Founded in 1995, the American Village serves the Nation as an educational institution whose mission is to strengthen and renew the foundations of American liberty and self-government by engaging and inspiring citizens, leaders and stewards.
Puritan John Winthrop gazed at the shore from the deck of the ship Arabella in 1630, and told the new colonists, “For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill.” President Ronald Reagan adapted the imagery to describe America’s role as a bearer of the light of liberty. Our founders believed that the architecture of public buildings should symbolize the principles of the new Republic. The American Village -- designed to be a classroom, a stage, a theatre, and museum of ideas -- is evocative of America's founding. Set upon a hill, and modest in scale, the American Village offers a beacon of liberty.
Three major elements dominate the master site plan of the American Village:
Independence Circle represents Liberty drawing the thirteen colonies together in common cause. Constitution Green represents the enshrinement of that liberty within the Constitution. Around the green are major structures representing the Executive (Washington Hall), Judicial (Courthouse), and Legislative (future Independence Hall) branches of the Republic. A grand avenue rises upward from Independence Circle toward Constitution Green, signifying the upward American experience from the colonial period to the new American Republic.
The American Village builds good citizens on the cornerstone of liberty.
The American Village is a nationally-pioneering classroom and American history and civics education center that engages and inspires 35,000-40,000 students annually from Alabama and Southeastern states in experience-based academic programs related to American history, civics and government.
Students “step into history” and discover the power and drama of America’s journey for independence, liberty, and self-government.
The American Village is embarked on a journey to expand the number of students served on-campus to 100,000 each year, drawing school and youth groups from throughout the Nation.
On the cornerstone of liberty, the American Village educates and inspires young people to:
- Know America’s history — the stories of our country’s legacy of liberty and those in every generation who have secured it
- Cherish the ideals of liberty — the founding principles on which our Nation, the Constitution, institutions of American self-government, and our civic responsibilities are based
- Serve our country as good citizens and leaders — all as stewards of liberty
The timeless lesson of liberty is that freedom is not free.
The American Village tells the compelling stories of not only America’s legacy of liberty, but of those in every generation who have served and sacrificed for that cause.
Adjoining the hallowed ground of the Alabama National Cemetary, which will become the final resting place for almost 200,000 veterans, the American Village has been designated by public law as the Veterans Living Legacy. The campus is dedicated to honoring America’s veterans and their service and sacrifice for the cause of liberty. The American Village is preparing to engage and inspire 150,000 visitors each year to remember and honor our veterans and active military.
The National Veterans Shrine will use multimedia to engage visitors in the stories of liberty and sacrifice, from generation to generation. It will house the Veterans Register of Honor which will present the names, photographs, and biographies of tens of thousands of veterans, living and dead, who have served our country. The Freedom Trail includes a replica of Concord's Old North Bridge, evoking the "shot heard 'round the world" and will serve as an interpretive gateway adjoining the 490-acre National Veterans Cemetery, truly transforming these consecrated places into the “Arlington of the Southeast.”
Our country faces growing national amnesia of the constitutional foundations of our freedom and self-government.
On most school days at the American Village students step into roles as delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. They discover a remarkable document that begins with the words "We the People..." They gaze at the "Rising Sun Chair" and perhaps realize that individually as citizens and leaders they will help decide whether the sun is still a rising sun for our country.
The American Village aims to broaden and enhance the impact of its programs based on the Constitution and America's Charters of Freedom. The centerpiece of this facility and educational program expansion will be Independence Hall and Congress Hall Classrooms.
Inspired by America's Independence Hall and adjoining Congress Hall of Philadelphia, the American Village's expansion will be an extraordinary setting for both student and public programs with a compelling focus on America's great Charters of Freedom:
- The Declaration of Independence
- The United States Constitution
- The Bill of Rights
These documents are more than historic relics on old parchment. They represent what Jefferson called "the creed of our political faith; the text of civic instruction." They remain our Nation's fundamental principles that "secure the blessings of liberty" to this and future generations.