The Presidency of Barack Obama: Promise and Polarization

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Duration 01:13:14

University of Texas

Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University’s Department of History and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. A popular public lecturer and frequent news commentator, his writings appear in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal,, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time, and other media. Professor Suri has received the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas and the Pro Bene Meritis Award for Contributions to the Liberal Arts. Professor Suri hosts the weekly podcast, “This is Democracy,” and is the author and editor of eleven books, including: The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office; Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama; and Henry Kissinger and the American Century. His most recent book is entitled: Civil War by Other Means: America’s Long and Unfinished Fight for Democracy.



Barack Obama was a transformative president, but not always in ways that he intended. His election marked the arrival of a more diverse and divisive American electorate. His foreign policies showed the possibilities and limits of American power abroad. His domestic policies revealed strong reforming ambitions and stubborn, racist resistance to change across the country. Obama’s legacies are mixed: a model of liberal governance with integrity and a firestorm of renewed white supremacy and anti-democratic violence. This lecture will show how a reconsideration of Obama’s presidency can, in fact, help to renew our democracy at a crucial moment. Obama’s legacy is still in the making.



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Kolleen Martin

changes after a presidential election

He hit on many factors which contributed to the good and not so good changes which occurred under President Obama’s tenure, which was overall, very good.

2 years ago
Linnea Masson

Excellent talk

I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture and felt I learned a great deal from it.
I thought the professor was very personable, well organized and a very good presenter.

2 years ago
Leah Wolf

Brilliant and brave presentation. Thank you.

I so much appreciate the honesty and wisdom of the lecture. I needed to hear it.

2 years ago
Jared Klebanow

Thank you

All I can say is thank you. I’m tired of all of the CNN/Fox News entertainment nonsense. I just want the truth and you delivered it.

2 years ago
barbara ann.fields

Honest Assessment

Most African Americans would like to see only the positives of Obama’s Presidency but in reality if we asses the facts and not the myth we can better prepare for future reform by addressing what was not addressed to make this a country of a more equitable society for all of its citizens.
Thank you for your lecture.


2 years ago
Douglas Brown

I wanted a history lecture not one on political science

1 year ago
Kim Patridge



1 year ago
Mary Dolan

Excellent Lecture

It was an excellent lecture. I learned so much. I hope to pass on some of the information to friends and family. Thank you!

1 year ago
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