Distinguished Lecturers
Julian E. Zelizer

Julian E. Zelizer

Julian E. Zelizer has been among the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN Political Analyst and a regular guest on NPR’s "Here and Now." He is the author and editor of 23 books, including: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society (2015), the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress; Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974 (2019), co-authored with Kevin Kruse; and Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party (2020). The New York Times named the book as an Editor's Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books in 2020. His most recent books are Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement (2021), part of the Yale University Press Jewish Lives Series, and The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment (2022), which he edited, and Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past (2023), co-edited with Kevin Kruse. He is currently working on a new book about the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the 1964 Democratic Convention. Zelizer, who has published over 1000 op-eds, has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the New York Historical Society, and New America. He was named the Lapidus-Weisberg Fellow at the New York Historical Society in 2022-2023. 

OAH Lectures by Julian E. Zelizer

In this lecture, Zelizer examines President Lyndon Johnson’s flurry of legislative achievements during his first four years in office which included the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the War on Poverty program. Zelizer delves into the battles within Congress and the Johnson administration as they grappled with reforming education, healthcare, the immigration system and addressing urban problems, the environment, racial injustice, rural poverty, and crime control. He examines the fractious, bitter tensions in the country’s larger political climate between labor unions, religious groups, civil rights activists, and the media. Zelizer shows how the work of grassroots activists and changes in the power structure of Congress enabled a liberal president to fulfill his grand legislative ambition – the creation of a second New Deal that would complete the work of Franklin Roosevelt, expand the welfare state, and extend the full rights of citizenship to African Americans and the poor.

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