Marcus M. Witcher, 20th Century U.S. History
Department of History, Huntingdon College 

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Phi Alpha Theta End of the Semester Mixer

Fall 2019, Enlightenment and Revolution

In the Fall, ACRE's history reading group discussed the Enlightenment, or more aptly the Enlightenments. Students read and discussed Hobbs, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hutcheson, Hume, Smith, and Burke. At the conclusion of our reading group, students participated in the Reacting to the Past historical role-play game "The French Revolution." In their Assembly, the students had to decide the fate of France. They prepared and delivered speeches on a variety of topics using the primary source readings.
ACRE's 2019 State-wide Colloquium 

Every year, ACRE invites students from all over the state of Arkansas to discuss ideas. This year I helped design and lead our colloquium on Socialism and Free Enterprise. Students read and discussed Gulag, Factfulness, and Why Not Socialism. We also viewed Wolfgang Becker's tragicomedy Goodbye, Lenin! and discussed. My keynote for the event can be found here

PAT in the Archives - Spring 2019 

Phi Alpha Theta Students Working in the Archives on the History of UCA Through Images, which is forthcoming with Arcadia Publishing in the Fall of 2019. Students selected photographs from UCA's past and researched and wrote captions of those images. The book tells the story of UCA's campus history in four chapters: campus construction, student life, sports, and outreach. 

Summer 2019 FEEcon in Atlanta, Georgia 

I took a group of six UCA students to FEEcon (June 13-15, 2019) where they heard nationally renowned speakers. In addition to talks about free enterprise, poverty, and justice, students had the opportunity to attend professional development seminars. Notable attendees and speakers included: Henrik Scheel, Austin Wintory, Bryan Kelley, Magatte Wade, Dewitt Jones, John Stossel, and Larry Reed. The theme of the conference was "Set Your Path; Change the World," which encouraged students to pursue what they are passionate about. In doing so, the conference speakers insisted that they would enrich others lives and change the world for the better.

Spring 2019 Freedom and Virtue Seminar, UCA

On a Saturday in March, 12 UCA students read What Adam Smith Knew and discussed the morality of market capitalism. Students engaged with primary texts including Hume, Smith, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx. Topics discussed included the importance of liberty and equality in society, the role of virtue in the economic realm, and true meaning of freedom. I hosted and organized this event with the help of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

Spring 2019, The Birth and Evolution of Democracy 

In the Spring we read about the origins and evolution of democracy. We began in Greece, reading primary documents such as Plato, Pericles, Xenophon and others. Then we shifted to Rome and learned about its governmental system. Students read Cicero, Polybius, Tacitus, Augustine and other. We concluded by discussing the Magna Carta and the implications of what we had read on the present. In addition to the readings, students also participated in a Reacting to the Past game that gave them the opportunity to shape Athenian democracy. Set in 403 B.C., following the defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, the students used what they had learned about Athens to determine what governing system the city would adopt. We recreated the assembly, with similar rules and customs to what Athens had at the time, and the students delivered impassioned speeches (where they drew on the primary source documents they had read) to persuade their fellow assembly members that their vision for the future of Athens was the correct one. 

2019 Phil Alpha Theta Regional Conference

Two of our PAT students presented their papers at the 2019 regional conference at Arkansas State University. They both received excellent experience and feedback. Riley Kovalcheck presented her paper "The Modern Plantation: An Analysis of Arkansas Prison Systems" and Iain Montgomery presented his paper "'Now Let the People do the Rest': The Dangerous Effects of Mob Violence in Kentucky and Tennessee, 1906-1909."

Fall  2018 Reading Group on the Constitution

In the Fall we read about institutions and the American Constitution. Students participated in eight weeks of discussion on a series of readings - both primary and secondary. Students read excerpts from the Federalist Papers, Aristotle, Montesquieu, Hume, Locke and others. In addition to these primary sources, they read sections from Edmund Morgan and articles from James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock and other influential constitutional thinkers. At the end of the reading group we held our own Constitutional Convention where students were assigned to be a delegate. Each student had their own interests, their faction's interests, and their state's interest to consider when voting on what type of constitution the new republic would ultimately adopt. Through role playing, the students gained a new perspective on the challenges that faced the delegates in Philadelphia and had a ton of fun along the way.