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January 28, 1980

Historian and social critic Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Albert Schweitzer Professor of the Humanities at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, lectured in Skinner Hall on the evolution of the American Presidency into what he called an imperial presidency.

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

The Years