American Classical Leadership Education® » Liberty-Based Education

Liberty-Based Education

An education designed to develop servant leaders must be grounded in the principles of liberty. There are two forms of liberty: natural liberty and cultivated liberty. Both natural and cultivated liberty are fundamental to an American Classical Leadership Education®.


The natural state of every person and every scholar is one where his or her fundamental natural right of liberty is preserved and protected. In this context, "Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal [and natural] rights of others."[1] Just as the nature of man dictates that government should be instituted by mankind to secure said natural rights, the nature of man dictates that an education should be instituted to support the liberty to pursue one’s intrinsic potential for special excellence. As such, an American Classical Leadership Education® respects a scholar’s natural state as a free agent to act and not merely an object to be acted upon, with an intrinsic potential for greatness. As mentors respect each scholar’s sovereign right to their own intrinsic potential, the mentor seeks to inspire and invite scholars to develop that potential. In this manner, natural liberty forms the basis for the art of mentoring.


In addition to natural liberty, a scholar is further liberated when the scholar exercises agency in accordance with natural law. In particular, a scholar is liberated through the discovery of truth and disciplined virtuous application of the truth. This is called cultivated liberty and is the primary purpose of education. Frederick Douglass said: “Education…means emancipation . . . It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.”[2] Obedience to the natural law liberates scholars to flourish.


Musical training is a good analogy to the cultivation of the liberating arts. If a scholar disciplines himself in the study of the musical arts, he will be free (or liberated) to appreciate, perform, and even create music well. Just so, if a scholar disciplines himself in acquiring the liberal arts, he will be able to know and discern truth and therefore be liberated to act well for his own sake and the good of the community.


Finally, at the Academy, to develop servant leaders that are defenders and keepers of this most sacred heritage of liberty, our scholars must learn and love the principles of freedom through engaging in classics rooted in liberty, which inform the proper functions of personal responsibility, societies, and liberal governments toward the common good.



[1] Thomas Jefferson, “Thomas Jefferson to I. Tiffany,” April 4, 1819.

[2] Frederick Douglass, “The Blessings of Liberty and Education,” September 3, 1894.