Second Annual Bartling Lecture is Announced: “Does the Freedom to Move Exist?”

August 30, 2012

 The Second Annual Bartling Lecture is scheduled at Concordia University in St. Paul October 17th, 11:45-12:45.  This convocation lecture will be  given by Donna Gabbaccia of the  University of Minnesota Department of History.  Among her varied specialties is included US immigration history.  Her impressive resume can be accessed at

Professor Cabaccia provides the following description of her lecture.

“Does the freedom to move exist? And if not, who should hold the power to limit human mobility and under what conditions? My lecture asks the audience to consider these questions through a look at world and American history.

World historians have documented that movement and migration have been the norm in life, and not exceptional responses to extraordinary circumstances. Yet governments throughout history have regularly denied individuals the freedom to choose their own place of life and residence. The American Declaration of Independence described human beings as ‘endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Arguably at least, life, liberty, and happiness cannot be enjoyed without the freedom to move about as one chooses. That is why freedom to move is denied to those convicted of crimes. In American history slavery constituted the most egregious official refutation of the freedom to move while regular forced removals of indigenous American natives provided regular evidence that governments that limited the freedom to move could also deny the freedom to remain. As the United States increasingly moved toward guarantees of freedom to move within its borders to all except criminals, it also increasingly denied the freedom to move across those borders.

In today’s world, the U.N.  Declaration of Human Rights proclaims a right to leave one’s own country but no corresponding right to enter any other country. While American’s today regularly celebrate many freedoms, the freedom to move is not usually among them. Should it be?


It was my (Fred Bartling) privilege to introduce the Bartling Lecture Series on November 2nd, 2011. The lecture can be viewed under the menu as Bartling Lecture Series.  Much of the lecture  is  based on  Shaped By History which I wrote in 2008.  This piece is included under menu heading Fred’s Story.

Published by profbartling1

Retired professor Concordia University, St. Paul, Mn. Taught mainly American History. Also taught in other areas of history, philosophy, and theology,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: