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Publisher's Summary

Americans pride themselves on being doers rather than thinkers, but ideas are at the very root of what it means to be an American. Behind this nation's diverse views on religion, education, social equality, democracy, and other vital issues is a long-running intellectual debate about the right ordering of the human, natural, and divine worlds.

Indeed, America is an enduring hotbed of ideas. Such great thinkers as Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William James, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others engaged in lively and often contentious debate that helped mold America's institutions and attitudes. This immensely stimulating conversation made the United States what it is today - and provides the subject for these 36 fascinating lectures.

In this course, you will delve deeply into the philosophical underpinnings of the nation, forged by the Puritans and the leaders of the American Revolution. You will also explore many other aspects of the elaborate structure that became modern America, tracing ideas in politics, religion, education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, literature, social theory, and science - proving that Americans have a much richer intellectual tradition than generally imagined. You'll learn about such philosophical movements as transcendentalism, pragmatism, and conservatism. You'll study the transatlantic philosophy of the Puritans, the spiritual revival of the Great Awakening, and the passion for reason sparked by the Enlightenment. And you'll trace the origin and evolution of America's colleges, which have served as a battleground of ideas, sometimes in an almost literal sense.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2005 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2005 The Great Courses

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Continuity of the American Mind

A revelatory piece of handiwork: what may be seen as derivative of European thought is here seen on its own. It is not uncritical, and it doesn't play down the often fascinating but provincial and sometimes just plain weird Puritan roots, but at the same time the course manages to be moderately generous and expansive.Just when youbthink the lecturer is becoming tendentious, he surprises you. This is the intellectual equivalent of visiting Crystal Bridges.

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Fantastic Story About American Ideas

A fantastic and amazing story about the typically untold but hugely important ideas that shaped America

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This book is the ephin bomb!!!

This is exactly the lectures that you want to here. He covers every angle in a different light from what you have likely been taught before. The relationships of thoughts and history are absolutely fascinating!! Enjoy!!!

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very illuminating

most engaging series. his condescending delivery is very appropriate when examining intulectuals since they always have a condescending attitude to the rest of humanity.

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Dr Guelzo kills it!

As a former new left enthusiast turned neo-conservative by way of Christian conversion, and as a former student of Dr Guelzo, I give this series of lectures a hearty Amen. Though I lack adequate historical knowledge that would give me a legitimate basis for passing judgment on the accuracy of the material presented, the past with which I am somewhat intimately familiar is clearly dead-on.. I appreciate Dr Guelzo's interesting teaching style and his deep and abiding commitment to scholarly research,. I love his love for all the interesting streams of American thought and experience. I can hardly wait to start another of Dr Guelzo's lecture series! Glenn Snyder

10 of 22 people found this review helpful

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The Un-American Mind

This is largely a collect of obscure an un-American ideals and philosophy. For example, I can't count how many times Marxism was brought up which never gained any real support in America so I'm not sure why it was included so many times in the discussion of American philosophy. The lecture spent a lot of time discussing the views of obscure figures in American history and spent little time on the ideals of the founders and people like Teddy Rosevelt who have greatly influenced the American identity. Franklin is on the cover on the course and embodies many American ideals but he is only talked about for a few minutes. I am a fan of American history and amateur American historian for the last 25 years and I have never heard of the majority of philosophers in this course, nor thought their ideals and theories ever took hold in the American mind. It never even discussed the Manifest Destiny which drove westward expansion and rugged individualism that for many years and still sometimes today Americans have been know for.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful