Missoula Public Library | 301 East Main Missoula MT 59802 | (406) 721-2665 | M-W 10am-9pm | Th-Sa 10am-6pm | Su 1-5pm

What does it mean to be American? How do the enduring ideas of our nation’s founding era affect our present and future? In honor of Constitution Day on September 17 join your community at Missoula Public Library during the month of September for the programming series Revolutionary Words to engage with others and explore these profound questions. MPL will host scholar-led discussions all month long, including separate, age-appropriate discussion groups for teens, adults, and seniors, as well as a documentary screening and accompanying Community Conversation. Enjoy Constitution Day inspired displays by the Bitter Root Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Our Revolutionary Words series is sponsored locally by Humanities Montana, the Bitter Root Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Soft Landing Missoula, the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, and Imagine Nation Brewing. The series is also made possible by the American Library Association’s Revisiting the Founding Era initiative, a joint endeavor of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National Constitution Center, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Events

How Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution Relate

Tuesday, September 3 - 6:30-8:00 in the Large Meeting Room

Abraham Lincoln described the Declaration of Independence as an “apple of gold to us.  The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it.  The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple—not the apple for the picture.”

This talk will focus on how the universal principles outlined in the Declaration resulted in the framework for the Constitution with representative limited government, separation of powers with checks and balances, and solutions to complaints raised in the Declaration against King George III.  Copies of the Declaration and Constitution for audience reference during the talk will be available. 

The meaning and operation of our country are found in these two texts and it is worthwhile to understand them and their relationship as conversation grows about challenges we face today.  These documents have been questioned over the history of our Republic.  Are there universal truths that allow self-government, or have we evolved to generational truths requiring experts to govern us?  Fortunately we have what Thomas Jefferson called "the best commentary on the principles of government, which was ever written," and what George Washington suggested, would “merit the notice of posterity," in the Federalist Papers.  Perhaps these founders anticipated our questions today.  So by carefully studying the founding documents of our country and the reasons for their creation, we are in a better position to make good decisions for the future.

Jane L. Rectenwald is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and a descendant of a Virginian who voted to ratify the Constitution.  As such she developed an interest in studying the founding documents to learn why and how our country was created.  She holds a degree in English with a minor in science from Northwestern University, and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.

Revisiting the Founding Era Senior Discussion

Tuesday, September 17 - 6:30-8:30 in the Large Meeting Room

In this engaging discussion retired history and political science teacher Matthew Stergios will lead a group dialogue for people 55 years and older about the founding era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence our lives today.  This program is made possible by the American Library Association’s Revisiting the Founding Era initiative.  Pick up your copy of the Revisiting the Founding Era reader today to prepare for this lively discussion and join us in the Library’s Large Meeting Room on Tuesday, September 17 at 6:30pm.  You can also download it, get the PDF here.  Separate discussions will be held during September for teens and adults.

Matthew Stergios served the Missoula community as a teacher for over 41 years.  He has taught political science, humanities, elective on the American Presidency, advanced placement United States history, contemporary global issues, the French and Russian revolutions elective, medieval history and modern European history at Loyola Sacred Heart High School.  Matthew has also taught seminars on George Washington the Founder, and the American Revolution Northern and Southern Campaigns.

Download discussion reader [PDF]

Revisiting the Founding Era Adult Discussion

Monday, September 23 - 6:30-8:30 in the Large Meeting Room

For this program Law Professor and Humanities Montana scholar Anthony Johnstone will lead a group dialogue for adults about the founding era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence our lives today.  This program is made possible by the American Library Association’s Revisiting the Founding Era initiative. Pick up your copy of the Revisiting the Founding Era reader today to prepare for this lively discussion and join us in the Library’s Large Meeting Room on Monday, September 23 at 6:30pm.  You can also download it, get the PDF here.  Separate discussions will be held during September for teens and seniors.

Anthony Johnstone is a Professor of Law and affiliated Professor of Public Administration at the University of Montana's Blewett School of Law.  He teaches and writes about Federal and State Constitutional Law, Legislation, Election Law, Jurisprudence, and related subjects.

Download discussion reader [PDF]

Revisiting the Founding Era Young Adult Discussion

Wednesday, September 25, 6:30-8:30pm in the LMR

Attorney, author, and Sociology Professor, Larry Mansch, will lead a group discussion for young adults about the founding era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence our lives today. This program is made possible by the American Library Association’s Revisiting the Founding Era initiative. Pick up your copy of the Revisiting the Founding Era reader today to prepare for this lively discussion and join us in the Library’s Large Meeting Room on Wednesday, September 25 at 6:30pm. You can also download it here Download discussion reader [PDF]. Separate discussions will be held during September for adults and seniors.
 
Larry Mansch is the Senior Council for the Montana Innocence Project, author of five books, and an Adjunct Professor in the University of Montana’s Department of Sociology.  His fields of study include nineteenth-century U.S. history and he has taught American history and civics classes at Missoula Catholic Schools.

American Creed Documentary Screening and Community Conversation

Monday, September 30 - 6:00-8:45 in the Large Meeting Room

What does it mean to be American?  What is your American Creed?  In this inspiring documentary, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy come together from remarkably different backgrounds, life experiences and points of view to explore the idea of a unifying American creed.  Their spirited inquiry frames the stories of a range of citizen-activists striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise.  Join us for the grand finale of our series Revolutionary Words with a screening of the PBS documentary American Creed followed by an engaging Community Conversation.  The Conversation will include a panel of community representatives from across the spectrum of civic life in Missoula and will be moderated by Humanities Montana scholar Lowell Jaeger.  Join us in the Large Meeting Room at 6:00pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Lowell Jaeger is a Humanities Montana scholar as well as Montana’s former poet laureate.  He is an author and Professor at Flathead Valley Community College.

Sponsors

Our Revolutionary Words series is sponsored locally by Humanities Montana, the Bitter Root Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Soft Landing Missoula, the Missoula Interfaith Collaborative, and Imagine Nation Brewing.

 

               Logo for Humanities Montana        Logo for Soft Landing Missoula   

               Logo for Daughters of the American Revolution     Logo for Missoula Interfaith Collaborative

American Creed is directed, produced, and written by Sam Ball.  Senior executive producer and writer is Randy Bean.  Dan Soles, Sr. VP of Content for WTTW, is executive producer.  Produced by Kate Stilley Steiner.  The broadcast program is edited, co-produced and written by Mike Shen. Cinematography: Sophie Constantinou, Richard Gunderman, Dana Kupper, Garland McLaurin, Jr., and Howard Shack.  Visual Effects: Raffi Simonian. Music: Peter Golub. Georgia Godfrey is consulting producer.  This film is a co-production of Citizen Film and WTTW Chicago.  American Creed was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen.  American Creed Community Conversations are supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

American Creed Community Conversation Partners:

The American Library Association is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services.  For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all.  For more information, visit ala.org.

CONTACT: Colleen Barbus, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Citizen Film is a nonprofit production company dedicated to crafting documentaries with care and dignity.  Citizen Film’s collaborations between filmmakers, grassroots organizations and civic institutions have been featured at America’s most prestigious venues and presented on television.  For more information, visit citizenfilm.org.

CONTACT: Jack Sample, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facing History and Ourselves is an international education network that engages students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry.  Just as the film frames America’s promise, Facing History hopes to inspire young people to engage deeply in a conversation about who we are, and who we want to be.  For more information, visit facinghistory.org

The National Writing Project envisions a future where every person is a civic writer, engaged learner, and active participant in an interconnected world.  NWP is providing conversation facilitation in many parts of the country, and inviting high school students to participate.  On American Creed: Writing Our Future, NWP's Flagship Youth Publishing Site for the American Creed Public Engagement Campaign, students respond to questions about ideals and identity through writing, media and art. 

CONTACT: Christina Cantrill, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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