Please note: all colloquia scheduled for June and July 2020 have been postponed to 2021.

If you were selected as an attendee, you should have received details in your email. If not, please email [email protected] for more information.


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

Tucson, AZ |  June 8-10

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.

The Political Theory of the American Founding

Las Vegas, NV | June 15–17

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 to the The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, which offers a view of organized crime from vintage Las Vegas to the back alleys of American cities.

Alexander Hamilton: The Indispensable Founder

Alexandria, VA | June 19–21

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.

Jefferson and the American Founding

Ticonderoga, NY | July 1–3

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.

[CANCELED] Creating a New Government: James Madison and the Constitution

Montpelier, VA | July 20–22 OR August 3–5

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

Dallas, TX | July 29–31

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.

[CANCELED] The American Founding: Creating the Presidency

New Orleans, LA | August 5–7

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.

[CANCELED] Alexander Hamilton: The Indispensable Founder

Philadelphia , PA | August 7–9

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.

This seminar includes a tour of the Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia’s newest museum, which explores the story of the American Revolution through its unmatched collection of Revolutionary-era weapons, personal items, documents, and works of art.

The American Founding and First Principles

Williamsburg, VA | August 12–14 OR August 14–16

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.

Liberty and Equality in the American Founding

Omaha, NE | September 11–13

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

Valley Forge, PA | September 18–20 OR November 13–15

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

Bucks County, PA | September 25–27

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.

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

Tulsa, OK | October 9–11

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.

Jefferson and the American Founding

San Diego, CA | October 16–18

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 will include a tour of the USS Midway Museum, a historical naval aircraft carrier museum located at the Navy Pier, which houses an extensive collection of aircraft, many of which were built in Southern California.

The Political Theory of the American Founding

Northampton, MA | October 30–November 1

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

Kansas City, MO | November 20–22

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

Valley Forge, PA | December 4–6

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
  • Teachers who attended a TAH.org Liberty Fund weekend during the 2019-2020 school year are not eligible to apply for these seminars.

Applications for the 2020 colloquia have closed.

Please check back for information on our 2021 schedule later this fall.

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.