Political Theory

Liberty and Social Mobility


Using historical documents that speak directly to issues of class, status, and opportunity in American life from Franklin to the present, the colloquium examined the American ideal with regard to mobility, how economic mobility and the promise of opportunity have been understood in American history, the degree to which Americans have been conscious of class and status, and how have these ideas have influenced their view of mobility and its place in the free society.


Conference Readings

Farrand, Max, eds. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966.

Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography and Other Writings. Edited by Ormond Seavey. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Adams, John and Thomas Jefferson. The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence. Edited by Lester J. Cappon. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.

Buckley, F. H. The Way Back: Restoring the Promise of America. New York: Encounter, 2016.

Fitzhugh, George. Sociology for the South, Or the Failure of a Free Society. Richmond: A. Morris, 1854.

Jefferson, Thomas. Jefferson Writings. New York: Library of America, 1984.

Lasch, Christopher. The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1996.

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858. Edited by Don Edward Fehrenbacher. New York: Library of America, 1989.

Lincoln, Abraham. Abraham Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1859-1865. Edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1989.

Madison, James. Writings. Edited by Jack Rakove. New York: The Library of America, 1999.

Murray, Charles. Coming Apart: The State of White America. New York: Crown Forum, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., 2012.

Obama, Barack. “Remarks by President Obama on the Economy in Osawatomie, Kansas.” The White House, United States Government. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/12/06/remarks-president-economy-osawatomie-kansas (Accessed October 19, 2016).

Roosevelt, Theodore. “The New Nationalism.” Dedication of the John Brown Memorial Park, Osawatomie, Kansas, August 31, 1910.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Edited by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Wilson, Woodrow. The New Freedom: A Call for the Emancipation of the Generous Energies of a People. New York and Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1913, 1918.