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American History Intensive

Agora Foundation Online Intensive - The Story of America

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America that “Nothing is more wonderful than the art of being free, but nothing is harder to learn how to use than freedom.” By most accounts, America is a profound experiment whose effect on the world cannot be overstated. Through a keen sense of destiny and a wealth of natural resources, the country has helped to transform political structures globally, as well as humankind’s vision of itself. The meaning of the “shot heard round the world" in 1775 is still unfolding, with no guarantee that a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” By varying degrees, the nation continues to strive to live up to its principles, and the struggle for equality for all its citizens continues to be a central difficulty. 

 

Through the lenses of race, religion, politics, education, media, commerce, science, and culture, this series will explore the history of America through three four-month sections, and will attempt to find answers to our essential American questions: How can we describe the American Mind? What are the country’s core values and central tenets?  Can those core values and central tenets endure? How has America’s role on the international stage changed over time?   

 

All reading materials will be supplied and sessions will be facilitated by tutors experienced in shared inquiry and the Socratic method. Groups will be limited to 12 participants and no prior knowledge is required. Teachers will be offered 3 CEU credits for participation in each section.

Each Four-Five Month Weekly Series
(Each Section) is $600-$700. 
Community of Lifelong Learners subscribers receive a discount of $100 through a refund. 

-- Now Enrolling --

Section Two - The Declaration of Independence to the Civil War 
Wednesday evenings, beginning September 29, 2021 and ending Wednesday, March 23, 2022. Section Two Texts:

1) The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin

2) Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

3) These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

4) The Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation

5) Selected Federalists and Anti-Federalists Papers

6) The Constitution of the United States

7) Selected speeches from Abraham Lincoln

8) Selected Supreme Court decisions

Make one $700 payment to join Section Three (subscribers receive a $100 refund)

Make three monthly payments of $233 to join Section Three (subscribers receive a $100 refund)

American History Intensive​ - Dates and Curriculum -
Section Two - The Declaration of Independence to the Civil War

Suggested Pre-Reading

These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Part One - The Idea

- Pages 3-149

 

1) Session One
Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation

 

2) Session Two

Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Book One - Community

Part One The Versatiles: New Englanders

   Chapter 1 The Sea Leads Everywhere

   Chapter 2 Inventing Resources: Ice for the Indies

   Chapter 3 Inventing Resources: Granite for a New Stone Age

   Chapter 4 Organizing the American Factory

   Chapter 5 From Skill to Know-how: “A Circulating Current”

   Chapter 6 A Common-Law Way of Thinking

   Chapter 7 The Improving Spirit

- Pages 3-48

 

3) Session Three

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Part Two - Thomas Jefferson

   7. Enlightenment

   8. Black Exhibits

   9. Created Equal

- Pages 79-119

 

4) Session Four

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Part Two - The People

   Five - A Democracy of Numbers

- Pages 153-188

 

5) Session Five

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Federalists Papers 1, 2, 6, 9, 10

 

6) Session Six

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Federalists Papers 39, 51, 52, 68, 69, 70

 

7) Session Seven

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

 Anti-Federalist Papers Brutus I and Cato II

 

8) Session Eight

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Two The Transients - Joiners

   Chapter 8 On the Continent-Ocean: Men Move in Groups

   Chapter 9 The Organizers

   Chapter 10 Community Before Government

   Chapter 11 The Natural Law of Transient Communities:   
     Claim Clubs and Priority Rule

   Chapter 12 The Natural Law of Transient Communities:
     Vigilantism and Priority Rule

   Chapter 13 Leaving Things Behind

   Chapter 14 Getting There First

   Chapter 15 The Democracy of Haste

- Pages 49-112

 

Off Wednesday, November 24 for Thanksgiving Holiday

 

9) Session Nine

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Part Two - Thomas Jefferson continued

   10. Uplift Suasion

   11. Big Bottoms

   12. Colonization

- Pages 120-158

 

10) Session Ten

Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Part Two - The People

   Six - The Soul and the Machine

- Pages 189-231

 

11) Session Eleven

Wednesday, December 15, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Constitution of the United States and the Amendments

 

12) Session Twelve

Wednesday, December 22, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Three The Upstarts - Boosters

   Chapter 16 The Businessman as an American Institution

   Chapter 17 The Booster Press

   Chapter 18 “Palaces of the Public”

   Chapter 19 The Balloon-Frame House

   Chapter 20 Culture with Many Capitals: The Booster College

   Chapter 21 Competitive Communities

- Pages 113-168

Off Wednesday, December 29 for the Holidays

13) Session Thirteen

Wednesday, January 5, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Part Three - William Lloyd Garrison

   13. Gradual Equality

   14. Imbruted or Civilized

   15. Soul

   16. The Impending Crisis 

- Pages 161-213

 

14) Session Fourteen

Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Part Two - The People

   Seven - Of Ships and Shipwrecks

- Pages 232-271

 

15) Session Fifteen

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Four The Rooted And The Uprooted - Southerners, White And Black

   Chapter 22 How the Planter Lost His Versatility

   Chapter 23 Indelible Immigrants

   Chapter 24 Invisible Communities: The Negroes’ Churches

   Chapter 25 The Unwritten Law: How It Grew in Slavery

   Chapter 26 How Southern Gentlemen Became Honor-bound

   Chapter 27 Metaphysical Politics

- Pages 169-218

 

16) Session Sixteen

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Book Two Nationality

Part Five The Vagueness Of The Land

   Chapter 28 A Half-known Country: Settlement Before 
     Discovery

   Chapter 29 Packaging a Continent

   Chapter 30 Government as a service Institution

   Chapter 31 Uncertain Boundaries

   Chapter 32 A Dubious Destiny

- Pages 219-274

 

17) Session Seventeen

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Part Three - William Lloyd Garrison continued

   17. History’s Emancipator

   18. Ready for Freedom? 

   19. Reconstructing Slavery

   20. Reconstructing Blame

- Pages 214-262

 

18) Session Eighteen

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

Part Two - The People

   Eight - The Face of Battle

- Pages 272-307

 

19) Session Nineteen

Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

Lincoln Speeches One

Lyceum Address, Temperance Address, Mexican War Address

 

20) Session Twenty

Wednesday, February 23, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

Lincoln Speeches Two

House Divided Speech, Cooper Union Address

 

21) Session Twenty-One

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Six American Ways Of Talking

   Chapter 33 An Ungoverned Vocabulary

   Chapter 34 Tall Talk: Half-Truth or Half-Lie?

   Chapter 35 Booster Talk: The Language of Anticipation

   Chapter 36 Names in Profusion and Confusion

   Chapter 37 A Declamatory Literature

- Pages 275-324

 

22) Session Twenty-Two

Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PST

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Seven Search For Symbols

Chapter 38 Heroes or Clowns? Comic Superman from a
     Subliterature

   Chapter 39 The Mythologizing of George Washington

   Chapter 40 How Local Patriotism Made National Heroes

   Chapter 41 The Quest for a National Past

   Chapter 42 A Festival of National Purpose

- Pages 325-390

 

23) Session Twenty-Three

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The National Experience by Daniel Boorstin

Part Eight A Spacious Republic

   Chapter 43 The Imperial Vagueness: From Sovereignty to
     Federalism

   Chapter 44 The Federal Vagueness: Born in Secession

   Chapter 45 Quests for Definition: Constitutions of the
     United States

   Chapter 46 Unionist Ways from a Secessionist Tradition

- Pages 391-430

 

24) Session Twenty-Four

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Dred Scott Decision, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address

-- Completed Section One --

Colonial Experience to the Declaration of Independence 
Wednesday evenings, beginning April 21 and ending Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Section One Texts:

1) The Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin

2) Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

3) Declaration of Independence

American History Intensive​ - Dates and Curriculum -
Section One - The Colonial Experience to the Declaration of Independence

Session One:
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Book One - The Vision and the Reality

Part One - A City Upon A Hill:
The Puritans of Massachusetts Bay

Pages 1-31

 

Session Two:
Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Two - The Inward Plantation: The Quakers of Pennsylvania

Pages 33-69

 

Session Three:

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Three - Victims of Philanthropy: The Settlers of Georgia

Pages 71-96

 

Session Four:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Four - Transplanters: The Virginians

Pages 97-143

 

Session Five:

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Stamped from the Beginning

Prologue

Part One - Cotton Mather

1. Human Hierarchy

2. Origins of Racist Ideas

3. Coming to America

Pages 1-46

 

Session Six:

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Book Two - Viewpoints and Institutions

Part Five - An American Frame of Mind

Pages 145-168

 

Session Seven:

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Six - Educating the Community

Pages 169-188

Session Eight:

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Seven - The Learned Lose Their Monopolies

Pages 189-206

Session Nine:

Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Eight - New World Medicine

Pages 207-240

 

Session Ten:
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Stamped from the Beginning

Part One - Cotton Mather

4. Saving Souls, Not Bodies

5. Black Hunts

6. Great Awakening

Pages 47-76

 

Session Eleven:

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Nine - The Limits of American Science

Pages 241-266

 

Session Twelve:

Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Book Three - Language and the Printed Word

Part Ten - The New Uniformity

Pages 267-290

 

Session Thirteen:

Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Eleven - Culture Without a Capital

Pages 291-316

 

Session Fourteen:

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Part Twelve - A Conservative Press

Pages 317-340

 

Session Fifteen:

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

The Americans: The Colonial Experience

Book Four - Warfare and Diplomacy

Part Thirteen - A Nation of Minute Men

Pages 341-372

 

Session Sixteen:

Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - 5:30-7:30PM PDT

Stamped from the Beginning

Part Two - Thomas Jefferson

7. Enlightenment

8. Black Exhibits

9. Created Equal

Pages 79-119 and The Declaration of Independence

Section Three - Summer 2022

Reconstruction to the 1970s

1) The Americans: The Democratic Experience by Daniel J. Boorstin

2) Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

3) These Truths - A History of the United States by Jill Lepore

4) Selections from Du Bois, Douglas, Cooper, and others

5) Supreme Court Cases

6) Speeches from Martin Luther King

7) Essays on 20th Century American politics