9–9:30 am: Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:30–11 am: Program
In the fragile early years of our democracy, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John Calhoun—political heirs of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams—set themselves the task of finishing the work of the Founders. There were glaring issues to be resolved, especially within the Constitution itself. Historian H.W. Brands illuminates the intense rivalries and compromises of these U.S. Senate giants.
Wendell Willkie, a Midwestern businessman-turned-Republican politician, fought for desegregation, workers’ rights, and small government in his 1940 bid for president. As a result, he won the largest percentage of Republican votes in a generation. David Levering Lewis discusses this oft-overlooked historical figure, who championed bipartisan cooperation and putting country over party—even when it cost him the support of Republican Party officials.
Hailed as the founding father of America’s conservation movement, President Theodore Roosevelt championed the protection of the nation's natural treasures and embarked on visionary initiatives to preserve 234 million acres of wilderness for posterity. Decades later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt—inspired by his family's legacy and the natural world surrounding his Hudson River Valley home—continued the traditions of his distant cousin to establish a sprawling network of state parks and scenic roadways.
New York has always had its bohemian “underground” going back to Pfaff’s Saloon in the 1850s—literally underground—with frequenters like poet Walt Whitman and his mate Adah Menken. Join Barry Lewis for a look at Greenwich Village and its environs, tracing how the city’s gay community found safe haven among New York’s “free-love” bohemians of the early 20th century, then blossomed again in a new era’s openness in the post-Stonewall New York of the 1970s.
LGBTQ Americans have made tremendous strides toward equality in the 50 years since the pivotal Stonewall uprising. But can this momentum continue? Renowned legal scholars discuss the landmark Supreme Court cases—including Obergefell v. Hodges and Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—and look to the critical legal battles that will be fought in the years to come.
Across the political spectrum, government leaders and citizens alike are questioning the future of America's democratic institutions, with many feeling the liberal tenets of freedom and equality are being threatened. Is liberalism worth defending, or does political salvation lie elsewhere? Adam Gopnik discusses the value of liberalism and the inherent and radical humanity of its ideals and will walk us through some of its major sites and most inspiring people.
What is America’s role on the increasingly contentious global stage? Foreign policy experts discuss the essential role America has played for decades in keeping the world’s worst instability in check, and what is likely to happen if we withdraw from this position and focus our attention inward.
What shaped the most contentious and enduring issue in all of American history? Esteemed historian Sean Wilentz, in conversation with journalist Brent Staples, illuminates the strident political and constitutional struggle over slavery that began during the Revolution and concluded with the Confederacy’s defeat.
In a world increasingly defined by political unrest and unpredictability, the coming conflict is between the citizen and the state. Political scientist Ian Bremmer, in conversation with Merit Janow, explores the downsides of globalism, the struggle between the insider and the outsider, between governments and citizens, and the fear that has generated drastic geopolitical shifts.