The graph above demonstrates the number of references president’s made to the “City Upon a Hill” idea, particularly as described by historian Alan Brinkley in an article for the Atlantic called the The Messiah Complex. After reviewing presidential speeches (including audio and video in many cases) found at the on-line Presidential Speech Archive at the Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, American Studies students compiled results on a spreadsheet and genearted graphs. Students discussed the “ups and downs,” comparing them to a timeline of U.S. History, and then commented to blog posts in their respective classes. They were asked to explain WHY, in their view, these “ups and downs” appeared over the course of American History. All of the American Studies in History classes are working on this project. See Mr. Upton’s site (click here), Mr. Dykeman’s (click here), Dr. Murnane’s (click here). For last year’s results in Dr. Murnane’s class, click here.