Beacon of Freedom: Does America Have a Special Mission? A discussion with Charles Fried, Gordon Wood, Michael Barone and Richard Epstein. Part 2 of 2.
This panel examines the question whether there is an American ideology of exceptionalism that is deeply rooted in 400 years of our history. Have Americans from John Winthrop to the Founding Fathers to Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan believed that we are a shining city on a hill - a beacon of liberty and democracy for the rest of the world? Do we still believe in the creed affirmed by the Statue of Liberty that America is the light of the world and the natural home of all who are oppressed? Many historians have claimed that the belief that Americans are special people with a special mission in a special place is a recurrent theme in our history. Is the United States a country organized around an ideology of belief in freedom, democracy, social equality, and individualism and, if so, is that a good thing?- The Federalist Society
Michael Barone is a senior writer for U.S. News and World Report and principal coauthor of The Almanac of American Politics.
Richard A. Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, is the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Epstein is also, a visiting professor at NYU Law School.
Charles Fried is a prominent conservative American jurist and lawyer. He served as United States Solicitor General from 1985 to 1989. He is currently a professor at Harvard Law School.
James Harvie Wilkinson III
James Harvie Wilkinson III is a federal judge serving on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Gordon S. Wood is Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University. He taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Brown in 1969.
Wood is the author of The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, which won the Bancroft Prize and the John H. Dunning Prize in 1970, and The Radicalism of the American Revolution, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize in 1993. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (2004) was awarded the Julia Ward Howe Prize by the Boston Authors Club in 2005. His latest books are Revolutionary Characters: What Made the Founders Different, The Purpose of the Past: Reflections on the Uses of History and Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815.
Wood reviews in The New York Review of Books and The New Republic and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He received his bachelor's degree from Tufts University and his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Wood previously lectured at Chautauqua in 2009, in a week on "The History of Liberty."