Category Archives: Congressional Briefings

The National History Center’s Congressional Briefings are designed to provide historical context and perspective on current issues for policy makers and members of their staff. The speakers reflect upon historical events and developments that have influenced the evolution of current policies and provide knowledge pertinent to the consideration of policy alternatives.

Upcoming Congressional Briefing

Topic: The Geopolitics of Middle East Oil: Historical Perspectives on the Current Crisis

Date: November 4, 2019

Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am EST

Location: 2043 Rayburn Office Building

The recent attacks on oil tankers in the Persian gulf and Saudi oil refineries serve as a stark reminder of the global economy’s dependence on petroleum from this politically unstable region. This briefing, which brings together several leading historians of the subject, will explain how the Middle East oil industry assumed such importance in international affairs and American foreign policy. All are invited and please send RSVPs to Rachel Wheatley at

Moderator: Dr. David Painter, Georgetown University

Speakers: Dr. Anand Toprani, US Naval War College and Dr. Nathan Citino, Rice University

Pioneering Journalist Cokie Roberts Dies

Cokie Roberts, the famed journalist, historian, and National History Center board member, has died.  Much admired for her balanced political commentary and engaged historical studies of America’s ‘founding women,’ her passing is a loss for us all.

Ariel Zambelich/NPR

For more information on Cokie’s life and publications:

History of health care

At our first summer Congressional Briefing at the end of June, Beatrix Hoffman (Northern Illinois University) and Nancy Tomes (Stony Brook University) traced the history of health care and insurance in the U.S. in light of present debates. Moderated by Alan Kraut (American University), the briefing reviewed the ways that the federal government has considered and intervened in the provision of health care and insurance since the early 20th century; how these systems have developed with the help of federal funding; and what congressional legislators can do in the present and near future about the broader health care system in the US.

Historians discussed the history of health care policy since World War I. Topics included the roots of the modern health care system, the medical field’s transformation into a business, and disparities in insurance coverage.

A video recording of the briefing can be found here, in C-SPAN’s video library.

A briefing summary, with bios of the panelists, is available here.