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March 8, 1974

Following the lecture by broadcast journalis Edwin Newman on February 22, historian and social critic Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at the City University of New York, gave the second Poynter Lecture on “The Presidency and the Press.”

Schlesinger served in the Kennedy administration and his book about those years, A Thousand Days (1965) won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1977. His The Imperial Presidency (1973), a historical study of the accretion of power by American presidents, declared of President Nixon: “Seizing the possibilities created by forty years of international crisis, the 37th president became the first to profess the monarchical doctrine that the sovereign can do no wrong…. ‘When the President does it, that means that is it not illegal.’”

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Imperial Presidency

A frequent visitor to the campus, Professor Schlesinger spoke at Vassar in October 1951, May 1959 and January 1980. His last appearance on campus was at the Eleanor Roosevelt Centennial Conference in October of 1984. The Poynter program was the gift of Nelson and Marion Knauss Poynter ‘46, publishers of The St. Petersburg Times, and was intended to inform students about the media.

The Years