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The Great Conversation: Freedom and Equality in the American Political Tradition

This course will examine the concepts of freedom and equality in the American political tradition. We start with a discussion of the Founders’ understanding of human equality and the idea that all human beings are created equally free. We will then turn to an examination of the great debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas on the meaning of equality, liberty, and self-government. Additional classes will focus on the political thought of Frederick Douglass, and the issues of freedom of religion and freedom of speech in the American constitutional tradition.