The American Enlightenment is often viewed as a singular era bursting with new ideas as the U.S. sought to assert itself as a new republic free of the British monarchy. In her book, "American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason,"Stanford historian Caroline Winterer says the myth and romanticization of an American Enlightenment was invented during the Cold War to calm fears about totalitarianism overseas. We talk to Winterer about her theory and hear her thoughts on what she views as America's multiple periods of enlightenments in fields ranging from farming to religion.
Stanford Historian Makes Case for American 'Enlightenments'
(Photo: Steve Castillo)
Caroline Winterer, professor of history and director of the Stanford Humanities Center, Stanford University; author, "American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason"