Presidential Reputations II

SAT, NOV 20, 2004 (1:07:50)

Marking the 30th anniversary of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, noted journalists and scholars, nearly all of whom have written books about American presidents, gather for three panel discussions on the shifting fortunes of presidential reputations.

The third and final panel, 'The President and His Enemies,' features Joyce Appleby, professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Los Angeles; Pulitzer Prizewinning historian James MacGregor Burns; and John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon. The moderator is David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author.

+ BIO: Joyce Appleby

After graduating from Stanford University in 1950, I worked for Mademoiselle magazine in New York City, returning to California to be married and to continue magazine and newspaper writing while my children were young. After the birth of my third child, I enrolled at Claremont Graduate School where I earned a Ph.D. in History in 1966. I went with my family to Paris in 1966-67, studying French and preparing articles from my dissertation, "An American in Paris: The Career of an American pamphlet in French Revolutionary Politics, 1787-89." Coming back to the United States, I began teaching at San Diego State University. I spent 1970 and 1971 in London doing research on my book, Ideology and Economic Thought in Seventeenth-Century England, which won of the 1978 Berkshire Prize. I returned with my family to Cambridge, England, in 1977 and 1978 where I was a Fellow Commoner at Churchill College. In 1980 I was named to the Council of the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg, acting as chair from 1983 to 1986. I have also served on the editorial boards of the American Historical Review and the William and Mary Quarterly.

In 1992 Harvard University Press bought out a collection of my essays, as "Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination" and in 1994, I published with Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob Telling the Truth about History. In 2000, Harvard University Press published my study of early nineteenth-century America, "Inheriting the Revolution: the First Generation of Americans".

+ BIO: John W. Dean

John Dean was legal counsel to US President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, and his testimony before Senate investigators convinced many Americans that Nixon was closely involved in the criminal activities that eventually led to his resignation from the presidency. Dean started his legal career in Washington in the late 1960s, as the chief minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. He then served as an associate deputy in the Attorney General's office before being appointed as White House counsel.

In his testimony before the Senate committee, Dean claimed Nixon knew about the 1972 break-in at the national headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and had helped to cover it up. Dean's supporters saw him as courageous and truthful; his detractors saw him as self-serving and disloyal. The law saw him as guilty of obstruction of justice, and Dean was sentenced to four months in prison for his role in the scandal (he spent the four months under a "witness protection" program).

Dean went on to write books about his experiences in the Nixon White House, including Blind Ambition (1976), which became a made-for-TV movie. Since then he has worked as an investment banker in California and written columns, essays and books on subjects as varied as President Warren G. Harding and Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist. In 2004 he emerged as an outspoken critic of the administration of George W. Bush and published the book Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush.

+ BIO: David Halberstam

He is one of the nation's most famous authors. David Halberstam was born on April 10, 1934, in New York. David Halberstam was well-known for his writing and reporting on the civil rights movement. During the late 50's and early 60's at the Nashville Tennessean, he covered stories and activities related to the civil rights movement. Halberstam was assigned to cover the first sit-ins in February, 1960, and he used his experiences to trace the civil rights movement from 1960 to 1965. His book, The Children, is based on these experiences. He looks at the events through the perspective of the student activists who participated in these sit-ins.

Partner
Boston College
Series
American Experience: The Presidents Series