"We the People." The Constitution begins with those deceptively simple words, but how do Americans define that "We?" In his talk "Exclusion & Inclusion: The Battle to Define America," Railton will argue that throughout our history those two competing yet interconnected concepts have battled to define our national identity and community.
From the earliest moments of European contact with indigenous peoples, through the Revolutionary period's debates on African American slavery, 19th century conflicts over Indian Removal, Mexican landowners, and Chinese immigrants, 20th century controversies around Filipino Americans and Japanese internment, and 21st century fears of Muslim Americans, time and again this defining battle has shaped our society and culture.
Carefully exploring and critically examining those histories, and the key stories and figures they feature, is vital to understanding America—and to making sense of the Trump era, when the battle between exclusion and inclusion can be found in every significant debate and moment.