Freedom of the Press Series of June Lectures

Inside the Inaugural Address: Lessons in the Great American Experiment     Monday, June 11, 2018, 2:00 pm

Inaugural addresses offer a window into the trials and tribulations of the political past.  Presidents sometimes complain about previous administrations, define the principles on which they will govern,   or challenge the nation to reach new heights.  Inaugurals also follow particular organizational guidelines, except when they don’t.  They are both commentaries on the nation, and introductions to America.  Some are well known, some are not, but they all offer a front row seat to what was on the mind of a new chief executive. This lecture and discussion will be led by Matthew Warshauer,  History Professor at Central Connecticut State University.

Parties, the Press, and Political Politeness: Well, Not Really!  Monday, June 18, 2018, 6:30 pm

Oh, the good old days! When politics was polite and statesmen ran the  nation.  Don’t believe it for a minute.  Partisanship and mean-spirited political battles have always been at the center of the American system.  “Factions” and the “baneful weed of party strife” have been tearing at the United States since its inception.  Perhaps it’s why the constitutional convention in Philadelphia has been referred to as a “miracle.” This lecture and discussion will be led by Matthew Warshauer,  History Professor at Central Connecticut State University.

The Alien and Sedition Acts: Wednesday, June 20, 2018, 2:00 pm

This program will discuss the origins, purposes, implementation, and ramifications of the Alien and   Sedition Acts of 1798 and briefly trace the interplay among liberty, national security, and party politics from George Washington’s presidency to Donald Trump’s. The Alien and Sedition Acts were four separate laws, the first three pertaining to foreign nationals and the fourth to American citizens. This lecture and discussion will be led by Dr. Francis Coan, Chairman, Social Sciences Department and Professor of History, Tunxis Community College.

The Enigma of Benjamin Franklin: Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 2:00 pm

Who was Ben Franklin, really? How did his political loyalties influence journalism in 18th century America?  Join us for this roundtable discussion of Ben Franklin and his influence on American politics. Please read The Americanization of Ben Franklin by Gordon Wood before attending, as it will serve as a launch point for this discussion. This discussion will be led by Stephen McGrath, History Professor at Central Connecticut State University. Copies of this book are available at the reference desk.

A PDF of additional reading materials for this series is available on the library’s website. Find it by visiting, and typing Freedom of the Press Reading into the search box. The first result contains the PDF.

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