Presidents make history but they also write it. From the Oval Office, they shape not only public policy but collective memory. Presidents, in short, are our historians-in-chief. The possibilities and limits on a president’s ability to articulate and reconfigure the nation’s historical memory will be the focus of this symposium hosted by Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History. Co-organizers Seth Cotlar and Richard Ellis have assembled a group of ten historians and political scientists to explore the concept of the president as historian-in-chief. Each presenter has been asked to characterize the historical imagination of a particular president and probe the broader significance of their work as the nation’s “historian in chief.”
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