OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Julian E. Zelizer

Portrait of 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 21 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 and Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974 (2019), co-authored with Kevin KruseHis latest book is Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party (2020), named by The New York Times as an Editor's Choice and one of the 100 Notable Books in 2020. His forthcoming book is titled "Abraham Joshua Heschel: A Life of Radical Amazement" for the Jewish Lives Series of Yale University Press. 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 also co-hosts a popular podcast called Politics & Polls. 

 

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

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.