Rhodes Scholar discusses symbols of liberty in US

USC Upstate graduate focuses on Revolution
Jenny Arnold

A USC Upstate graduate returned to his alma mater Thursday to explain how an elm tree, a red cap and a rattlesnake relayed the concept of liberty during the Revolutionary War era.

Daniel Dreisbach returned to University of South Carolina Upstate, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1981, to give a presentation called "Visualizing Liberty in the New Nation." The program was held Thursday morning at the Chapman Cultural Center. He was also the keynote speaker during the university's annual Founders Day celebration Thursday night.

Dreisbach attended the college when it was known as USC Spartanburg, and was the university's first Rhodes Scholar, later receiving a doctor of philosophy degree from Oxford University. He is a professor at American University's School of Public Affairs.

Dreisbach's morning presentation included images and symbols of liberty in late-18th-century political and religious art, and popular culture, many of which remain familiar in the 21st century. He also discussed how symbols of religious and civil liberties often intermingled.

"What do we mean by liberty?" Dreisbach said. "Liberty is kind of a difficult concept to get a handle on. How would you visualize this?"