ScanningWWII.com
ScanningWWII's WWII Store
  • 599 items in the WWII Store

  • Show listings by category...

WWII Store ( main )
A History of Freedom
Rate this item

A History of Freedom

Lecture Series by Professor J Rufus Fear

DVD - 3 discs
Join historian and classical scholar J Rufus Fears as he tells freedom's dramatic story from ancient Greece to our own day, exploring a concept so close to us we may never have considered it with the thoroughness it deserves.

A History of Freedom

It's difficult to overstate the importance of these lectures

This 36-lecture course explores the history of freedom, from the birth of the idea of liberty in classical Greece to our own day. No idea in the history of the world has been more influential than freedom. This course deals with the political, economic, social, moral and cultural dimensions of freedom.

Professor J Rufus Fears (1945 - 2012) was an American historian, scholar, teacher, and author on the subjects of ancient history, the history of liberty, and the lessons of history. He is best known for his many lectures for the Teaching Company.

ScanningWWII.com

It can be argued that one simple idea-the concept of freedom-has been the driving force of Western civilization and may be the most influential intellectual force the world has ever known. But what is freedom, exactly?

Join historian and classical scholar J. Rufus Fears as he tells freedom's dramatic story from ancient Greece to our own day, exploring a concept so close to us we may never have considered it with the thoroughness it deserves.

In exploring what freedom meant to Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, and other great historical figures, you'll probe a range of provocative issues related to a concept we in the 21st century sometimes take for granted. What does it take to be free, to have and to hold liberty? What role do the liberal arts and the world of the intellect play in the life of a free society or a free individual? How should we understand the relationship among freedom, religion, and morality?

With Professor Fears guiding and informing your thinking, you explore the birth of the idea of freedom in Greece and the story of the world's first democracy; the status and meaning of freedom in both the Roman Republic and the Empire; the role of Christianity in that flowering of freedom, and the Christian view of the true meaning of human liberation; the debates about freedom that informed the framing and ratification of the United States Constitution; its awful testing on the battlefields of the Civil War; the struggles of free peoples against domestic injustices and foreign dictatorships during the 20th century; and the questions about freedom we still face today.

Lectures include:

  1. The Birth of Freedom

    In the gray dawn of September 21, 490 B.C., 9,000 citizen-soldiers of Athens formed ranks on a plain by the Bay of Marathon. Before sunset, they would fight the seminal battle in the history of freedom. Who were they? What were they fighting for? With these questions, our course begins.
  2. Athenian Democracy

    The Persian Wars made Athens the leader of the Greek world. Under Pericles, Athens became history's first true democracy—and an imperial power. What is the Athenian legacy to freedom?
  3. Athens — Freedom and Cultural Creativity

    Athenian freedom sparked an intellectual revolution that rivaled the scientific revolution of our own day. The Athenians invented the liberal arts in order to educate free citizens for self-government.
  4. Athenian Tragedy — Education for Freedom

    Tragedy was the characteristic cultural statement of Athenian democracy. Sophocles's plays about the House of Oedipus are key documents in the history of freedom, exploring enduring questions of morality, law, and conscience.
  5. Socrates on Trial

    In 399 B.C., a recently defeated Athens executed Socrates for impiety. The trial remains a test case for all democratic societies, and Socrates an enduring witness to freedom and the power of ideas.
  6. Alexander the Great

    The conquests of this young prince of Macedon opened a new epoch in the history of Greece, the world, and freedom.
  7. The Roman Republic

    The American Founders took the Roman republic's balanced constitution as a model. It secured liberty under law. Under it; Rome rose to mastery of a world empire.
  8. Julius Caesar

    By the first century B.C., Rome was the only superpower in its world. Yet at the height of their power, the Romans lost their political liberty and turned to Julius Caesar. How did this happen? What did it mean for freedom?
  9. Freedom in the Roman Empire

    If the Caesars ended political liberty, they also expanded individual freedom. A look at a day in the life of Pompeii suggests that, in many ways, the Rome of the Caesars is the model for America today.
  10. Rome — Freedom and Cultural Creativity

    As in the Athenian democracy, freedom in the Roman Empire led to a burst of intellectual creativity that would lay the foundations for the next 1,000 years of European civilization.
  11. Gibbon on Rome’s Decline and Fall

    For the Founders and Edward Gibbon, the fall of Rome was the tale of how a people had traded republican liberty for the false security of absolutism. What can the Roman Empire's decline teach us today?
  12. Jesus

    What makes Jesus of Nazareth, who, like Socrates, never wrote a book or had any wealth or worldly power, one of the most important figures in the history of human freedom?
  13. Jesus and Socrates

    Jesus and Socrates invite comparison as awe-inspiring teachers, as seminal figures in the history of freedom, and as witnesses to the claims of conscience.
  14. Paul the Apostle

    Paul's preaching drew upon concepts of freedom in some of the most innovative currents of Roman imperial thought. His letter to the Galatians is rightly regarded as the Magna Carta of Christian liberty.
  15. Freedom in the Middle Ages

    Far from being an age of absolutism, the Middle Ages in Western Europe saw the growth of ideas and institutions basic to the history of liberty, including representative government and the right to revolution.
  16. Luther and the Protestant Reformation

    Luther is one of the proofs that great men and women—not anonymous forces—make history. He shattered the medieval world and unleashed currents that continue to shape the history of freedom.
  17. From Machiavelli to the Divine Right of Kings

    Are the state and its leaders bound by the same moral values that should govern private conduct? Machiavelli said no. His praise of the absolute, amoral state laid the basis for the greatest single challenge to freedom in the modern age.
  18. The Anglo-American Tradition of Liberty

    State absolutism received its preeminent early modern statement in the belief that kings are accountable to God alone. But this notion met with differing fates in France and the English-speaking world, with vast implications for freedom.
  19. The Shot Heard 'Round the World

    In the predawn darkness of April 19, 1775, 77 citizen-soldiers of Lexington, Massachusetts, formed ranks on their village green. Before noon, they would fight the greatest battle in the history of freedom since Marathon. Who were they? What were they fighting for? With these questions begins the second half of our course.
  20. The Tyranny of George III

    What turned loyal British colonists into armed traitors declaring their independence? Edmund Burke suggested the answer when he observed that in England, "the great contests for freedom were, from the earliest times, chiefly upon the question of taxes."
  21. What the Declaration of Independence Says

    America is the first nation in history founded upon a statement of principles. The Declaration draws upon two great legacies of freedom: the natural-law tradition of Greece and Rome, and the experience of England.
  22. Natural Law and the Declaration

    Born in democratic Athens, refined by Cicero, affirmed by St. Paul, and incorporated into first Roman and then the English common law, natural law would prove crucial to the American founding.
  23. Miracle at Philadelphia

    "Miracles do not cluster. Hold on to the Constitution," said Daniel Webster. Wondrous as the Constitution is, it is also explicable as the work of statesmen educated for freedom, and steeped in the lessons of history.
  24. What the Constitution Says

    Here you will "visit" a state ratifying convention in order to analyze both the Constitution (especially as explained by The Federalist) and the case made by its Anti-Federalist foes, who argued that small republics and virtue both private and public are the best safeguards for liberty.
  25. The Bill of Rights

    Basic to the Constitution's success has been the ability to amend it. A careful analysis of the first two Amendments paves the way for discussions of the relevance of the Framers' intent to America today and of the Founders' belief that every right entails a corresponding duty.
  26. Liberty and Lee at Gettysburg

    The American founding did not resolve the questions of slavery and union. Both were settled only by the Civil War. This lecture asks why a man of Lee's character, who saw the wrong of slavery, chose nonetheless to follow his state and the Confederate cause.
  27. Liberty and Lincoln at Gettysburg

    Lincoln's address over those who fell in the Civil War's biggest battle took only moments, but spoke to the ages. It is as basic an American founding document as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
  28. FDR and the Progressive Tradition

    FDR's reforms played a crucial role in meeting the awful test of the Great Depression, and may have saved constitutional government in America.
  29. Why the French Revolution Failed

    The excesses of democracy in France spawned tyranny and wars of conquest. Why did these excesses occur, and how did the young American republic manage to avoid them?
  30. The Liberal Tradition

    The mighty tradition of liberty under law and representative government runs back to the Magna Carta and beyond. More recently, this tradition has been powerfully shaped by great classical liberal thinkers such as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Lord Acton.
  31. Churchill and the War for Freedom

    On June 4, 1940—amid the sternest days in his country's history—Britain's new Prime Minister vowed that his island nation would "never surrender." He was a model of true statesmanship, and freedom's champion in an hour of urgent peril.
  32. The Illiberal Tradition

    This lecture examines the ideas that shaped Hitler's nightmare vision. Despite Hitler's defeat, nationalism, socialism, and vulgarized Darwinism remain influential today as counterfeit forms of liberty.
  33. Hitler and the War Against Freedom

    Hitler's career shows what happens when a nation and its leaders lose their moral compass. His terrifying story teaches us that free peoples must hold the values of liberty as universal and be willing to defend them if liberty is to endure.
  34. The Cold War

    World War II added to the power of Stalin, a tyrant no less despotic than his enemy Hitler. But standing guard over freedom was an America led by presidents like Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Reagan, all of whom shared the great liberal idea that those with power have a moral duty to defend the weak.
  35. Civil Disobedience and Social Change

    In the decades after 1945, nonviolent campaigns for freedom—and above all the movement against racial discrimination led by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.—made key contributions to the growth of liberty.
  36. Freedom and the Lessons of History

    Americans enter the 21st century convinced that we are opening a new era of liberty, prosperity, and peace. Europeans entered the last century with similar beliefs. We close with a cautionary note, taking up a theme first sounded in Athens 25 centuries ago.

Product Features

Prof J Rufus Fears
  • A History Of Freedom by Professor J. Rufus Fears
  • 36 lectures / 30 minutes per lecture
  • DVD using text, graphics, images and maps
  • Booklet supplements each Part

J Rufus Fears lectures...

Related WWII Store items...

  • The Wisdom of History
    36 lectures on DVD, with booklet
  • A History of Freedom
    36 lectures on DVD, with booklet

ScanningWWII.com

Scanning WWII is a project of the Arnett Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, Mesa, Arizona © 2005—2019