Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs
Born Again American
The American Future
Watch Video
Read Transcript
Comment
January 16, 2009

Every election and inauguration is an opportunity for retrospection — and that includes the important founding documents of the nation and those of ground-breaking national movements that followed. Abraham Lincoln, on whose bible Barak Obama will take the oath next week, stopped at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence had been signed in 1776, and said: "I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. That sentiment gave liberty," Lincoln said, "not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time."

Declaration Road Tour A few years ago, the writer and producer Norman Lear — made famous by such celebrated television series as ALL IN THE FAMILY, THE JEFFERSONS and MAUDE — bought one of the original copies of the Declaration, printed on the night of July 4th, 1776. He toured it around the country to inspire a new generation with its message and mission through the "Declaration of Independence Road Trip."

"These people who signed that Declaration pledged their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor, sacred honor — that phrase has always knocked me out. To be the citizens of this experiment in democracy...Sacred honor... "

That's the message and challenge Norman Lear is taking to the inauguration of Barak Obama. It's time, he says, for a new birth of patriotism as an act of personal commitment and not just sentiment. He commissioned Keith Carradine to write a song — "Born Again American" — that will be performed by singers and musicians from around the country. On its newly launched Web site you can hear the entire song and sign the pledge to revitalize and recommit to the principles behind the Declaration.

>And, don't forget to visit the founding documents online exhibit from the National Archives.

Published January 16, 2009.

Also This Week:

SIMON SCHAMA
Bill Moyers speaks with historian Simon Schama, who spent months traveling across America in the run-up to an historic election to discover what events in our nation's past can tell us about how we live today and what's in store for the future.

MOYERS ON AMERICAN HISTORY
Faith, race, immigration, inequality — trace the roots of contemporary American issues with this review of JOURNAL presentations on air and online.

INAUGURAL ADVICE
Citizens offer the president-elect advice for his big day and the big challenges ahead.

BORN AGAIN AMERICAN
Find out more about the Born Again American film and project — and get back to basics by reviewing America's founding documents.

VOLUNTEERING 101
Tips on how to get started volunteering in your locale.

TALK BACK: THE MOYERS BLOG
Our posts and your comments
OUR POSTS
YOUR COMMENTS
For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

© Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ   
SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES AND PODCASTS EMAIL US