March 2: Heather Cox Richardson on “To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party”

How did the Republican Party—the progressive party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower—become the reactionary party of today? Over the one hundred and sixty years of their history, Republicans have swung repeatedly from championing the middle class to protecting the rich. Their story reveals the tensions inherent in America’s peculiar brand of government: how can a democracy promote individual economic opportunity at the same time it protects property?

Heather Cox Richardson is Professor of History at Boston College and the author of five books about American politics. A 1992 graduate of Harvard University’s Program in the History of American Civilization, her first four books explored the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the American West, and stretched from the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln to that of Theodore Roosevelt. Recently, her To Make Men Free: A History of the Republican Party (2014) was the second of her books to be named an Editor’s Choice selection of the New York Times Book Review. Richardson writes widely for popular publications and is the editor of the web magazine We’re History. She is currently working on an intellectual history of American politics and a graphic treatment of the Reconstruction Era.

The seminar meets at 4:00 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson Center, 6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, Ronald Reagan Building, Federal Triangle Metro Stop.

The Washington History Seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. See theWashington History Seminar website for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations for its support.  Reservations requested because of limited seating.