A year-long commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War that will explore the many meanings and histories of emancipation and freedom in the United States and beyond. More about the project »
Sarah Bond, "'An Irritant to Everyone'? Tanners in the Ancient Mediterranean."
Urinetown: The Musical is a satirical comedy musical, with music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis. It satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics. Purchase tickets and view showtimes.
Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan. Among her books are Slave Emancipation in Cuba: The Transition to Free Labor, 1860-1899; Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery; and Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation. View speakers full biography.
Jeanne Theoharis, professor of political science at Brooklyn College, will speak on her new book, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. View speakers full biography.
Originally cast as a medallion by the English firm Wedgwood in 1787, "Am I Not a Man and a Brother" appeared on cameos, bracelets, pins, and even pipes and snuffboxes. The movements to end the slave trade and to abolish slavery later used the image in numerous books and broadsides.
The version used here appeared in an 1837 broadside of John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "Our Countrymen in Chains," which highlighted the bitter irony of the existence of "SLAVES-crouching on the very plains, Where rolled the storm of Freedom's war!"
The illustration is one of the iconic images of the movement to abolish slavery, and serves as a symbol of Marquette University's Freedom Project.
In one of the most famous passages ever spoken by a president, Abraham Lincoln ended the Gettysburg Address by urging his fellow Americans to honor the Union soldiers buried in the new National Cemetery by taking an "increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion," to "resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Although the Civil War brought freedom to millions of previously enslaved people, that is not the only kind of freedom to which Lincoln referred.
The Freedom Project recognizes that ideas about and definitions of freedom have been re-born many times in American history. Our purpose is to recognize that, although Americans have a unique relationship to the idea of "Freedom," it is not, in fact, an absolute value, neither as it is defined nor as it is practiced.
It is a social and political construction that has meant-and still means-different things to different people at different times. Lincoln, for instance, had not yet accepted that freedom for the slaves necessarily entailed equal political rights, and few of even the most radical abolitionists accepted the notion that American-style freedom included any political or most economic rights for women.
When, on the eve of America's entry into the Second World War, Franklin Roosevelt proposed that all people everywhere should be able to enjoy the "Four Freedoms"-Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom of religion, Freedom from want, and Freedom from fear-millions of Americans still were not guaranteed those supposedly fundamental conditions. A cursory look at some of the issues that still dominate American politics suggest the complex sets of values that shape our definitions of freedom.
The Freedom Project at Marquette embraces and seeks to explore the many meanings of freedom in the United States.
Questions or comments should be directed to the Project director, James Marten, Professor and Chair, Department of History, at firstname.lastname@example.org.