A tour of libertarian intellectual heritage and game-changing political thought from the 17th through mid-19th century, examining the foundations for liberty laid by Hume, Smith, Locke, America’s Founding Fathers, and more. Learn about the impact of radical reformers in the Civil War era, individualist anarchists, and Tocqueville’s views on American democracy. Discuss critics of classical liberal thought like Marx, Engels, and Rousseau. Connect the libertarian intellectual heritage to the emergence of civil rights and other issues relevant for today. This seminar is ideal for IHS summer seminar alumni and students who are familiar with the libertarian conceptual framework.
Revolutionaries, Reformers, and Radicals: Liberty Emerges
The “Revolutionaries, Reformers, & Radicals: Liberty Emerges” seminar is one of the offerings in our "Champions of Liberty" summer seminar series. This seminar focuses on major figures, intellectual currents, historical events, and important critics from the early Enlightenment all the way through the Civil War. The week’s lectures and discussions will also connect the insights of freedom’s earliest defenders with important issues today, such as civil rights, economic freedom, and constitutional design.
The multi-disciplinary curriculum will demonstrate the importance of liberty from multiple angles and draws lecturers and students from a variety of disciplines. Ideal candidates will have a mastery of the principles of liberty and curiosity for a deeper and more challenging exploration of the questions, issues, persons, and problems in the rich heritage of liberty.
Participants will develop a nuanced understanding of classical liberalism from philosophical, economic, political, and historical vantage points.
- The Economics of David Hume and Adam Smith
- James Madison and the Ideal of Religious Liberty
- The Civil War and the 13th Amendment
- The Spanish Scholastics on Money, Prices, and Freedom
- Rousseau’s Critique of Progress
- Edmund Burke and the Birth of Conservatism
- Lysander Spooner and American Anarchism
- De Tocqueville in America
- Kant and Classical Liberalism
- Marx and Engels on Capitalism
- Francis Hutcheson and the Scottish Enlightenment
Lecturers hail from a range of disciplines including economics, history, philosophy, law, and political science. Read about the speakers at this seminar.
Students are responsible for travel costs; IHS covers program costs, books, housing, and meals.