West Building 1004
Section Information for Spring 2017
Natan Sharansky defines a free society as a place where “a person [can] walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm.” If this is the case, then the United States has never been wholly free. Federal and state governments have dispersed crowds considered riotous, using the threat of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm against those who disobeyed. They have also punished the expression of views considered seditious. The same Constitution that guarantees the rights of free speech, a free press, and peaceable assembly also guarantees the states protection against “domestic violence,” and many a town square has been forcibly cleared of citizens expressing their views. Moreover, private actors have organized to crush dissent. This seminar will explore this tension between freedom and order from the early republic through the 1960s.
The seminar offers no stable definitions of its central terms: protest and disorder. Rather, it will investigate how Americans have understood those terms over the course of their history, and how historians have used them in their own work.
This course can count toward the origins to 1861, 1861 to 1914, or 1914 to the present requirement for US history concentrators.
View 4 Other Sections of this Course in this Semester »
Readings and discussion of bibliographies, interpretations, and research trends in topics selected by instructor.
May be repeated for credit when topic is different.