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Date & Time

Saturday, February 24, 2018
3:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore




Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


“Legacies of Losing in American Politics is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I lost track of the number of ‘ah-ha moments’ when, in the course of reading, I understood something vital as if for the first time, or rethought a settled understanding I had never fully examined. The book is truly a major contribution to American political science, political thought, and constitutional law.” --Russell Muirhead, Dartmouth College

Join us as Jeffrey Tulis discusses "Legacies of Losing in American Politics." He will be joined in conversation by William Howell.

At the Co-op

About the book: American politics is typically a story about winners. The fading away of defeated politicians and political movements is a feature of American politics that ensures political stability and a peaceful transition of power. But American history has also been built on defeated candidates, failed presidents, and social movements that at pivotal moments did not dissipate as expected but instead persisted and eventually achieved success for the loser’s ideas and preferred policies.

With "Legacies of Losing in American Politics," Jeffrey K. Tulis and Nicole Mellow rethink three pivotal moments in American political history: the founding, when anti-Federalists failed to stop the ratification of the Constitution; the aftermath of the Civil War, when President Andrew Johnson’s plan for restoring the South to the Union was defeated; and the 1964 presidential campaign, when Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the New Deal order was soundly defeated by Lyndon B. Johnson. In each of these cases, the very mechanisms that caused the initial failures facilitated their eventual success. After the dust of the immediate political defeat settled, these seemingly discredited ideas and programs disrupted political convention by prevailing, often subverting, and occasionally enhancing constitutional fidelity. Tulis and Mellow present a nuanced story of winning and losing and offer a new understanding of American political development as the interweaving of opposing ideas.

About the author: Jeffrey K. Tulis teaches American politics and political theory at the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of several books, including "The Rhetorical Presidency."

About the interlocutor: William Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago. His "The Wartime President" won the William Riker award for the best book in political economy.