The American Experiment

Americans of the Revolutionary Period described themselves as engaged in a great experiment, an experiment in liberty. What philosophical ideals underlay this American experiment? What is liberty and why did the leaders of the revolutionary era find it valuable? What virtues must characterize citizens of a free republic, and how are such virtues transmitted to the young? How has the nature of the American experiment changed over time? Did the state-based welfare programs begun with FDR’s New Deal represent a departure from America’s historic commitment to liberty? Or are such institutions a necessary part of liberty’s realization? Are citizens today learning the virtues needed to sustain a free republic? Is America still an experiment in liberty?