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Parker History Lecture

Julian Zelizer The 2024 Election in Historical Context

In Feb. 2024, author and professor Dr. Julian Zelizer visited The Haverford School to deliver two lectures and host a masterclass with Upper School boys. Dr. Zelizer, who is counted among the country's leading experts on presidential politics, is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. 

Zelizer presented "The Reagan Revolution" to the Upper School students, during which he discussed the re-organization of American politics after the 1980 election of President Ronald Reagan. 

"The word 'revolution' elevates the era, as it was a repudiation of the ideas, interests, and policies of before," said Zelizer to the full Upper School student body. He also underscored how elements of this period of American politics remains central to political discussions today. 

After the lecture, boys were given the opportunity to connect further with Zelizer during a masterclass in Ball Auditorium. The group delved into various discussions related to President Reagan, including campaign strategies, his status as a changemaker, and his legacy. Further, Zelizer discussed the leadership shown by Reagan when he changed position on the Soviet Union, despite criticism from his peers. 

Members of the public were invited to Centennial Hall for his presentation titled 'What makes the 2024 Presidential Election so historic?' During his discussion, he explored the historical context and influence of changing political rhetoric, the new 24-hour news cycle, and voter sentiment shifts on the upcoming election.

Zelizer finished his visit to Haverford with a book signing, during which he greeted attendees of his evening lecture and signed copies of his texts Myth America and Burning Down the House.

About Dr. Julian Zelizer

New York Times best-selling author 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 over 25 books, including The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society, the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress; Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, co-authored with Kevin Kruse; and Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, The Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican PartyThe New York Times named this 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, The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment, which he edited, and Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Lies and Legends About Our Past which he co-edited with Kevin Kruse. He is currently working on two new books: ‘Is this America?’Reckoning With Racism at the 1964 Atlantic City Democratic Convention (Norton) and In Defense of Partisanship: Why Polarization Can Be A Good Thing For American Democracy (Columbia Global Reports). In addition, he is co-editing A Nation At Risk: Election Integrity as a National Security Issue with Karen Greenberg (NYU Press). Zelizer, who has published over 1300 op-eds, has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the New York Historical Society, and New America. 

About the Lecture Series

After Headmaster Davis R. Parker’s death in 1989, his predecessor, Leslie R. Severinghaus, proposed the establishment of an annual lecture dedicated to Mr. Parker’s memory and recognizing his passion for American history.

The initial funding for this endowed lecture series was provided by Dr. Severinghaus and by a bequest directed from Mr. Parker’s estate established by his wife, Jane. The Parker Memorial Fund supports the lecture program and has been sustained by gifts from alumni, faculty, and friends of Mr. Parker.

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