The American Studies Program seeks to clarify the foundations of American thought and experience and to understand the challenge to these foundations posed by contemporary criticisms. It investigates the understanding of human nature, political order and justice shared by America's founders and by some earlier American statesmen, novelists, and poets. Central to this understanding is a concept of equality that aims at securing natural rights equally distributed to human beings by God, and a concept of liberty that is consistent with responsibility and moral virtue. Candidates consider how national institutions took shape within this earlier understanding and how they were subsequently transformed by 20th Century criticism of the founding. The program aims to re-establish the connections between American self-understanding and the Western tradition of reason, republicanism, and Biblical revelation. The Master of American Studies degree requires 30 hours of course work, a comprehensive examination, and participation in two semester institutes. No thesis or foreign language is required.
Wayside Inn, Sudbury, Massachusetts. 18th Century.