Published on: February 7th, 2023

Hillsdale College Launches New Online Course: “The American Left: From Liberalism to Despotism”

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The course is the 37th produced by Hillsdale College and the eleventh on American political thought; more than 3.2 million people have enrolled in these courses since their inception

Hillsdale College announces its newest online course, “The American Left: From Liberalism to Despotism.” Associate Professor of Politics Kevin Slack teaches the free series, which was released on Jan. 31.  Dr. Slack has also been a visiting faculty fellow at Hillsdale in D.C.

“This course provides a fascinating account of the transformation of the American left since the era of Franklin Roosevelt,” said Kyle Murnen, director of Online Learning at Hillsdale College. “If you’ve ever wanted to know the source of the radical changes to American politics, education, business, and morality, this course is for you.”

 The online course is based on Slack’s forthcoming book, “War on the American Republic: How Liberalism became Despotism.” “Most accounts of American political thought end in 1945 or they lump contemporary political figures like Barack Obama in with the old New-Deal-era Progressives,” said Slack. “The truth is, a lot of disruptive and destructive things have happened since then. Many members of our ruling class — including those who call themselves conservative or Republican — don’t seem to be bothered by the deterioration of life in America. In fact, they seem to benefit from it.”

Kevin Slack is an associate professor of politics at Hillsdale College, where he teaches both graduate and undergraduate students. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Indiana University, a master’s degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, a master’s in political philosophy from the University of Dallas, and a Ph.D. in politics from the University of Dallas. He is the author of “Benjamin Franklin, Natural Right, and the Art of Virtue.” He is also published in American Political Thought, New England Quarterly, The Latin Americanist, Church History, The American Mind, The American Thinker, and Heritage First Principles Series.

 “The American Left” includes lessons on:

  • Liberalism’s Rejection of Progressivism
  • The Origins of the Radical Left
  • Civil Rights and Black Power
  • The Student New Left
  • The Feminist Movement
  • The Sexual Revolution
  • The Radicals March Through the Institutions
  • The Rise of the Neoliberal Consensus
  • Identity Politics and the Great Awokening
  • Confronting the Modern Left

 “This course reveals the origins, ideas, and policies of the movements that dominate the left today,” said Murnen. “Anyone interested in the nature and direction of American politics should take it.”

View photos from the course here.
View the course’s trailer here.

About Hillsdale in D.C.

Hillsdale in D.C. is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—it seeks to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the America’s principles to their central place in the political life of the nation.

About Hillsdale College

Hillsdale College is an independent liberal arts college located in southern Michigan. Founded in 1844, the College has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 5.7 million. For more information, visit