Annual Meeting Preview: “Freedom in America: A View From Outside”

This session takes place on Friday, April 5, at the 2019 OAH Annual Meeting in Philadelphia and is solicited by the OAH International Committee

Chair: Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, University of Augsburg
Commentator: Ralph Young, Temple University

“Liberté, Egalité, ...”: The French Revolution and American Liberty
Armin Mattes, University of Tübingen

Total War and Civil Liberties: The Repression of Dissent in World War One America from a Comparative Perspective
Manfred Berg, Heidelberg University

Liberty’s Unsure Guardian: The Supreme Court, National Security and Individual Freedom in the 20th Century
Georg Schild, University of Tübingen

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Liberty is one of the essential aspects of American political philosophy. It was the battle cry of American revolutionaries in the 1770s, of Union soldiers in the 1860s, and of American politicians during the world wars. To foreigners, however, the American understanding of liberty is at times difficult to comprehend. How could a declaration promoting liberty co-exist with slavery? Did the notion of freedom change over time? To what extend did the American understanding of freedom incorporate (or deliberately exclude) European ideas of liberty? Did the way American administrations deal with dissenters in times of war differ from the way European governments sanctioned opponents of military confrontations? How did Americans deal with the issue of personal freedom at times of national emergency? What role did the Supreme Court play in maintaining liberty? The proposed panel brings together three scholars from Germany who seek to address those questions from an outside point of view.

Posted: February 14, 2019
Tagged: Conference, Previews, OAH Works