The American Experiment
Foundations of Democracy
July 17-23, 2022 | Santa Fe, NM
In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln posed a question: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” What kind of test, what kind of experiment, does American democracy represent? In classical Greek and Roman experience, democracy appeared to be the most unstable of regimes, prone to faction, revolution, demagogues, and dictators. Founding theorists of modern democracies sought ways to secure the advantages of democratic life, while addressing both the weaknesses identified by the ancients and the peculiar vulnerabilities of modern politics. To do so, we must raise difficult questions about the relations between justice and wisdom, between freedom and liberty, between commercialism and individualism on the one hand, and civic, religious, and moral virtues, on the other.
Sample readings include Plutarch’s Lives, Aristotle’s Politics, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the US Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, The Federalist Papers, and speeches by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
Classes and Readings
- Plutarch, Lives, Lycurgus, Solon
- Aristotle, Politics
- Locke, Second Treatise of Government
Tocqueville, Democracy in America
- Declaration of Independence
- U.S. Constitution
- Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, The Federalist Papers
- Selected Speeches of Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Archery, Pottery, Drumming
Visit cave dwellings at Bandelier National Monument, tour the historic Santa Fe Plaza
July 17–23, 2022The American Experiment: Foundations of Democracy
July 24–30, 2022The Art of Seeing: Literature and the Visual Arts
June 10–16, 2022Equality and Inequality: Justice and Law
July 17–23, 2022The Heart of the Matter: Literature and Biology
July 24–30, 2022Revolution and Rebellion: When Justice Opposes Law
The community formed among students is a natural extension of the friendships and ideas shared in the classroom. To further nurture a sense of community, Summer Academy students participate in non-academic workshops such as archery, yoga, and cooking. Off-campus excursions will include a trip to Ghost Ranch and a performance at the Santa Fe Opera.