9–9:30 am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30–11 am: Program
The settlement of the American West is one of the most romanticized eras in popular culture, but what really happened as starry-eyed migrants made their way toward the plains with dreams of better futures? In a conversation with Douglas Brinkley, H.W. Brands shows us the courage, perseverance, and violence of a time when people sought their own El Dorado in the West.
Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer surveys the 16th president’s majestic second “malice toward none” inaugural address as one of the greatest of American political orations. At the time, the speech generated entirely partisan responses—and even an assassination attempt. Exhausted yet determined, Lincoln nonetheless did nothing less than re-interpret America’s founding and light the way for “peace among ourselves” after a long and bloody civil war.
On February 20, 1939, six months before the outbreak of war in Europe, more than 20,000 people converged at New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism. Scheduled to coincide with George Washington’s birthday, the event incorporated fascist and American iconography and featured speeches that glorified “Americanism” and sowed discord. Join us for a screening of a 7-minute documentary about this infamous rally followed by a discussion on its enduring resonance.
Can families, schools, and houses of worship forge a more united, cohesive nation? Leading conservative intellectual Yuval Levin looks at America and sees a country in social crisis and argues that despite the frequent attacks by both the right and left on “institutions,” these enduring structures have the power to counteract the uniquely sectarian dynamic of our time.
Join us for a conversation tracing Abraham Lincoln’s ascent to power from his famed debates against Stephen Douglas for the U.S. Senate seat to his nomination as the Republican Party’s candidate for the presidency in 1860. As the outbreak of war loomed on the horizon, these formative years set the stage for Lincoln to become one of the nation’s most revered moral leaders.
Reverence for the law has been a cornerstone of democracy since our nation’s founding. Distinguished attorney and author James D. Zirin discusses his new book, in which he examines President Donald J. Trump's decades-long relationship with the legal system.
Why do we so frequently misjudge strangers? From Fidel Castro fooling the CIA to Neville Chamberlain trusting Adolf Hitler, an inability to effectively evaluate the character and intentions of others has had disastrous consequences throughout history. Malcolm Gladwell, in conversation with Adam Gopnik, explores the history and psychology behind our treatment of strangers and the way this concept profoundly shapes the world around us.
Governing access to the mouth of the crucial Mississippi River, New Orleans was one of the most hotly contested battlegrounds of the Civil War. It fell to the Union following attacks by naval and land forces, but some African American freemen allegedly joined Confederate defenders, and in a harsh occupation New Orleans women defied their captors. In a bitter reconstruction, African Americans suffered brutal mob attack. Civil War experts explore this untold story.
Nationalism is an ideology that has faced attacks from both the right and the left—but what is its true meaning, and how has it evolved over time? Rich Lowry offers a passionate defense of nationalism and the ways he believes it could move the country forward.
Arguably the most well-known and adored of the Founding Fathers, George Washington remains one of the most venerable personalities of the Founding Era. Already in his 40s when appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in 1775, how did the character of Washington influence the early foundations of the United States? Experts on the Revolution uncover the man behind the legend, whose leadership in a time of insurmountable need is still felt in America today.