How Lincoln Fell Short
Location: Hynson Lounge
CHESTERTOWN, MD—Political scientist and author Andrew J. Polsky will visit Washington College on President’s Day, Monday, February 18, to share his insights in a talk titled “Even Great Presidents Fall Short: Lincoln as a Wartime Leader.” The lecture will take place in Hynson Lounge at 5:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Polsky is author of Elusive Victories: The American Presidency at War (Oxford University Press, 2012), a study of six wartime presidents that draws larger lessons about the limits of White House power during armed conflict. He examines Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, and argues that each gravely overestimated his power as commander-in-chief and lacked the resources to match the challenges of war.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson described Elusive Victories as a “provocative and incisive study,” and the Washington Post called it “a sobering counterpoint to heroic narratives celebrating martial presidencies and to the scholarly emphasis on how presidential power has expanded with war.”
Andrew Polsky is a professor of political science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His first book, The Rise of the Therapeutic State (Princeton University Press, 1991), focused on the network of public agencies that adopt a “casework approach” to address issues such as poverty, delinquency and domestic violence.
His President’s Day talk on Lincoln is sponsored by the Louis L. Goldstein Program in Public Affairs, established in 1990 to encourage students to enter public service. The Goldstein Program sponsors lectures, symposia, and visiting fellows, student participation in models and conferences, and other projects that bring students and faculty together with leaders and experts in public policy.