POSTPONED

Valley Forge, PA | December 3–5

Discussion Leader: David Alvis

This seminar offers an overview of the principles of the American Founding and the documents that embody them, especially the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. These principles will be illuminated through a close study of the events of the American Revolution and the struggle over ratification of the Constitution.

This seminar includes a visit to Valley Forge National Historical Park, the site of a Revolutionary War encampment of the Continental Army, and Washington’s Headquarters. 

Teachers selected to participate will have the cost of lodging, meals, and materials for the colloquia covered through the generosity of our donors. In addition, participants will receive a stipend of $300 (contingent on full attendance at program activities) to defray the cost of travel to and from the program site.

Each seminar is limited to 20 participants. Participation is based on a competitive application process. Qualifications are below.

  • Applicants must be current K-12 school teachers, with priority given to high school teachers.

Applications for the 2021 colloquia are now closed; check back in January 2022 for details on next year’s seminar.

We especially encourage teachers who have not participated in a previous Teaching American History seminar to register and are happy to address any questions you may have about the format or the readings.

Please Note: A special feature of our Multi-Day Colloquia is the historical tour or experience, which enables participants to see firsthand the places where our history was made. These tours typically involve at least a moderate amount of walking, and the nature of some historic sites precludes access by people with some disabilities or challenges in moving – for example, the mansion at Mt. Vernon involves going up and down tight, steep stairs. Most sites do not have elevators. Please take this into consideration when deciding whether or not to apply, as participation in all parts of the program is required. Contact us if you have any questions.