The ‘American Dream’ and ‘America First’ are two of the most loaded phrases in America today, and also two of the most misunderstood. The American Dream began as a pledge for equality rather than as a dream of supremacy. America First has not just served as an isolationist term, but as an early slogan of the Ku Klux Klan with surprising links to the present. In 1927, a KKK riot led to the arrest of seven men – among them a certain Fred C. Trump. As America struggles again to project a shared vision, to itself and to the world, Sarah Churchwell argues that the meanings and history of these terms need to be understood afresh so that the true spirit of America can be reclaimed.
Sarah Churchwell is Chair in Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Studies, University of London
Sarah Carey is a journalist and broadcaster
Booking not required.