The Cabinet Oak Lecture Series with Dr. Kyle Longley
Feb 20, 2019
Kyle Longley, director of the LBJ Presidential Library, conducted his first Cabinet Oak Lecture Series at the library every Wednesday from Feb. 20-March 13, 2019. The course topic was The United States and Russia: A Legacy of Confrontation and Ambivalence. The course was open to the general public.
In 1835, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote: “There are at the present time two great nations in the world, which started from different points, but seem to tend towards the same end. I allude to the Russians and the Americans. Both of them have grown up unnoticed: and whilst the attention of mankind was directed elsewhere, they have suddenly placed themselves in the front rank among nations.”
Instinctively, de Tocqueville foresaw the future of the world in the 20th century and beyond when these two powers became preponderant forces. This ensured a collision course: one entity viewed as a new beacon of democracy while the other was mired in authoritarianism.
This course will explore the long-term relationship that evolved between the United States and Russia, covering the period from 1775-2019. It will explain how it developed, the points of contention, and how it has shaped both countries, rarely for the better. Beginning in the 18th century and moving forward, the course will explore the evolution through the 19th century until the major breaking point of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. It will finally focus on the period from 1917 through the end of the Cold War, concluding with a review of the changes that have occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The goal of the course is to provide the participants with a better understanding of this complex and oftentimes confrontational relationship in a lively, engaging format centered on not only the dissemination of historical facts, but also rich context and timely discussion.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero named Kyle Longley the director of the LBJ Presidential Library in July 2018.
Longley is a historian with research focusing on U.S. foreign relations and modern American politics, a prize-winning teacher, and author of 10 books, including The Morenci Marines: A Tale of Small Town America and the Vietnam War (2013), Grunts: The American Combat Soldier in Vietnam (2008), and LBJ’s 1968 (2018).
Most recently, Longley was the Snell Family Dean's Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at Arizona State University. He joined the ASU faculty in 1995 and served in many administrative positions at the university, including director of graduate studies for the history department, faculty head, associate director of SHPRS, and as a Dean's Faculty Fellow.
Behind the Name: Why the Cabinet Oak?
President Johnson meets with members of the German press at the LBJ ranch, July 8, 1967. LBJ Library photo by Mike Geissinger, #5975-11.
President Johnson was fond of holding meetings with Cabinet members and other officials at his Texas ranch. Some of those meetings, big or small, were held outside under the Cabinet Oak, a sprawling oak tree visible to this day at the ranch.
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