The History of Juneteenth – Is it Connected to Classical Liberalism?


With Juneteenth approaching and now a federal holiday, it’s clear the last decade’s nationwide protests against police violence were effective — at least to some extent.

Of course, they stood on the shoulders of broader and even more successful movements: Abolition in the 19th century and Civil Rights in the 20th. What characteristics, if any, unite the three? And where do they overlap with classical liberal values and movements?

To address those questions, we spoke to Fabio Rojas, Virginia L. Roberts Professor of Sociology at Indiana University-Bloomington.

Professor Rojas laid out some of the history behind these three race-based social movements. He also defined and posited F.A. Hayek’s Theory of Social Change, cited the results of his own research that found violence to be inimical to a protest’s cause, and, crucially, established wealth as the most important criterion for an improvement in social conditions.

What do you think makes a protest or movement successful or unsuccessful? If you were organizing one, how would you orient it? Let us know in the comments!

0:00-0:57 Common Ground
0:58-2:41 The Classical Liberal Roots of Abolition and Civil Rights
2:42-4:46 Hayek’s Theory of Social Change
4:47-5:49 Activist Intellectuals and Black Studies
5:50-6:56 How Do Modern Movements Differ from the Abolition/Civil Rights Movements?
6:57-8:33 The Role of Violence
8:34-10:15 The Conditions for Thriving