What a great couple of days. I always enjoy working with teachers, but the group from San Bernardino has been awesome. Leslie Smith and Gil Diaz have a wonderful group of teachers to work with on the county’s Teaching American History Grant. I even met one teacher whose nephew attends Messiah College and another one whose daughter is considering Messiah. Small world.
I spent the morning lecturing on the Enlightenment in America. I did my best to humanize the Enlightenment by introducing the stories of Benjamin Franklin and Philip Vickers Fithian and their “way of improvement.” I then discussed the ways in which the Enlightenment influenced colonial religion, politics, science, and education. We had about 30 minutes left for Q&A and I answered questions related to everything from church and state to John Locke to how the Enlightenment penetrated New England Puritanism. Following the session I signed close to 100 copies of The Way of Improvement Leads Home and got to talk to a lot of dedicated teachers such as Susan, Claudia, Carlos, Don, and Barb, to name only a few.
I wish the San Bernardino group well as they take their journey through American history and I hope that their paths might cross again someday soon. Thanks again to Leslie Smith and her staff (thanks for the ride to the hotel, Trina) for their hospitality.