Wilfred M. McClay, G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty, University of Oklahoma; 2019-2020 Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University; Commentators: Darren Staloff, Professor of History, City College of New York; Sean Wilentz, George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History, Princeton University; Moderator: Allen C. Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities and Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship, Princeton University
Those who approach the study of American history deserve an introduction that sweeps across politics, social life, and culture, without demanding the reader’s assent to an ideological agenda. They deserve a history that cultivates the ground for patriotism but freely acknowledges our national shortcomings. Any nation requires, and America may particularly need, a shared story, one in which the living participate and the dead are respected without blind veneration. Wilfred McClay’s Land of Hope recognizes, in the author’s own words, that “the teaching of national history in our schools has many purposes, but chief among them is the task of civic formation: the formation of citizens who are active, responsible, loyal, reflective, and free.” He rightly asks, “How well are we doing at that task? How could we do better?” Is McClay’s Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Storythe history Americans today—particularly young Americans—need for their civic formation? Our panel of distinguished historians, including Wilfred McClay himself, will take up these questions.