For the final four months of 2010, two hundred people—most of them strangers to one another—meet twice weekly in a ground-floor lecture hall on the Indiana University campus. What circumstances brought our lives together in this place, at this moment? What challenges are likely to keep us together, or tear us apart, as we go our separate ways in the future?
In this course, we’ll see that each of us is here, in some way, because of decisions made by people before us. From those people, we have inherited the challenge of what Abraham Lincoln, speaking at Gettysburg in 1863, called "unfinished work." Lincoln meant the work of living freely in a nation comprising many kinds of people, with many competing interests.
To uncover the ways in which Lincoln's challenge has brought us together, we will look, just as he did, to "hallowed ground"—the sites where Americans struggled to define the meaning of freedom. These places will draw us into the unfolding struggle for life, liberty, and happiness that recommenced with the end of the Civil War and continues , for every one of us, today.
This portion of the course website contains two interactive documents: "106 Americans" and "American Generations." You will use each of these documents for various assignments during the semester.