Jon Meacham talk: “The Presidents on the Presidents: How They Judge One Another”

  • on 17 Feb 2014
  • Guerry Auditorium
meacham in class

Distinguished Visiting Professor of History and Pulitzer-Prize winning author Jon Meacham, C’91, H’10, will give a Presidents’ Day talk at noon in Guerry Auditorium. “The Presidents on the Presidents: How They Judge One Another” will examine how presidents have spoken of those who came before. The community is welcome to attend.

When incumbent presidents invoke their predecessors, they are often seeing them as they wish to be seen, seeking sanction for present endeavors from the past. The talk promises an interesting look at how presidents have spoken of those who came before, from Jefferson's deep ambivalence (verging on hostility) toward Washington, to Bill Clinton's discovery during his impeachment scandal of Gerald Ford's virtues of forgiveness.

Meacham is teaching a course at Sewanee this semester titled Hours of Crisis in U.S. History. The course examines several key moments of crisis in American political, military and cultural history, from the Second Continental Congress’s decision to declare independence in 1776 to the wars with Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

Executive editor and executive vice president of Random House, Meacham is a contributing editor to Time magazine, a former editor of Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post. He received the Pulitzer Prize for American Lion, his 2008 biography of Andrew Jackson.

People unable to be in Guerry for the talk can watch it live here.

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