This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 10 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Send the Gift of Lifelong Learning!

American Mind

American Mind

Gifting Information


To send your gift, please complete the form below. An email will be sent immediately to notify the recipient of your gift and provide them with instructions to redeem it.

  • 500 characters remaining.

Frequently Asked Questions

With an eGift, you can instantly send a Great Course to a friend or loved one via email. It's simple:
1. Find the course you would like to eGift.
2. Under "Choose a Format", click on Video Download or Audio Download.
3. Click 'Send e-Gift'
4. Fill out the details on the next page. You will need to the email address of your friend or family member.
5. Proceed with the checkout process as usual.
Q: Why do I need to specify the email of the recipient?
A: We will send that person an email to notify them of your gift. If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: How will my friend or family member know they have a gift?
A: They will receive an email from The Great Courses notifying them of your eGift. The email will direct them to If they are already a customer, they will be able to add the gift to their My Digital Library and mobile apps. If they are not yet a customer, we will help them set up a new account so they can enjoy their course in their My Digital Library or via our free mobile apps.
Q: What if my friend or family member does not receive the email?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: How will I know they have received my eGift?
A: When the recipient clicks on their email and redeems their eGift, you will automatically receive an email notification.
Q: What if I do not receive the notification that the eGift has been redeemed?
A: If the email notification is missing, first check your Spam folder. Depending on your email provider, it may have mistakenly been flagged as spam. If it is not found, please email customer service at ( or call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: I don't want to send downloads. How do I gift DVDs or CDs?
A: eGifting only covers digital products. To purchase a DVD or CD version of a course and mail it to a friend, please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Oops! The recipient already owns the course I gifted. What now?
A: Great minds think alike! We can exchange the eGifted course for another course of equal value. Please call customer service at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance.
Q: Can I update or change my email address?
A: Yes, you can. Go to My Account to change your email address.
Q: Can I select a date in the future to send my eGift?
A: Sorry, this feature is not available yet. We are working on adding it in the future.
Q: What if the email associated with eGift is not for my regular Great Course account?
A: Please please email customer service at ( or call our customer service team at 1-800-832-2412 for assistance. They have the ability to update the email address so you can put in your correct account.
Q: When purchasing a gift for someone, why do I have to create an account?
A: This is done for two reasons. One is so you can track the purchase of the order in your ‘order history’ section as well as being able to let our customer service team track your purchase and the person who received it if the need arises.
Q: Can I return or Exchange a gift after I purchase it?
A: Because the gift is sent immediately, it cannot be returned or exchanged by the person giving the gift. The recipient can exchange the gift for another course of equal or lesser value, or pay the difference on a more expensive item

Priority Code


American Mind

Course No. 4880
Professor Allen C. Guelzo, Ph.D.
Gettysburg College
Share This Course
4.3 out of 5
70 Reviews
64% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 4880
  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for names, works, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. The video version is not heavily illustrated, featuring around 100 photographs and portraits. These photographs and portraits are of prominent American politicians and thinkers, ranging from Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln to John Dewey and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Audio Streaming Included Free

Course Overview

Americans pride themselves on being doers rather than thinkers. Ideas are naturally suspect to such a people. But ideas are at the root of what it means to be American, and today's habits of thought practiced by citizens throughout the United States are the lineal descendants of a powerful body of ideas that traces back to the first European settlers and that was enriched by later generations of American thinkers.

Behind this nation's diverse views on religion, education, social equality, democracy, and other vital issues is a long-running intellectual debate about the right ordering of the human, natural, and divine worlds.

In their own times such great thinkers as Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, William James, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others engaged in lively and often contentious debate that helped mold America's institutions and attitudes. Their approach was frequently honed by ideas from abroad—from Locke, Hume, Kant, Darwin, Marx, Freud, and Gandhi, among others.

This immensely stimulating conversation that made the U.S. what it is today is the subject of The American Mind, a series of 36 lectures that offers you a broad survey of American intellectual history.

Politics, Religion, Education, Philosophy

In this course you will delve deeply into the philosophical underpinnings of the nation, forged by the Puritans and the leaders of the American Revolution. You will also explore many other aspects of the elaborate structure that became modern America, tracing ideas in politics, religion, education, philosophy, psychology, anthropology, literature, social theory, and science—proving that Americans have a much richer intellectual tradition than generally imagined.

Your teacher is the distinguished historian Allen C. Guelzo, an unprecedented two-time winner of both the Lincoln Prize and the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize for his successive books on Abraham Lincoln, one of America's most underrated but influential intellectuals.

The Washington Post noted themes in Professor Guelzo's work that are especially relevant to this course: "In his book on Lincoln as a man of ideas, Guelzo argues that Americans have failed to recognize what an intellectually vibrant country this was in the first half of the 19th century."

America: A Hotbed of Ideas

As it was in Lincoln's day, so it has been throughout U.S. history: America is an enduring hotbed of ideas. For example:

  • The Transcendentalists: In 1834, Ralph Waldo Emerson moved to Concord, Massachusetts, where he began work on the brief book that would become his manifesto, Nature. With its publication, Kantian epistemology and romantic sensibility arrived in America with a bang. Emerson's later lecture entitled "The Transcendentalist"provided a name for this influential new movement.
  • Pragmatism: William James codified a characteristically American philosophy in his book Pragmatism: A New Name For Some Old Ways of Thinking. The term came from Kant, and the concept grew out of a short-lived philosophical club that James had attended in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the early 1870s. The club included Chauncey Wright, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and a bafflingly eccentric mathematician-turned-philosopher named Charles Sanders Peirce.
  • Conservatism: The origin of a distinctively American brand of conservatism is linked to the arrival of émigré European intellectuals after World War II. These thinkers found allies among former American communists, who had turned away from socialism; traditionalist Roman Catholics; and Southern agrarians.

An Entirely Different Map of the American Mind

Professor Guelzo's goal in this course is to lay out an entirely different map of the American mind from that taught in traditional presentations of American intellectual history. The usual approach underrates the Puritan contributions, marginalizes 18th-century theologian Jonathan Edwards, embellishes the influence of Benjamin Franklin, oversimplifies pragmatism, and slights the rich contributions of a wide range of 20th-century thinkers.

In these 36 lectures, Dr. Guelzo remedies these shortcomings by covering the large stretches of intellectual territory that are ignored in the traditional survey. You begin with the Puritans, exploring their participation in a larger, transatlantic realm of philosophical work. Next you study Jonathan Edwards as the creative fusion of two seemingly opposed trends: the spiritual revival of the Great Awakening and the passion for reason sparked by the Enlightenment.

After examining the intellectual currents underlying the American Revolution, you focus on the backlash against Enlightenment values that spawned American Romanticism. Then you study the surprising diversity of American pragmatism and discover that it cannot account for such 20th-century intellectual developments as the Old Left, the New Left, and Neo-Conservatism.

Throughout the course, Dr. Guelzo stresses the persistence of six fundamental themes that developed as the nation matured. These are at the center of our lives today and will doubtless be the principal preoccupations of American minds for a long time to come:

  • Intellect versus will: From the Puritans to Lincoln to the behaviorist B. F. Skinner, no question has shown up more often in American culture than the struggle between intellect and will—whether it is more important to think or to act.
  • The persistence of religion: Religious ideas have defied every prediction of their demise and have remained a living part of American intellectual life.
  • Religion versus the Enlightenment: From the colonial era until today, religion and the Enlightenment have formed the two souls of the American consciousness.
  • The power of liberal capitalism: American history has been marked by the struggle between liberty and power; a contest exemplified by the liberal capitalism of Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln matched against the agrarian populism of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.
  • Pragmatism: In the post-Civil War decades, American thinking made a dramatic shift away from traditional philosophical and social thinking toward pragmatism and secularism.
  • The rise to world power: America's ascent to world power through two world wars has created entirely new dilemmas and responsibilities for the nation and its thinkers.

An Intellectual Feast

One of the fascinating aspects of this course is that you trace the origin and evolution of America's colleges, which have served as a battleground of ideas, sometimes in an almost literal sense. In 1732, a leader of the Great Awakening held a bonfire of doctrinally suspect books at Yale College, expressing the hope that "the Authors of those Books, those of them that are dead, are roasting in the Flames of Hell…."

Many of the adherents of the Great Awakening turned their backs on America's venerable Puritan colleges, Harvard and Yale, to found alternative institutions such as Princeton, Rhode Island College (which became Brown), Queen's College (which became Rutgers), and Dartmouth. Two others, the future University of Pennsylvania and Columbia College, also bore the imprint of the Awakening.

A century later, higher education's religious calling was all but forgotten as American colleges embraced the secular mission of providing human capital to industry in the aftermath of the Civil War. And in the 1950s and '60s, the pendulum swung back to a more communal orientation under the influence of the radical New Left.

You will also learn about books that left their stamp on American intellectual life, such as Jonathan Edwards's Freedom of the Will in the 1700s, Frances Wayland's Elements of Political Economy and William James's Principles of Psychology in the 1800s, W. E. B. Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk and Henry Adams's The Education of Henry Adams in the early 20th century, along with works by Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, B. F. Skinner, Reinhold Niebuhr, Leo Strauss, and others in more recent times.

Professor Guelzo has laid out an intellectual feast made up almost entirely of homegrown American ingredients, with a dash of inspiration from abroad. You will find an abundance of food for thought, and after the first helping, you will definitely be back for more.

Hide Full Description
36 lectures
 |  30 minutes each
  • 1
    The Intellectual Geography of America
    Is there an American mind? The view of Americans as doers rather than thinkers has been reinforced by the way American intellectual history is traditionally taught. However, this approach is suspect because it ignores large parts of the national debate over ideas. x
  • 2
    The Technology of Puritan Thinking
    As colonizers, the Puritans brought with them a vibrant intellectual life, born partly of the Calvinist Reformation and partly of medieval scholasticism. But they also brought with them unresolved problems over the intellect and the will. x
  • 3
    The Enlightenment in America
    The Enlightenment made its first beachheads in America in the colonial colleges, beginning at Harvard and including the College of William and Mary, the Academy of Philadelphia, and Yale. The attraction of Enlightenment thinking was both intellectual and cultural. x
  • 4
    Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening
    Jonathan Edwards was influenced by the immaterialism of British philosopher Bishop George Berkeley, using that philosophical base to criticize compromisers among the ranks of New England Puritanism. Ultimately, immaterialism became linked to Edwards's role in the spiritual revival known as the Great Awakening. x
  • 5
    The Colonial Colleges
    The Great Awakening was a major force in establishing new colleges in colonial America, as angry Awakeners turned their backs on institutions such as Yale and Harvard and founded alternative colleges. But these colleges were quickly absorbed into the intellectual life of the Enlightenment. x
  • 6
    Republican Fundamentals
    As the American colonies prospered, the British government took steps to regulate that prosperity. The colonies resented this intrusion and found in the classical liberalism of English Whig political theorists a ready explanation for the legitimacy of their own governments. x
  • 7
    Nature’s God and the American Revolution
    Long in gestation, the ideas that made the American Revolution trace back to the Enlightenment resistance to authority, the colonists' religious radicalism, and the example of the English Whigs. All that was needed to set off revolt was the British government's attempt to override the colonies' own assemblies. x
  • 8
    Deism, Science, and Revolution
    If America was the darling of the Enlightenment, then the Enlightenment's favorite location in America was Philadelphia, thanks to its extraordinary collection of thinkers and institutions, and to its commitment to reconciling science and religion in the spirit of Scottish "common sense" philosophy. x
  • 9
    Hamilton and His Money
    Only when America's Whigs had a republic on their hands did they realize that there was no agreement on what shape a republic should take—whether it should follow the example of Jefferson and classical republicanism or the commercial liberal republicanism of Alexander Hamilton. x
  • 10
    Jefferson and His Debts
    Jefferson is revered as the author of the Declaration of Independence and a paragon of reason. However, his experience of debt drove him to romanticize the glories of independent farming and promote policies that broke the old revolutionary coalition into Federalist and Democratic-Republican parties. x
  • 11
    The Edwardseans—From Hopkins to Finney
    The Revolution was a disappointment to religious leaders who hoped to ride its victories to new levels of moral and cultural authority. But the disciples of Jonathan Edwards soon learned how to restart the energies of revival and reverse the fall of the republic into Enlightenment secularism. x
  • 12
    The Moral Philosophers
    Scottish "common sense" philosophy became a vehicle by which religious thinkers reintroduced religious morality into public life by cloaking it in "natural law." These moral philosophers would have enjoyed even greater influence had they not failed to solve the knottiest of American problems in public ethics: slavery. x
  • 13
    Whigs and Democrats
    Although Republican political theory deplored political parties, both Jefferson and Hamilton emerged as the heads of parties in the 1790s. Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans dominated Hamilton's Federalists, but the Jeffersonians themselves split in the 1830s, spawning the Whigs, led by Henry Clay. x
  • 14
    American Romanticism
    The Enlightenment's glorification of reason eventually fostered a backlash in the form of Romanticism. The influence of religious revivalism and the distaste for democratic politics combined to breed an American Romanticism, with New England Transcendentalism as its most talented manifestation. x
  • 15
    Faith and Reason at Princeton
    The challenge offered to religion by Enlightenment reason was never as stark as it seemed. Many Enlightenment figures continued to experiment in religion, and many religious thinkers assimilated the principles of reason into more persuasive forms of belief, notably at the Princeton Theological Seminary. x
  • 16
    Romanticism in Mercersburg
    American Romanticism often manifested itself as a rebellion against past authority. However, some conservative forms of Romanticism embraced the past and glorified tradition and history as a different way of questioning the supremacy of reason. x
  • 17
    Slaveholders and Abolitionists
    The use of slave labor was the one blot on the record of American liberty, made all the more disgraceful by the way it defined slaves as chattel property. Most embarrassing of all, slavery was attacked not on the basis of Enlightenment reason but by radical religious Romantics. x
  • 18
    Lincoln and Liberal Democracy
    Lincoln's election as president finally delivered the nation's political initiative into the hands of an opponent of slavery. The ensuing Civil War allowed him both to destroy slavery and to install the Whig economic and political agenda as the reigning American ideology. x
  • 19
    The Failure of the Genteel Elite
    Despite its success at preserving the Union, the Civil War and the corruption that followed in its wake disillusioned many American thinkers with religious orthodoxy and democratic society. The postwar decades became the "Gilded Age," dominated by corporate models of organization and cynical social critics. x
  • 20
    Darwin in America
    Published in 1859, Darwin's Origin of Species had a delayed impact in America because of the Civil War. But in the postwar decades, Darwin's ideas undermined support of a public role for religion and spawned social philosophies that lauded unrestrained economic competition. x
  • 21
    Liberalism and the Social Gospel
    Evolution posed a moral problem to thinkers who embraced a Darwinian account of human origins but shrank from applying the logic of natural selection to human society. The result was a struggle to accommodate religion to Darwinism, which flowered into religious liberalism and the Social Gospel. x
  • 22
    The Agony of William James
    No family in America followed an intellectual path as tortured as that of William James, whose own life was a struggle to reconcile Darwin, materialism, and science with religion. It was only in pragmatism that James found room for hope and peace of mind. x
  • 23
    Josiah Royce—The Idealist Dissenter
    If pragmatism suited James as a replacement for absolutes, it left Josiah Royce unsatisfied. Royce represents both the last serious effort by an American philosopher to build a workable notion of idealism, as well as the last American philosopher to command an important public audience for philosophy. x
  • 24
    John Dewey and Social Pragmatism
    Influenced by the postwar battles of capital and labor, John Dewey translated James's pragmatism into an optimistic but morally relativistic social policy, in which social democracy rather than the assuagement of personal doubt was the ultimate objective. x
  • 25
    Socialism in America
    The postwar wave of corporate industrial organization was met by an opposing wave of working-class resistance, and that resistance was frequently attracted by the promise of socialism. Socialism as an ideology, however, had few takers in America. x
  • 26
    Populists, Progressives, and War
    In the 1880s, widespread grievances of farmers crystallized in the Populist Movement, while the most important reform ideology among the middle class was Progressivism, where the main concern was not about redistribution or revolution but about efficiency. x
  • 27
    Decade of the Disenchanted
    The idealism with which Woodrow Wilson led America into World War I and the disappointments that followed produced a deeply jaded rejection of all idealisms, moral and political. The great voices of the 1920s were its skeptics, cynics, and mockers. x
  • 28
    The Social Science Revolution
    The idea that human societies could be reduced to scientific analysis was another byproduct of the Enlightenment, which saw no reason why the discovery of physical law should not be matched by the discovery of social law. x
  • 29
    The New South versus the New Negro
    The post-Civil War South was torn between a romantic attachment to the "Lost Cause" myth and submission to the industrial system of the victorious North. Two backward-looking trends that emerged were the New Agrarians of the 1930s and the Jim Crow legislation imposed on American blacks. x
  • 30
    FDR and the Intellectuals
    The Great Depression traumatized the American psyche and, with the election of Franklin Roosevelt, brought about a dramatic realignment of American political life. The Depression also turned American intellectuals decisively against industrial capitalism and even drove many to embrace Communism. x
  • 31
    Science under the Cloud
    The development of the atomic bomb was both a tremendous public achievement for American scientists and the origin of a serious moral dilemma—all the more so since the culture of American science was built around the conviction that moral dilemmas were unscientific. x
  • 32
    Ironic Judgments
    Considered the greatest American theologian of his day, Reinhold Niebuhr exposed the facile underpinnings of liberal optimism. His skepticism came mixed with an urgency to separate ethics from perfectionism so that it could function in the real-world struggle against totalitarianism. x
  • 33
    Mass Culture and Mass Consumption
    The rise of totalitarian regimes in Europe in the 1930s propelled a wave of intellectual immigration to America. But many émigrés were shocked by the grip of commercial culture on American thinking. The American response in the 1950s was to glorify mass culture and turn it into an art form, pop art. x
  • 34
    Integration and Separation
    The persistence of segregation left black intellectuals looking for radical solutions. It was a mainstream religious figure, Martin Luther King, Jr., who guided the black struggle for civil rights back onto the path of integration into American society and culture. x
  • 35
    The Rebellion of the Privileged
    World War II was a triumph over fascism, but not necessarily in favor of liberal democracy. The Vietnam War radicalized both American intellectuals and a new generation of college students into a New Left—a movement that eventually wilted in the face of government hostility and public indifference. x
  • 36
    The Neo-Conservatives
    Erected by émigré intellectuals after World War II, American conservatism was a composite movement, combining elements of religious dissent and secular liberalism. It also offered a viable intellectual alternative for Americans who remained fundamentally loyal to the liberalism of the Founders. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Audio Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 36 audio lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 6 DVDs
  • 152-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
Video DVD
CD Includes:
  • 36 lectures on 18 CDs
  • 152-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE audio streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 152-page printed course guidebook
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider
  • Timeline

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Allen C. Guelzo

About Your Professor

Allen C. Guelzo, Ph.D.
Gettysburg College
Dr. Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Among garnering other honors, he has received the Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution. He is a member of the National Council on the Humanities. Professor Guelzo is...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


American Mind is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 70.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Clear Roadmap of American Thought Guelzo doesn't disappoint and every sentence is tight. He provides details left out of many courses and his vocal inflections keep your attention. If I'd done this course in college, I would have been able to skip many others. I tend to disagree with those who bashed this course because of a perceived focus on religion. Yes, he starts with Puritans in L2, but by L3 Guelzo is discussing the Enlightenment, L4 discusses materialism and the disappointments of the Johnathan Edwards religious revivals, L5 concerns the inductive reasoning of Witherspoon's Scottish "common sense" and W's disdain for Edwards & the Awakening. L8 religionists established schools where Enlightenment thinkers thrived. Guelzo is not presenting a triumphant march of religious thought but rather highlighting its decline. L9-16 focus changes from university founding to the delicate balance of power between Jefferson and Hamilton, Clay vs Jackson, Romantic reactions to the Enlightenment and their problems with Christianity. L17-19 take the reader into a "man on the street" view of slavery, a clear examination of Lincoln's views, the costs and irreversible changes in thought produced by the Civil War. L20-23 Darwinism, reactions to it, the new field of psychology and the moderating voices of William James and Josiah Royce. Bain and Mill are the first adherents to various fleeting "mechanical brain" hypotheses until Freud, (L28) introduced a primitive theory of central nervous system complexity via feedback loops. L24 Dewey's "society as a shapeless collection of individuals", his redefinition of philosophy "as a code word for social purpose", his "Laboratory School", and his odd contradictions. L 25 Henry George's evils of unearned "rents", and why socialism failed in America. L26 Progressivism as an efficiency improvement to capitalism via T. Roosevelt's elitism. Woodrow Wilson's Progressive views leading to numerous surprising endpoints and a decade of sarcasm. L31 the ethical quandaries of post Enlightenment scientists. L32 post-war theologian Niebuhr (of interest to me as he is said to be admired by a recent President). L33-4 the post-1930's intellectual immigration to the US and its radical university changes. L 36 why Conservative thought is divided. There is much more to this course. It is extremely well organized, was really hard to stop listening., and would rate this in my top ten. I hope my review is helps you.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Revisionist History Personified. This is the fourth (and will be the last) of Prof Guelzo's courses I have purchased and completed. In all of his courses, his bias toward a revised history in line with his Conservative values is detectable. But in this course, he slaps the student in the face with his prejudice. As an educator he should be expected to deliver the information in a thought provoking manner laced with facts, context and theory such that the student can engage in their own critical thinking. Instead he utilizes the modern trick of divisive politics to selective choose those topics and supporting information which mesh with his pre-conceived worldview and narrative. then weave them into a story that appears logically consistent and complete. For those few times he bothers to mention views outside his carefully constructed narrative, his sardonic presentation drips with contempt. Prof Guelzo lays out his narrative in the very first lecture, dismissing what he calls the Great Convention of American intellectual history and replaces it with his own "selective history" version. His version starts with the Puritans with their unique brand of Calvinist theology, who founded Harvard on a European university model, as a bastion of medieval scholasticism. He then acknowledges the Enlightenment for its focus on power of reason and free will of the people, which led to the founding of a new crop of Universities: Penn, Princeton, etc. But the real home run in Guelzo's narrative was the Great Awakening and its Evangelical Christianity successors. From this movement he posits came the moral foundation for the American Intellectual Movement. Yes, the Romantic movement added some relish and the Pragmatic movement was relevant, but the morality of Evangelicalism was the saving Grace of the nation. That is theme one. Theme two is that virtually all intellectual progression came from faculty members of the Academia (self-serving?).Based on the Guelzo narrative the founding era was the only time when political figures contributed to the forming of the American Mind (with one exception: Abraham Lincoln, the subject of Prof Guelzo's academic expertise). After the founding period and the establishment of American universities, Academics took control of the intellectual development of the nation. This intellectual source from the academy included the philosophers, the religious department, the historians, i.e. the humanities. It was led by those in the academy who had an attachment to a religious interpretation and therefore a moral foundation. It did not include the amoral scientists who (despite descending from Isaac Newton, a founding father of the Enlightenment) were too busy just pursuing their craft to have a moral conscience; in Prof Guelzo's mind the scientific method had no standing in determining the intellectual fabric of the American Mind. This narrative teaches us about a Mind. It is not the American Mind, but the blinkered mind of Dr. Guelzo. Let's see what is missing from this Academic, Evangelical, self-appointed moralistic view of America's intellectual history. There is no mention of writers or spokespersons from outside the academy who contributed to the nation's intellectual capital. For example, missing is the influence the writers at Harper's Weekly had on the progressive movement during the TJR years. Dr. Guelzo is quick to point out that the Abolitionist movement was a religious affair citing the Baptist, William Llloyd Garrison as one of its intellectual leaders. Garrison's role should clearly be acknowledged, but at the same time slavery itself was justified based on Biblical grounds. The fact that Garrison's own Baptist faith split along black-white lines indicates that white Evangelicals were on both sides of the slavery issue. Quakers, who many did not consider Christian, played a key role in the Underground Railroad. But Dr. Guelzo's most egregious misrepresentation occurs in his lecture "Science Under a Cloud". The "cloud" he speaks to is symbolic of the mushroom cloud of the atom bomb. His characterization of the scientists who worked on the bomb as amoral practictioners merely interested in promoting their pursuit of science, fails to acknowledge the fact that scientists engaged in the project largely because they understood the Nazis to be working on a similar bomb (they were), and when Germany surrendered many of the scientists spoke out against dropping the bomb on Japan. Of course, Dr. Guelzo was not simply discrediting these scientists but science in general as he disparaged the scientific method itself. I guess in his blinkered world he doesn't realize that the scientific method was a primary product of the Enlightenment, the same one that he sees as a seminal force in the formation of the American Mind. To understand how Dr. Guelzo can hold such an uninformed and prejudicial view, I recommend the TGC course: "Science in the 20th Century: A Social Intellectual Survey" by Dr. Steven Goldman. In this course, Dr. Goldman characterizes the post Cold War, post Vietnam war, anti-science backlash as coming from 3 sources: 1)The political left who saw science as the developers of instruments of war, 2)The religious right who saw science as promoting Evolution, genetics research, cosmology and other science which questioned a strict Biblical interpretation, and 3)Humanities faculty of universities and colleges who were professional jealous of the relatively large research funding and academic program emphasis of Science departments. Dr. Guelzo, whose career hails back to that era, personifies points 2) and 3). Given America's place in the world as a technological and intellectual leader, it is clear that the American Mind is an inquiring mind. Such a collective mind is an open mind, not one that starts with a pre-conceived narrative and selective digs through history with a revisionist approach uncovering only that evidence which supports such a narrative. Dr. Guelzo has totally missed the mark with this course.
Date published: 2017-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Product and Delivery Options The American Mind is an excellent course. I've given it as a gift to other because it provides such an informative summary of nearly 500 years developing the American mentality philosophically, politically, theologically, socially, and economically. The professor provides very good details about so many important historical events, and never talks down to his audience. The on-line streaming is a perfect complement to the CD because I can keep listening even when I do not have the CDs with me. Bravo to The Great Courses.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An intriguing way to catch ones attention. My pastor and some church members are doing a study of these series. Very informative background of our country's history of philosophy and politics.
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great content but annoying presentation The content of this course is informative, in keeping with the great quality of Great Courses offerings. However, Professor Guelzo has an overly - and overtly - sardonic delivery that borders on snarky. Irony is fine in its place, but when it overwhelms the material, as it does here, one gets the impression that the presenter is more fascinated by hearing his voice than he is in what he is presenting.
Date published: 2017-04-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Prof. Guelzo is a masterful lecturer! This was a highly enjoyable course. Prof. Guelzo is outstanding: clear, erudite, thoughtful, and clearly a master of his material. Be sure and check out all of his courses, especially his lectures in the History of the US.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fine course and excellent Professor This course was most interesting and Professor Guelzo could not have been more enthusiastic about the material covered. His delivery is smooth and very engaging. Both my wife and I were sorry to see the course end.
Date published: 2016-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from American Mind Wow! I will not write an extensive review of this course, so I will use only one word: Excellent. It is not only the content, and breath of information but also Professor Guelzo's superior presentation.. I hope he follows on his promise at the end of the course and gives us the pleasure to listen him on the Second Part of the American Mind
Date published: 2016-10-07
  • y_2018, m_1, d_16, h_10
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_2.0.6
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_2, tr_68
  • loc_en_US, sid_4880, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 10.21ms

Questions & Answers


1-10 of 11 Questions
1-10 of Questions

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Buy together as a Set
Save Up To $332.00
Choose a Set Format
Video title