Six People Who Built America

Jeremi Suri – University of Texas

The years between the Civil War and the Second World War marked the emergence of the United States as the wealthiest and strongest nation in the world. America’s extraordinary rise was unpredictable, difficult, and often close to disaster. A diverse group of citizens made key decisions to transform the country. This lecture will focus on the two most important presidents of this period, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. We will see how their leadership interacted with innovators in industry and society, especially John D. Rockefeller and Jane Addams.

The lecture will also focus on ground-breaking educators and entrepreneurs of the period, particularly Booker T. Washington and Henry Ford. These larger-than-life personalities shaped an era, and the essential course of American history. Examining this history helps us to understand our own world better, and what it will take to renew American society in coming years.