What defines an American? Is it the love of liberty, the pursuit of justice, the urge to invent, the desire for wealth, the drive to explore, the quest for spiritual values? The paradox of the American identity is that although the United States is a melting pot of many different traditions, motives, and ideals, there are nevertheless distinctive qualities that define the American character. In this course, historian Patrick N. Allitt investigates the national character by introducing you to notable Americans from all eras of the nation's history, whose lives speak eloquently about the qualities that make one truly American.
Taught by: Patrick N. Allitt, Emory University, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley Course Lecture Titles 1. Being American 2. John Smith—The Colonial Promoter 3. William Penn—The Religious Liberty Advocate 4. Cotton Mather—The Puritan 5. Benjamin Franklin—The Improver 6. Francis Marion—The Guerrilla Soldier 7. Thomas Jefferson—The Patriot 8. Abigail Adams—The First Lady 9. Mother Ann Lee—The Religious Founder 10. Rittenhouse and Bartram—The Scientists 11. Eli Whitney—The Inventor 12. Lewis and Clark—The Explorers 13. Charles Grandison Finney—The Revivalist 14. Horace Mann—The Educator 15. Ralph Waldo Emerson—The Philosopher 16. Frederick Douglass—The Abolitionist 17. Edmund Ruffin—The Champion of Slavery 18. Brigham Young—The Religious Autocrat 19. Frederick Law Olmsted—The Landscape Architect 20. William Tecumseh Sherman—The General 21. Louisa May Alcott—The Professional Writer 22. Andrew Carnegie—Conscience-Stricken Entrepreneur 23. “Buffalo Bill”—The Westerner 24. Black Elk—The Holy Man 25. John Wesley Powell—The Desert Theorist 26. William Mulholland—The Water Engineer 27. Samuel Gompers—The Trade Unionist 28. Booker T. Washington—The "Race Leader" 29. Emma Goldman—The Anarchist 30. Abraham Cahan—The Immigrants' Advocate 31. Isabella Stewart Gardner—The Collector 32. Oliver Wendell Holmes—The Jurist 33. Henry Ford—The Mass Producer 34. Harry Houdini—The Sensationalist 35. Al Capone—The Crime Boss 36. Herbert Hoover—The Humanitarian 37. Helen Keller—The Inspiration 38. Duke Ellington—The Jazzman 39. Charles Lindbergh—The Aviator 40. Douglas MacArthur—The World-Power Warrior 41. Leonard Bernstein—The Musical Polymath 42. Shirley Temple—The Child Prodigy 43. George Wallace—The Demagogue 44. William F. Buckley, Jr.—The Conservative 45. Roberto Clemente—The Athlete 46. Betty Friedan—The Feminist 47. Jesse Jackson—The Civil Rights Legatee 48. Stability and Change