A Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story

The Great American StoryWe’re pleased to announce that Hillsdale’s new free online course, “The Great American Story: A Land of Hope,” is now available! With an introduction by Hillsdale College President Larry P. Arnn, the course is taught by Wilfred M. McClay, distinguished teaching fellow at Hillsdale College and author of Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story.

Hillsdale produced this new online course in the belief that a proper understanding of America’s great heritage of liberty is essential to the cultivation of intelligent patriotism, which is itself essential to preserving free government. Studying the birth, growth, and survival of America—one of the most significant events in human history—provides foundational knowledge that we can apply to the challenges of our day.

The course presents a full and unbiased account of America’s true history, providing a powerful counterweight to “fake history” such as The New York Times’ 1619 Project aimed at subverting the teaching of history in American elementary and high schools nationwide. According to the 1619 Project, the central feature of America is not freedom, but slavery.

Given the biased and dishonest ideology prevalent in our colleges, universities, and increasingly our K-12 schools, is it a surprise that so many young Americans feel less of a patriotic attachment to their country? Instead, they are increasingly attracted—out of ignorance—to ideas like socialism that are destructive of liberty.

President Ronald Reagan once said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” What Reagan meant is that it is not enough to pass liberty on to the next generation—we must also prepare that generation to preserve and pass on liberty themselves. We are failing at that duty if we do nothing to combat the teaching of biased and distorted history to young Americans.

In presenting the great triumphs and achievements of our nation, as well as the shortcomings and failures, “The Great American Story: A Land of Hope” presents an accurate picture of what happened in the past with a sympathy for those who lived back then. It helps us to learn from those who came before us and secure the knowledge necessary for free government.

Homeschoolers can easily incorporate “The Great American Story” into an American history or civics class. This free online course includes 25 lectures, each with a 26-minute average lecture time.

Course Outline:

  1. Introduction
  2. Beginnings
  3. The Revolution of Self-Rule
  4. The New Nation
  5. The Experiment Begins, Part One
  6. The Experiment Begins, Part Two
  7. The Culture of Democracy and Its Shadow, Part One
  8. The Culture of Democracy and Its Shadow, Part Two
  9. The House Divides, Part One
  10. The House Divides, Part Two
  11. Reconstruction and Transformation, Part One
  12. Reconstruction and Transformation, Part Two
  13. Becoming a World Power
  14. The Progressive Era, Part One
  15. The Progressive Era, Part Two
  16. The Great War and Its Aftermath, Part One
  17. The Great War and Its Aftermath, Part Two
  18. The New Deal
  19. The Finest Hour
  20. A Time of Turbulence, Part One
  21. A Time of Turbulence, Part Two
  22. Rise and Fall, Part One
  23. Rise and Fall, Part Two
  24. The Path of Renewal, Part One
  25. The Path of Renewal, Part Two

To watch the trailer and start learning, click on the link below:


About Hillsdale

Hillsdale College refuses to accept ONE PENNY of government support—not even indirectly in the form of federal or state student grants or loans. This independence frees them from burdensome federal regulation, but it also means that all of their work—including these online courses and their national outreach efforts on behalf of liberty—is entirely dependent on the generous support of private donors nationwide, who understand the importance of education to liberty.

Additional Resources

Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story – A compact, inexpensive, authoritative, and compulsively readable book that offers a clear, informative, narrative of American history. It’s both an honest account of America’s past and an inspiring one. Land of Hope was written to help students come away from their study of America with a coherent sense of the larger story, and a sense of history as a profoundly reflective activity, one that goes to the depth of our humanity. The author, Wilfred M. McClay, is the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma, and Director of the Center for the History of Liberty. He has a Ph.D. in History from the Johns Hopkins University.

Teachers’ Guide to Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story – This guide will be an invaluable aid to teachers who use Land of Hope as a textbook for courses in American history. Dr. Wilfred M. McClay coauthored the teacher’s guide with John McBride, a master teacher with over thirty years of secondary and collegiate teaching experience. The result is an exceptionally rich and useful resource for the enhancement of the learning experience. Each chapter has a five-part treatment: a short summation of the chapter’s contents; a lengthy set of questions and answers about the text of the chapter; materials that can be deployed in testing or used in classroom discussion; a set of short objective tests, suitable for quizzes and exams; a primary-source document for study and analysis; and questions and answers to accompany the document. There are additional units to assist teachers in giving special coverage to the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the origins of the Two-Party System.

What types of activities and courses have you used as electives? Leave a comment and we may include yours in a future column!

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  1. We are using Hillsdale’s free online course along with the high school history book called Land of Hope by Wilfred McClay and they are excellent.

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