The Western canon: the body of literature and art which is considered to define Western civilization by widespread consensus. These were the works with which an educated person was expected to be familiar. Increasingly after ca. 1970 the idea that any such canon might exist came under attack and was stigmatized as elitist and academic. Those who defended a canon pointed out that the elite canon was generally available to all and was therefore not elitist, and that the word "academic" was merely negative code for "educated."

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Core 102:  History and the Modern World: 
The Idea of Democracy

The Core Faculty of Roger Williams University, Drawn from the Faculties of History and Political Science.

Academic Years 2013-2016

The Core 102 Canon, 2013 - 2014

Greetings, Students in Core 102

Welcome to our course:  History and the Modern World:  The Idea of Democracy.   In our "Modern" world, perhaps nothing is more modern than the communications revolution brought about by computers and the Internet.  Core 102 now joins this revolution by publishing the required readings in a brand new format.  Previously, students purchased a book of readings, The Democratic Idea, and read selections from it as assigned by the faculty in charge of their particular section.  Now  the readings in the core canon have been expanded, and we're providing them for you in electronic form.  Some teachers will be using bridges to distribute the readings to you.  Others will direct you to this web page, from which you can download the materials you need.  These documents are prepared in Portable Document Format, or pdf.   These documents can be read and printed using the program called Adobe Acrobat.  Most computers come with Acrobat pre-installed.  If your computer doesn't have it, it can be downloaded free by clicking here.   The Table of contents below is in Chronological Order.  Click on the titles your professor assigns to download and read the files inquestion.

I want to thank those who helped with this project:  Josh Stein, Jeffrey Meriwether, Debbie Mulligan, and June Speakman, Laura D'Amore, Autumn Quesada-Grant, Joseph Roberts, and Jennifer Campbell.


Mike Swanson
on behalf of the Core 102 Faculty

p.s.  We would like to collect feedback on the documents.  It will be useful for all of us in terms of future planning.   Consequently, we've provided a guest book for you, in which you can record your thoughts about the format of the documents and about any given document itself.  Drop by from time to time and leave us a message.  You are free to post anonymously, but remember to practice Civil Discourse.  I reserve the right to remove comments which are inappropriate.

Mike Swanson
Sign InView Entries

Click on his portrait to hear President Dwight David Eisenhower deliver his Farewell Address.,
courtesy of
American Rhetoric.


Click on the Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt to hear her speech introducing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  December 9, 1948

courtesy of
American Rhetoric.

Click Here to Read the Speech.   

For Eleanor Rooservelt Quotes, Click Here

New Material Added, 2009 -  2011  See Appendix III.
Table of Contents

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941
Farewell Address of President Dwight D. Eisenhower    1961
53a.  Letter from a Group of Clergymen, April 12, 1963
53b.  Letter from a Group of Clergymen, April 12, 1963 p.d.f.

Appendix  I
Documents added  2005 - 2007

Baron de Montesquieu  (1752)
Ho Chi Minh
George W. Bush

Appendix II
Documents added , 2008-2009

Appendix III
Documents added, 2009 - 2011

          Newport, RI and President George Washington, on Freedom of Religion--1790

Fourth U. S. Edition.  Gene Sharp, the Albert Einstein  Institution
Simon Bolivar, 1815
Frederick Douglass, July 4, 1852
Jefferson Davis, 1863
Ed Cony, Wall St. Journal, April 22, 1959
Che Guevara, Speech Given April 19, 1961
and Development, March 25, 1964  Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Appendix IV
Documents added, January 2012--2016

               with  Amendments in her own hand (facsimile),
The prize was awarded in 1991-while she was under house arrest
(2 September, 1990)
21 January, 2013
Abraham Lincoln, 1838
    S46a   Message to Congress on Economic Opportunity Act a.k.a. War on Poverty
Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964
Of the Pernicious Effects Which Arise From the Unnatural Distinctions
Established in Society  Mary Wollstonecraft.  (1792)
Click on the image above to reach the Perry-Castaneda Map Collection at the University of Texas.  Note there is also a link to Other Online Map Collections
Click for lists of academic websites.
Click on the image above to reach Mike Swanson's Webliography.  There you'll find lists of approximately 3,000 websites and archives related to many different academic subjects.
New Material Added 2005-2007 See Appendix I.
New Material Added, 2008-2009 See Appendix II.

New Material Added, 2012 -  2014  See Appendix IV.
Glick to visit Grammar Girl
Glick to visit Grammar Girl
Glick to visit Grammar Girl