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Wells Fargo Speaker Series

Dr. Daniel Dreisbach ʼ81
Rhodes scholar & Professor
School of Public Affairs at American University
Washington, D.C.

Thursday, February 20
Chapman Cultural Center Theatre
8:30 - 9 a.m.: Networking
9 - 10 a.m.: Presentation: "Visualizing Liberty in the New Nation" 
Continental breakfast is included in the ticket price. 

"Visualizing Liberty in the New Nation"

The language of "liberty" was on the lips of patriotic Americans who fought for and secured independence from England in the late eighteenth century.  Patrick Henry, for example, famously declared:  "give me liberty or give me death." What did liberty mean to these Americans, and what did it look like? This presentation will examine the images and symbols of liberty in late-eighteenth-century political, religious and popular culture, many of which remain familiar features of twenty-first-century discussions of freedom and liberty.


Daniel Dreisbach HeadshotDaniel L. Dreisbach is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. Following law school, he served as a judicial clerk for Circuit Judge Robert F. Chapman of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and for two years he practiced public interest law specializing in civil and religious liberties. 

Professor Dreisbach's research interests include constitutional law and the intersection of politics, law and religion in American public life. He is a current member of the editorial board of Politics and Religion (a Cambridge University Press journal) and a former managing editor of the Journal of Law and Politics. He has authored or edited eight books, including Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (New York University Press, 2002), Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (Oxford University Press, 2014) and The Sacred Rights of Conscience (Liberty Fund, 2009). He has contributed essays to leading reference works such as The Cambridge History of Religions in America (2012) andOxford Handbook on Church and State in the United States (2010). He has published over 75 book chapters, reviews and articles in scholarly journals, including American Journal of Legal History,Constitutional CommentaryEmory Law JournalPolitics and Religion, Journal of Church and State andWilliam & Mary Quarterly

The U.S. Supreme Court has cited Dreisbach's scholarship, and he served as a consultant to the Library of Congress for a major exhibit on "Religion and the Founding of the American Republic." He has been a featured commentator in numerous documentaries, including the recent PBS (American Experience and Frontline, WGBH-Boston) series, "God in America." He is a Senior Fellow at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion. In 2006-07, he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. Professor Dreisbach is a past recipient of American University's highest faculty award, "Scholar/Teacher of the Year."  

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