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Celebrating America's Economic Freedom

The ideals of liberty and free enterprise formed the foundation of our nation’s dynamic economy. For more than 200 years, Americans have been free to pursue their hopes and dreams in a land of unlimited opportunity.

Some time ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and author of 1776, about the principles that made America great and laid the groundwork for our vibrant economy. Our conversation followed on the heels of an earlier conversation with Milton Friedman, which is also available on the Dallas Fed web site.

As our nation celebrates its 232nd birthday, David's eloquent observations remind us of the ideals that are the underpinnings of the great prosperity we Americans are privileged to enjoy.

  • Richard W. Fisher
    President and CEO
    Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

Video Clips flashVideo

David McCullough discusses:

  • A Nation of Ideas (1:58)
    "American thinking in 1776 was itself drawn from British philosophers ... It was drawn from Scottish figures, from the Scottish enlightenment ... It was drawn from the French intellectuals. The word laissez-faire, of course, is a French word."
  • The Value of Education (2:58)
    "We must be an educated people. We cannot be a productive, original, innovative society if we aren't educated."
  • Equality of Ideas (1:28)
    "We created a country in which the individual wasn't just free, but there was a freedom of ideas—an equality of ideas."
  • American Optimism (0:31)
    "Generally speaking, from the very beginnings, the best of us have been extremely optimistic. We can make tomorrow better than today."
  • Intellectual Freedom (1:54)
    "Along with freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, we have another freedom that we must never ever discount or forget—the freedom to think for yourself."
  • Early American Risk-Taking and Self-Reliance (2:37)
    "If you look at American history, there are several themes that come through very clearly and consistently. One is the willingness to take risks. We are really founded on risk ... With risk, of course, went responsibility. But the risk was often, if not always, in an atmosphere of opportunity."

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