The History and Heritage of Western and American Civilization
June 11, 2018
Dear Tom Woods/Liberty Classroom Member!
Greetings from southern Michigan. For nineteen years, I have had the privilege of teaching core courses to freshmen and sophomores on the history and heritage of Western and American civilization. Each course is based strictly on primary documents, thus covering Genesis to the Cold War in two semesters.
As we use only primary sources in the Hillsdale College Department of History, we do our best to limit the biases that so pervade the current and shoddy state of academia. And, in true liberal (liberal, properly understood—to be liberated from the things of this world; not as in the modern definition—to be a wishy-washy socialist without any real convictions) fashion, we have our students talk with Aristotle as well as with Tocqueville. I, as professor, certainly have my views, and I create the narrative, but the very use of primary sources attenuates the possible tyranny of Birzer snobbishness.
Over the next year—with mighty Tom’s gracious permission—I will be adding to these lectures. The set now presented comes from the 2006-2007 school year. At that time, I was teaching a “celebrity” who only attended class via these recordings. Thus, I had to make sure that he knew the context, even though he wasn’t present in class. You might figure out who it is over time, though I would rather not advertise his name blatantly. Needless to write, he was a great student, despite the logistics.
Please know that:
- You should be able to get the context of the document immediately, and each of the documents used appears at various websites on line. Google is your friend! If you want the exact context, you should feel free to order the Hillsdale College Western and American Heritage readers—available online.
- These are classroom lectures and discussions. Sometimes I’m fully audible, and, sometimes, I’m a bit faded out, given the angle of the microphone, etc. I’m posting these lectures, then, warts and all.
- This is the first set of lectures. The second set will be from 2016-2017, a full decade later. This coming school year, 2018-2019, I will be recording every lecture again. If you’re truly OCD and a glutton for punishment, you can watch how my own views change over the years. I’m not claiming they improve! Only that they change.
Regardless, thank you for supporting Liberty Classroom. Ave, Tom Woods!
Yours, Brad Birzer