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The Roots of the American Political Order

This course will explore the moral, religious, philosophical, and intellectual foundations of the American civic tradition. Following Russell Kirk and others, we will look at the five formative “cities” that have given rise to the American experience of ordered liberty: Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and Philadelphia. America at its best brought together biblical wisdom, classical philosophy and prudence, Roman law, British constitutionalism, and the humane liberal republicanism of the American founders. That tradition is at once open to freedom and truth and draws upon both conservative and liberal wisdom. From Moses and Aristotle to the moderate Enlightenment of Montesquieu, from Solon and Cicero to Burke and Lincoln, this is a civic inheritance worthy of careful study and of critical appreciation and even gratitude.