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A Morning of History and Politics (Fairfield)

September 15, 2019 10:00 AM – 1:15 PM

schedule

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Part I - Looking Back: What The Founding Fathers Were Really Like

Carol Berkin / Baruch College

Most of us know that America's Founding Fathers attended the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia and drafted the Constitution of the United States. The delegates decided to replace the Articles of Confederation with a document that strengthened the federal government, with the most contentious issue being  legislative representation. Eventually, a compromise established the bicameral Congress to ensure both equal and proportional representation. But a lot more happened as well - much of it underreported or misunderstood. That's the focus of this insider's look at the birth of American Government as we know it today.

The fact is, the Founding Fathers were ambitious. Also grouchy, scared, and hopeful. They told jokes. They fought. They schemed. They gossiped. They improvised. Occasionally, they killed each other (sorry, Alexander Hamilton). Only by seeing the Founders as real people -not icons- can we appreciate the full story of the nation's founding with all of its drama, humor, and significance intact.

Carol Berkin / Baruch College
Carol Berkin is Presidential Professor of History at Baruch College and a member of the history faculty of the Graduate Center of CUNY. She has worked as a consultant on several PBS and History Channel documentaries, including, The "Scottsboro Boys," which was nominated for an Academy Award. She has also appeared as a commentator on screen in the PBS series by Ric Burns, "New York," the Middlemarch series "Benjamin Franklin" and "Alexander Hamilton" on PBS, and the MPH series, "The Founding Fathers." She serves on the Board of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Board of the National Council for History Education.

11:45 AM - 1:15 PM
Part II - Looking Forward: The Changing Face of Politics

Sam Potolicchio / Georgetown University

Donald Trump's election marked the most stunning political ascent in American history. Trump violated almost every rule of historical campaign practice and triumphed over both the Republican and Democratic establishments. Treated as an unserious joke just 18 months before his victory, Trump's victory shocked the globe. Why were the pollsters so wrong about his prospects? What were the hidden factors that led to President Trump's upset victory?

Trump's early governance as President has been just as disruptive to the common conventions of the Presidency as were his unorthodox campaign methods. What does his governance mean for the future of Presidency? Will presidential elections change and adjust because of Trump's success? Will this victory usher in a new paradigm of politics and new types of presidential aspirants? And if so, should we change the way we pick presidents?

Sam Potolicchio / Georgetown University
Sam Potolicchio is Director of Global and Custom Education at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. He was named one of "America's Best Professors" by the Princeton Review, and the Future Leader of American Higher Education by the Association of Colleges and Universities. He also serves as the Department Chairman and Distinguished Professor in Political and Social Communications at the School of Public Policy at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy. Professor Potolicchio is a visiting professor at NYU and an official lecturer at the Library of Congress for OWLC, an international leadership program of the United States Congress.

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