Episode 113: 1968 – The Year the Dream Died

Host: Christopher Rose, Department of History
Guest: Ben Wright, Department of History and Briscoe Center for American History

The year 1968 was a momentous and turblent year throughout the world: from the Prague Spring and the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, to the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F Kennedy, to the Tet offensive and the surprise victory of Richard Nixon (possibly the most normal thing that happened all year). Apollo 8’s trip around the moon is said to have saved the year from being all bad news.

Guest Ben Wright has helped curate an exhibition on 1968 at UT’s Briscoe Center for American History called The Year the Dream Died, and discusses why 1968 looms large in our collective memory.

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Episode 95: The Impossible Presidency

Host: Christopher Rose, Department of History
Guest: Jeremi Suri, Mack Brown Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs, LBJ School of Public Affairs and Professor, Department of History, University of Texas at Austin

Over the past two and a half centuries, the expectations placed upon the office of the President have changed and evolved with each individual charged with holding the position. From George Washington to Barack Obama, each occupant has left his mark on the office. However, since WWII, the occupant of America’s highest office has aspired to do more and more, but seems to have accomplished less and less. Have the expectations placed upon the office actually made the position less effective?

In his new book The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office, returning guest Jeremi Suri (UT-Austin) takes a long historical look at what has made presidents successful in the role of chief executive, and asks whether the office has evolved to take on too much responsibility to govern effectively.

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Episode 20: Reconstruction

Host: Joan Neuberger, Professor of History and Editor, Not Even Past
Guest: H.W. Brands, Dickson, Allen, Anderson Centennial Professor of History, UT-Austin

After the chaos of the American Civil War, Congress and lawmakers had to figure out how to put the Union back together again–no easy feat, considering that issues of political debate were settled on the battlefield, but not in the courtroom nor in the arena of public opinion. How did the defeated South and often vindictive North manage to resolve their differences over issues so controversial that they had torn the Union apart?

Historian H.W. Brands from UT’s Department of History reflects on this issues and how he has dealt with them in his thirty years of experience in teaching about Reconstruction: “It’s one of the hardest parts of American history to teach, in part because I think it’s the hardest to just understand.”

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