Public | Feb, 16 2023 4:00PM - 5:15PM
The United States has waged wars, large and small, almost continually across two and a half centuries. No figure looms as large in that history as the American president, the embodiment of national will, the nation’s preeminent diplomat, and the commander in chief of its armed forces. How have presidents made decisions about war and peace? How have they balanced American ideals with defense of the nation’s interests? Why have they succeeded in achieving their goals in some cases but not in others?
This six-part virtual series explores these and other questions through lively conversations with eminent historians of American politics, diplomacy, and military affairs. Each session will begin with a moderated discussion led by LBJ Library Director Mark Lawrence but will allow ample time for questions from the audience. Over six weeks leading up to Presidents’ Day, we will sweep across American history from the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House to the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. We will examine presidents from Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson to Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, delving into their choices about war and peace as well as the implications of those decisions for the nation’s present and future.
January 12 Charlie Laderman, King’s College London, on Woodrow Wilson and peacemaking after World War I
January 19 Elizabeth Varon, University of Virginia, on Abraham Lincoln and the end of the Civil War
January 26 Marc Selverstone, Miller Center for Public Affairs, University of Virginia, on John F. Kennedy and the escalation of the Vietnam War
February 2 William Inboden, University of Texas at Austin, on Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War
February 9 Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Columbia University, on Richard Nixon and the end of America’s war in Vietnam
February 16 Melvyn Leffler, University of Virginia, on George W. Bush and the road to war in Iraq
We will be using a Zoom webinar. Each session will begin with a moderated discussion led by LBJ Library Director Mark Lawrence but will allow ample time for questions from the audience.
Advance registration is required. You only need to register once for the series; you do not need to register for each week’s session. Once you register, you can expect to receive an email with a link to join the event. Questions about registration? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the speaker:
On February 16, 2023, Melvyn Leffler will join us to talk about George W. Bush and the road to war in Iraq.
Melvyn P. Leffler is the Edward Stettinius Emeritus Professor of American History at The University of Virginia. He is the author of several books on the Cold War, including For the Soul of Mankind (2007), which won the George Louis Beer Prize from the American Historical Association, and A Preponderance of Power (1993), which won the Bancroft, Hoover, and Ferrell Prizes. In 2010, he and Odd Arne Westad co-edited the three volume Cambridge History of the Cold War. Leffler was the Harmsworth Professor at Oxford in 2002-3, and previously served as president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations. Princeton University Press published a collection of his essays and articles in 2017, called Safeguarding Democratic Capitalism: U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security, 1920-2015. His new book, Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2023.