The Center for the Study of Race and Democracy (CSRD) hosted Dr. Jeremy Suri for a book talk to discuss his recently published The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office. Discussion of Dr. Suri’s The Impossible Presidency attracted a captivated audience of community members as well as graduate students, faculty, and staff from both the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School and History department.
Dr. Peniel Joseph, CSRD Founding Director, initiated the afternoon dialogue with a handful of questions addressing the impact each presidency has on the American identity, limitations and abuses of the office, and the legacies of previous commander-in-chiefs in juxtaposition. Dr. Suri’s comprehensive knowledge of 44 presidential administrations was on full display as he chronicled Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signature innovation and empathy as a leader, John F. Kennedy’s distinguished naval service and challenges with the military as executive, and Ronald Reagan’s integration of telecommunications in the oval office to redefine visibility of presidency as well as his neglect of the AIDS crisis.
The rich conversation invited audience members to think critically about how the United States’ executive and legislative branches could be restructured to operate less antagonistically while still maintaining necessary checks and balances before moving into a Q&A session. As Dr. Suri fielded questions from those in the room, he laid bare the central argument of book: triumphs of successful presidents, which live on in the nation’s bureaucracy long after their terms, handcuff the functions of the highest office for those who follow.
If you missed the CSRD’s first event of the new year be sure to subscribe to the mailing list so you won’t miss what’s next. You can also view the CSRD’s Facebook livestream recording of Dr. Suri’s book talk Part 1 (starting at 10:15) and Part 2 (Q&A) here. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter to stay in the know.
Our next event BLACK LIVES MATTERED THEN AND NOW: Slavery, Capitalism, and the Continuing Search for Racial Justice on October 24th is available for RSVP on Eventbrite BLACK LIVES MATTERED THEN AND NOW: Slavery, Capitalism, and the Continuing Search for Racial Justice now.