The Declaration of Independence is the defining statement of America’s national identity. Indeed, Pauline Maier has described it as “American Scripture.” Nevertheless, as often as it is quoted in our public life, the reasons for its writing and its meaning are seldom understood and often the source of heated debated.
This is understandable, as it was created by a diverse group of individuals with differing points of view. Additionally, how we interpret the Declaration is subject to time and place. In this four-part class, we will explore how and why the Declaration of Independence was written, what it meant at the time, and how its meaning has changed over time.
Bryan LeBeau is an adjunct professor of history at the University of Missouri - Kansas City and Georgetown University. He is the author of several books and articles on a range of topics in American cultural history.
- Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 1997). ISBN: 0-679-45492-6
- Please read “Introduction: Gathering at the Shrine” from the required book.
Cost and Registration
Four sessions, $185 ($166.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.
To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.Register