Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the department of history and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. In 2007, Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America's "Top Young Innovators" in the humanities and sciences. He is the author and editor of nine books, including The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America's Highest Office (2017), Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-building from the Founders to Obama (2011), American Foreign Relations since 1898 (2010), Henry Kissinger and the American Century (2007), The Global Revolutions of 1968 (2007), and Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Detente (2003). His research emphasizes the interconnections between grassroots politics and elite policy-making. In his teaching and writing, he seeks to internationalize understanding of American history by focusing on the foreign "others" who have contributed to local and national definitions of identity in the United States. He also examines how American citizens—from ordinary men and women through distinguished politicians and businesspeople—have influenced the world outside the United States.
The founders of the United States created a small, uncertain presidency for a small republic. Over time, the presidency has grown into the most powerful political office in the world. This lecture examines the rising power of the presidency since the founding, key presidential personalities, and the challenges since 1945 that have diminished presidential prestige and effectiveness. This lecture focuses on the history of the presidency, before the current presidential administration. This lecture places current debates about presidential power in historical perspective.