Lessons Learned & Resources from the Inaugural Washington & Jefferson College Symposium on Democracy

Erin Jones, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications, Washington & Jefferson College

May 17, 2018

The inaugural Washington & Jefferson College Symposium on Democracy was held on campus February 12-16, 2018. An initiative of President John C. Knapp, this series of lectures and events provided an opportunity for the community to engage in a thoughtful exploration of the state of democracy as a form of governance in the United States and across the world.

Led by expert speakers, participants examined a range of topics including the challenges inherent in founding and sustaining a democracy, the intersection of democracy and technology, and a holistic analysis of the founding fathers – particularly our namesakes – from a 21st century perspective.

“Washington & Jefferson College was established in the final days of America's Revolutionary War by leaders who foresaw the need for colleges devoted to preparing a well-educated citizenry for responsible participation in democratic self-government,” Dr. Knapp said. “In the 21st century this remains central to our mission, as we continue to prepare our students for leadership in organizations, professions and society.”

The inaugural Symposium will highlighted internationally-renowned experts on democracy, including Dr. Richard Carwardine, a celebrated historian and former president of Corpus Christi College at the University of Oxford, and Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism. Additional panel discussions and presentations will be led by W&J faculty, staff, and students. The Symposium also focused, in part, on the vision, values, and lives of the nation's founders – especially George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

“Washington & Jefferson College proudly bears the names of two of the most influential founders of this country and its values,” Knapp said. “We therefore have a special responsibility to contribute to public understanding of those who gave us our liberty and national creed of equality, while also exploring the ways in which the young nation and its leaders failed to live out their espoused values, including inconsistencies in matters such as slavery and women’s rights.”

Symposium on Democracy Events

This Symposium was highlighted by internationally-renowned experts on democracy, student and faculty led panel discussions, exhibits in the U. Grant Miller library, and participation by the W&J community. Follow the link for more information and resources about these events.

Lecture 1

Presentations by Faculty and Students

Lecture 2

“Can American Democracy Survive Without a Thriving Middle Class?”
Lecture by Stephen B. Young, global executive director, Caux Round Table for Moral Capitalism. 

Lecture 3

“The Foundations of American Democracy: 1776-1865.”  
Lecture by Richard Carwardine, FRHistS, FBA, FLSW, Professor of American History and former President of the Corpus Christi College, Oxford 

Lecture 4

Lunch and Learn with Richard Carwardine
Discussion of Carwardine’s book, “Lincoln’s Sense of Humor” 

  • Video : <a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.washjeff.edu/symposium-videos" href="http://www.washjeff.edu/symposium-videos" title="Richard Carwadine " lincoln's="" sense="" of="" humor""="">"Richard Carwardine - "Lincoln's Sense of Humor"

<a data-cke-saved-href="http://www.washjeff.edu/symposium-videos" href="http://www.washjeff.edu/symposium-videos" title="Richard Carwadine " lincoln's="" sense="" of="" humor""="">Lecture 5

“The Legacies of Washington and Jefferson: 21st Century Perspectives.”
Panel discussion 

W&J Democracy Program Resources

Reading Lists

Recommended Materials & Readings

A list of additional readings/materials recommended for the Symposium on Democracy.

U. Grant Miller Resources

Selected books and materials that were featured at the U. Grant Miller Library in contribution to the Symposium on Democracy.

Quotes on Democracy

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