20th Century Presidential Decisions: Good, Bad, Debatable

Course Instructor:  Dr. George Woytanowitz is a member of the History Department at the University of St. Thomas.  He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.  He taught at Indiana State University and Boston College before coming to UST in 1985.  His special interests include U.S. Political and Intellectual History, as well as the history of education.

Course Information:  Tuesdays, April 1-May 6, 2014, 1:00-3:00 p.m., O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditoriu, UST St. Paul Campus

Course Description:  George W. Bush once famously (or infamously) declared: "I am the decider."  True indeed.  Decision making is a central presidential power and duty.  In these talks, I will discuss six decisions, some with positive results, some that presidents regretted, and some that backfired.

Registration fee for the series:  $80.00 per person

To register on-line with a credit card, click on this link:  https://webapp.stthomas.edu/eventregistration/UST/register.jsp?eventcrn=A7936

To register by check or cash through the mail or in-person, click on this link for the registration form to download, print and mail in with your payment: Spring 2014 Registration Form

Link to campus map:  St. Paul Campus Map

Detailed Course Syllabus (subject to change):

April 1

1904:  Theodore Roosevelt announces he will not seek a "third" term

Having served seven-eighths of the term of the assassinated William McKinley, and having won a great victory in 1904, Theodore Roosevelt declares he will not seek another term.  This decision he will come to regret.

April 8

1919:  Woodrow Wilson decides not to compromise with the Senate over the Versailles Treaty

Was it out of principle?  Was it due to his health?  What were the consequences for the United States and the World?

April 15

1937:  Franklin Delano Roosevelt decides to "pack" the Supreme Court

FDR's plan to get Congress to enlarge the Supreme Court begins one of the epic political battles of the century.  Who won?  Who lost?  What were the long term impacts?

April 22

1945:  Harry Truman's "non-decision" to use the atom bomb

Why was there no real deciding point?  Was the use of the bomb inherent in the project?  The unending controversy.

April 29

1962:  John F. Kennedy decides on a missile trade

Misinformation and self-serving accounts of the most dangerous moment in the Cold War are abundant.  What do the tapes reveal?  What do the new Soviet and American sources tell us?

May 6

1965:  Lyndon Baines Johnson decides on an expanded Vietnam role for the U.S.

In 1964, LBJ campaigned on the theme that "Asian boys should fight Asian wars."  In 1965, he Americanized the war both in the air and on the ground.  Were there options?