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18:00 - 19:30 1 February 2018

The Richard Neustadt Lecture: 'Why Americans Think the Founding Fathers Have All the Answers'


Lecture Room 103 | UCL – Institute of the Americas (link Map)
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PQ | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Professor David Sehat, Georgia State University, Professor David Sehat is a cultural and intellectual historian of the United States. He writes broadly on American intellectual, political, and cultural life. He is the author of 'The Jefferson Rule: How the Founding Fathers Became Infallible and Our Politics Inflexible '(Simon and Schuster, 2015) and 'The Myth of American Religious Freedom' (Oxford, 2011; updated edition 2015), which won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians.

Americans love the Founding Fathers, and American politicians constantly invoke them. Listen to American political debate for any length of time and you will hear the Founders enlisted in support of all manner of things: limited government, gun rights, progressive taxation, and more. But why do American politicians do this? And why does it work with the American electorate?

In this lecture, David Sehat dates the origins of the phenomenon to the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. At a time of political strain and transformation, Roosevelt wrapped himself in the American Founders and, in turn, started the fight over the Founders and their ideals that we continue to see today.


Oscar Martinez
+44 (0)2031089721 | ucl-ia@ucl.ac.uk


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