Christopher McKnight Nichols is an associate professor of history at Oregon State University, where he also directs the Center for the Humanities and leads the Citizenship and Crisis Initiative. He specializes in the history of the United States and its relationship to the rest of the world, with a focus on isolationism, internationalism, and globalization. In addition, he is an expert on modern U.S. intellectual and political history, with an emphasis on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (1880–1920) through the present. Nichols is the author of Promise and Peril: America at the Dawn of a Global Age (2011, 2015); he coedited and coauthored Prophesies of Godlessness: Predictions of America's Imminent Secularization from the Puritans to the Present Day (2008); and he was the senior editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (2013). He also coedited the Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (2017). His forthcoming co-edited book is entitled "Rethinking American Grand Strategy," and he is finishing an edited volume on the role of ideology in U.S. foreign relations, a book U.S. politics and foreign policy during the early Cold War and a sweeping study of American isolationism and internationalism. In 2016 Nichols was named one of 33 Andrew Carnegie Fellows worldwide; he has also been elected a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations. A passionate teacher, he has received four teaching awards, including Oregon State University's Honors College Professor of the Year in 2014. Nichols is a frequent commentator on the historical dimensions of U.S. foreign policy and politics, including as a regular panelist on CNN, National Public Radio, and Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Given the high drama of the recent impeachment process from 2019 through 2020, it seems essential to take a step back and put it all in historical perspective — from the founders and the Constitution to past presidential impeachments and precedents, from other presidents’ personal engagements in foreign affairs to questions related to the balance of powers and Congressional oversight of the executive. This talk will have a special focus on the historical dimensions of national security concerns and the question of foreign "meddling" in American politics as they pertain to questions of impeachment. This third presidential impeachment in U.S. history has been historic, thereby bringing into focus a need for deeper context and a broader account of where it fits in the broader patterns of U.S. history since the 1770s.