Engaging History and Imagining Democracy for “A More Perfect Union”

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In anticipation of the 250th anniversary of the United States’ Declaration of Independence’s proclamation in 2026, New Hampshire Humanities (NHH) began exploring what it means to “build a more perfect union” through its AMPU initiative, which included a special AMPU Lecture Series, a Focus Grants program, an AMPU themed book list, and facilitated group book discussions. Launched in the fall of 2021, NHH’s “A More Perfect Union” programs considered how citizens’ rights and expectations about their civic responsibilities have changed since the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation in 1776. Asserting that “all men” are “created equal” and possess certain “inalienable rights” including the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence initially outlined the legal rights and responsibilities of property-owning white men. What has the extension of these rights and responsibilities to people who were left out of the Preamble’s text meant for American democracy as a whole?

Read the full article from the Federation of State Humanities Councils.