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The Sum of Our Dreams: What You Need to Know about American History

Louis Masur – Rutgers University


05/16/2020 9:50 am



James Baldwin once remarked that American history is “longer, larger, more various, more beautiful and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” In this sweeping survey, Louis Masur probes that history, from settlement and Revolution to Civil War, Depression and Civil Rights. Covering key themes such as individualism, democracy, freedom and the frontier, this lecture fills a need for understanding the arc of American history at a moment when the idea of the American Dream is being contested. “We cannot escape history,” proclaimed Abraham Lincoln, who was thinking about future judgments on past actions. Here is what you need to know about the American past in order to be more fully engaged and informed in the present.