Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Announcing a New History Institute on the Creation of Liberal Democracy: Did It Happen in Philadelphia by Accident?

Announcing a New History Institute on the Creation of Liberal Democracy: Did It Happen in Philadelphia by Accident?

  • May 17, 2013

Announcing a New History Institute on the Creation of Liberal Democracy: Did It Happen in Philadelphia by Accident?

  • May 17, 2013


APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 15, 2013  (best to apply early)

Once upon a time, Philadelphia made a historic contribution to the world and to the development of freedom.  The question “Did it happen in Philadelphia by accident?” gives us an opportunity to explore what precisely happened here in the pre-revolutionary and revolution periods; to ascertain the cultural, political and economic prerequisites to the development of liberal societies; and to weigh the lessons for the historic transitions of our time and for the US “export” of democracy. To assist teachers in grappling with these issues, we have assembled scholars who have made unique contributions in this field.

Conference agenda and application information are printed below.



Sponsored by:
The W.W. Keen and Madeleine Butcher History Institute at the Foreign Policy Research Institute

Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29, 2013
Loew’s Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market St, Philadelphia, PA


The Pursuit of Happiness: Philadelphia, the Founders, and the Enlightenment

Alan Charles Kors, Henry Charles Lea Professor of European History at the University of Pennsylvania/FPRI

Philadelphia, Liberty, and American Foreign Policy

Walter McDougall, Chair, FPRI Center for the Study of America and the West, and Alloy Ansin Professor of International Relations, University of Pennsylvania

Quaker Philadelphia and The Development of Pluralism 

Alan Tully, Chair of the History Department and Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professorship in American History at University of Texas

Philadelphia: The Intellectual Center of Colleges, Learned Societies and Publishing

Bruce Kuklick, Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia as the Financial/Business Center of the 13 Colonies 

Thomas Doerflinger, 1987 Bancroft prize winner in History for A Vigorous Spirit of Enterprise     

How Philadelphia Became a Manufacturing Center

Walter Licht, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania

The Declaration of Independence: A Global History

David Armitage, Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Harvard University

Transitions to Democracy: A Guide for the 21st Century

Ambassador Adrian Basora, Director, FPRI Project on Democratic Transitions


The conference begins at 8:50 am ET on Saturday, September 28 and concludes at 12:45 pm ET on Sunday, September 29, 2013.

Social studies and history teachers and curriculum supervisors are invited to apply for participation in the History Institute.   Forty participants will be selected to receive:

  • free room and board;
  • assistance in designing curriculum and special projects based on the History Institute;
  • stipends of $200 for well-developed lesson plans for posting on our website that effectively utilize the experience of the weekend conference, or documentation of in-service presentations based on the weekend;
  • partial travel reimbursements (up to $250) for participants outside the vicinity of the conference center;
  • subscription to Footnotes, FPRI’s bulletin for high school teachers.
  • a certificate of participation in a program offering 12 hours of instruction. In addition, for those interested, college credit is available for a small fee through our cooperating institution, Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Please email to a resume and a short statement describing your current teaching or professional assignments, your reasons for wanting to attend, and how your students or school district will benefit from your participation. NOTE: At the time of application, you are asked to make a commitment either to prepare a curriculum unit based on the weekend or to do in-service activities based on the weekend.

Schools with a school membership in FPRI’s Wachman Center are guaranteed one place at one History Institute weekend per year (but be sure to note your school’s membership on your application). For information about school membership, contact Eli Gilman at

APPLICATION DEADLINE: July 15, 2013  (best to apply early)

Videotapes of the entire conference will be posted subsequently on our website.

For information about future and previous programs, click here.


The Great Captains in American History
April 2013
Wheaton, IL
Hosted and Cosponsored by the First Division Museum at Cantigny

Iran and the Geopolitics of the Middle East
October 2012
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hosted and Cosponsored by the Senator John Heinz History Center

Great Battles and How They Have Shaped American History
April 2012
Wheaton, IL
Hosted and Cosponsored by the First Division Museum at Cantigny

Teaching the Middle East: Between Authoritarianism and Reform
October 2011
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

Civilian Control of the Military and American Democracy
April 2011
Hosted and Cosponsored by the First Division Museum at Cantigny, Wheaton, IL 

China and India: Ancient Civilizations, Rising Powers, Giant Societies, and Contrasting Models of Development
March 2011
Hosted and Cosponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania; South Asia Center, UPENN, and Penn Lauder CIBER

The United States and the Modern Middle East
September 2010
Cosponsored by the American Institute for History Education

The Role of the Military in America’s Domestic History
April 2010
Hosted and Cosponsored by the First Division Museum at Cantigny, Wheaton, IL

Teaching Innovation
October 2008, Kansas City, MO
Hosted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

For essays, slides, videotapes and classroom lessons based on these and other weekends, click here.

Support for this history institute is provided by FPRI Trustee Robert A. Fox.


The Butcher History Institute, co-chaired by David Eisenhower and Walter A. McDougall, is designed to bring high school teachers from around the country together with the nation’s top scholars in history, political science, and other fields for an intensive weekend of lectures and discussion on topics in American and world history and international relations.

David Eisenhower is an FPRI Senior Fellow and a Lindback Award for Excellence of Teaching-recipient Public Policy Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications, where he teaches communications and the president. He is author of the New York Times bestseller “Eisenhower at War, 1943-45″and “Going Home to Glory: A Memoir of Life with Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961-1969.”

Walter A. McDougall is an FPRI Senior Fellow and Professor of International Relations at the University of Pennsylvania. A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, he is author most recently of a two-volume American history, Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 (2004) and Throes of Democracy: America in the Civil War Era, 1829-1877 (March 2008).


To join our mailing list, please send an email with complete contact information to:


Founded in 1955, FPRI is devoted to bringing the insights of scholarship to bear on the development of policies that advance U.S. national interests abroad. We add perspective to events by fitting them into the larger historical and cultural context of international politics. A font of ideas for policymakers, a trusted resource for journalists, a center for scholars, a prolific publisher online and in print, FPRI aspires like Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin to embrace the nation and the world.


Begun in 1990, FPRI’s Wachman Center is dedicated to improving civic and international literacy in the community and in the classroom. The Center is named for FPRI’s former president Marvin Wachman (1917-2007).

For more information, contact:

Eli Gilman
Foreign Policy Research Institute
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 610
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Tel. 215-732-3774, ext. 255

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