To a remarkable extent, American politics has always been thoughtful and American thought has always been political. In the pages of S. Adam Seagrave’s “Liberty & Equality: The American Conversation,” we see how some of our greatest minds have grappled with the issues of liberty and equality: Tocqueville and Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton as Publius in The Federalist, James Madison, George Washington, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln debating Stephen Douglas, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In essays responding to these primary sources, some of today’s finest scholars take up topics critical to the American experiment in liberal democracy–political inequality, federalism, the separation of powers, the relationship between religion and politics, the history of slavery and the legacy of racism. Together these essays and sources help to clarify the character, content, and significance of American political thought taken as a whole. They illuminate and continue the conversation that has animated and distinguished the American political tradition from the beginning—and, hopefully, better equip readers to contribute to that conversation.