KC Johnson

Roundtable Cultural Seminars: Political Dynasties in the U.S.

I am from Higgins Beach, in Scarborough, Maine, six miles south of Portland. After spending five years as track announcer at Scarborough Downs, I left to study fulltime in graduate school, where my advisor was Akira Iriye. I received my B.A. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) from Harvard, my M.A. from the University of Chicago (1989). Before coming to CUNY, I taught at Arizona State and Williams; I also have served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Tel Aviv University.


The Founders explicitly rejected the idea of the United States as a monarchy. But throughout American history, political dynasties have emerged, shaped decades or even generations of American political culture, and then collapsed. This Seminar will examine the development and the actions of the key political dynasties of American history, and the tensions these dynasties have exposed in the country’s republican ethos. The first 10-15 minutes of each session will discuss contemporary events.

Session One: Adams

Session Two: Roosevelt

Session Three: Kennedy

Session Four: Bush

Session Five: Congressional Dynasties

Session Six: Modern Dynasties

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