Little Platoon Seminar: American Virtue in “Little House in the Big Woods”

September 24-24, 2022
University of Dallas, Dallas, TX

What wisdom do the "American Classics" have for us today?


Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books tell the true story of family life on the American frontier.  With disarming simplicity, Laura Ingalls Wilder weaves lessons in the four cardinal virtues into the unfolding of the four seasons of the year. As autumn turns to winter, spring into summer, little Laura learns the basics of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. This classic bedtime story, which became Ronald Reagan’s favorite television series, reminds us of a simpler America in which family, music, memory, tradition, virtue, and work were values to live by. Come spend a Saturday morning exploring the world of Little House in the Big Woods.

The event runs from 10am to 2pm on the University of Dallas campus on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Lunch will be provided. The seminar will be led by Dr. Susan Hanssen. Students will receive a copy of Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper to be read before the seminar.

Dr. Susan Hanssen

Susan Hanssen is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Dallas. She received her PhD in history from Rice University in Houston, Texas and her bachelor’s degree in history from Boston University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). During the summer of 2008 she served as an adjunct professor for the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation at Georgetown University. She was the 2010-2011 Garwood Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

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Contact Tom Sarrouf at with any questions or concerns.