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The Purpose of a Liberal Education

Scholars Cornel West and Robert George demonstrated that it’s possible to have a deep bond and mutual respect, even when you disagree on fundamental issues. Speaking at an event on campus Dec. 7 moderated by SPA Associate Professor Thomas Merrill, the two professors underscored the importance of engaging in civil dialogue and the value of a liberal education. Read more about the event here.

Facebook Live: Lincoln Scholar Lecture with Danielle Allen

Does the Declaration of Independence still speak to us today? The document famously expresses American aspirations to liberty and equality for all, yet it was written at a time marked by slavery and racial injustice. In the inaugural Lincoln Scholars lecture, based on her book Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, Dr. Danielle Allen discusses how old texts can reveal unexpected perspectives and transformative possibilities. With SPA's Political Theory Institute.

The Annual Lincoln Scholar Lecture 2021

This Lincoln Scholars Annual Lecture was delivered by Dr. Anika Prather. Dr. Prather is a faculty member at Howard University and has been a prominent advocate for reading classic texts in the light of the African-American tradition and vice versa. She has been published in USA Today and The Point Magazine and quoted in the New York Times. She is the author of Living in the Constellation of the Canon: The Lived Experiences of African-American Students Reading Great Books Literature and holds degrees from Howard University, the University of Maryland, and St. John’s College, Annapolis.

Why Free Speech is the Only Safe Space for Minorities

Jonathan Rauch is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and the author of six books and many articles on public policy, culture, and government. He visited the American University School of Public Affairs in November 2017 to talk about the freedom of speech for the school's Political Theory Institute.

Rauch is a contributing editor of The Atlantic and recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award, the magazine industry's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. He has for many years been an outspoken defender of freedom of speech.

Sustaining Political Community in the Face of Violence

Abraham Lincoln’s speech “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” is a meditation on how political violence undermines constitutional self-government. In the aftermath of the January 6 events on Capitol Hill, what lessons can we take from Lincoln's seminal speech on sustaining political community in the face of political violence?

Watch Lincoln Scholars Director Tom Merrill in a conversation about these topics with Ben Kleinerman, R.W. Morrison Chair of Political Science at Baylor University, and the author of "The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power."