S4 E9: We Don't Agree on America's Founding Story. Do We Need To?
Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Season 4, Episode 9
- Oct 30, 2023 12:00 pm
- 52:50 mins
Americans struggle to agree on even the most basic parts of America’s founding story. Some say it was divine intervention. Others, a scheme to profit off slavery, or simply a pursuit of freedom. Can we ever really agree on national narrative? Do we even need to? People are complicated and so is history. But when it comes to national narratives and founding stories, we tend to assume only one story can be right - and it's the version that most aligns with our own feelings about America. Simplicity might not be necessary, though. Can a founding story be complicated and contradictory and still do its job? In this podcast episode, a professor of classics recounts how the myth of Romulus and Remus laid a narrative foundation for the rise of the Roman empire. A history scholar explores America’s unique need for a founding story and traces the contributions of George Bancroft, William Gilmore Simms and Frederick Douglass. And a history curriculum designer encourages us to think differently about teaching American history and the nation’s narrative. Podcast Guests: Peter Meineck, Professor of Classics in the Modern World at New York University Colin Woodard, Director of the Nationhood Lab at the Pell Center at Salve Regina University, and author of “Union: The Struggle to Forage the Story of the United States” Abby Reisman, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Pennsylvania