Donald Trump and the Authoritarian Tradition in U.S. Politics
To what extent is the United States of America a democracy? The U.S. has often been touted as the greatest democratic nation on earth, yet the last four years demonstrated that a more authoritarian style of government is also part of the country’s political culture. Strongman sentiments have generally been relegated to the gothic regimes of Deep South states such as Louisiana, where “the Kingfish” Huey Long reached the zenith of his autocratic power during the 1920s and 1930s. But we can in fact track the development of American authoritarianism as a national phenomenon from the 1787 Constitutional Convention onwards. What does this history tell us about the present state of U.S. politics and what will the future look like?
Dr. Maarten Zwiers will answer some of these questions during the (online) Studium Generale Leeuwarden lecture on Tuesday 19 January 2021 starting at 8:00 PM!
Maarten Zwiers is assistant professor of History and American Studies at the University of Groningen. He is the author of Senator James Eastland: Mississippi’s Jim Crow Democrat (Louisiana State University Press, 2015), co-editor of Profiles in Power: Personality, Persona, and the U.S. President (Brill, 2020), and contributed to The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and the Mississippi Encyclopedia. His work appeared in Southern Cultures and The Southern Quarterly. He studied American Studies and History at the University of Groningen and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went to graduate school at the University of Mississippi on a Fulbright scholarship. His research focuses on rural history, regionalism, and (American) political culture, in particular the U.S. South.