As Presidential Election Looms, Tauck and Ken Burns Explore the Meaning of Freedom in New Tour

“In Freedom’s Footsteps” Traces Complex History of Personal Liberty From Philadelphia to Washington, DC

NORWALK, CT (October 28, 2015)  With the 2016 elections on the horizon, and with the word “freedom” constantly on the lips of presidential (and soon congressional) candidates, filmmaker Ken Burns and the guided travel company Tauck have announced a new tour debuting next year that explores the complicated history of freedom in the U.S.

The new 11-day tour, “In Freedom’s Footsteps,” was designed in close cooperation by Tauck and Burns, and according to the filmmaker, the itinerary is intended to foster contemplation of a topic whose complex history in America is too often overlooked or sanitized.

“Freedom motivated our ancestors to cross an ocean and settle here, and it compelled us to rebel against the world’s greatest super-power and establish our own independence.  But disagreements on the issue of freedom, and whether or not it should extend to over four million enslaved Americans, nearly destroyed us,” said Burns.  “Today though – and this will only get worse as we move toward next year’s election – we use the term blithely, with no thought or examination.  It’s a throwaway line to rally our worst jingoistic instincts… we all remember ‘Freedom Fries.’  What I’m thrilled to do with this new Tauck journey is to put America’s complex history of ‘freedom’ under a magnifying glass, and give it the full and respectful consideration it so rightly deserves.”

“In Freedom’s Footsteps” begins in the birthplace of American liberty, Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed, before traveling into Amish country where religious freedoms have a profound influence on the rhythms of daily life.  Visits to Harpers Ferry, Gettysburg and Richmond explore the civil war that ultimately brought freedom to those four million enslaved Americans, while the seeds of the conflict – and the founding fathers’ inconsistently applied ideals about freedom – are brought into focus during a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.  The realities of plantation life in the antebellum South are further explored during a private lecture by Dr. Leni Sorensen, a scholar and African American Research Historian for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.

The itinerary (from $4,790 per person, double occupancy, plus airfare) also highlights early American life in Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia, and guests will enjoy a visit to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington (a slave-owner, like Jefferson) en route to a final three-night stay at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.  Itself a witness to the struggle for freedom, the hotel hosted abolitionist Julia Ward Howe when she penned the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” during the Civil War, and a century later, it was where Martin Luther King put the finishing touches on his landmark “I Have A Dream” speech the night before the 1963 March on Washington.

While in Washington Tauck guests will also enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city’s landmark sites, and by special arrangement, Tauck has also secured exclusive early-admission into the National Archives, where guests will view America’s founding documents – which assured personal freedoms for some while denying them to others – without the typical daily crowds.  A visit to the Newseum, a 250,000-square-foot news and journalism museum, provides guests with an opportunity to contemplate another freedom – freedom of the press – as they tour its exhibits.

Tauck’s announcement of the “In Freedom’s Footsteps” tour comes as the company concludes its 2015 operating season in North America, a year that saw strong double-digit growth in bookings for its U.S. and Canadian itineraries.  Pre-season bookings for the coming year are even stronger, running well-ahead of their pace from a year ago at this time.  All 38 of Tauck’s 2016 North American itineraries are included in a new 148-page brochure currently mailing out to past and prospective Tauck clients.  Those interested in learning more may contact their local travel professional, call Tauck at 800 468 2825, or visit the company’s website at

About “Ken Burns American Journeys.”  Launched in 2010, the “Ken Burns American Journeys” partnership has teamed the award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan with Tauck, the 90-year-old-leader in premium-quality guided tours.  Together they have crafted unique travel experiences that incorporate the themes of Burns’s films, including (among others) “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “The Civil War,” “The Roosevelts,” “Jazz,” “Prohibition,” “Baseball” and “Mark Twain.”

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