A Presidency is defined by the decisions that a person makes while serving as Executive, but a Presidential legacy is about much more than that. In the new book, Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, (UVA Press, 2023) Lindsay Chervinsky and Matthew Costello have brought together a collection of chapters that explore the ways that mourning ceremonies, causes of death, and moments of passing impact the way that we remember a President at the time they die, and how new research and a more inclusive understanding of US history have reshaped Presidential legacies in the years that follow. In this episode, Lindsay joins Ben and Bob for a conversation about some of the fascinating stories crafted by the book’s contributing authors and how Presidential legacies might tell us more about ourselves than the individuals who have served in the Oval Office.
Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky is a historian of the American Presidency who is currently a fellow at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Her first book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution (Belknap Press, 2020) won multiple awards and was the topic of our conversation for her first appearance on The Road to Now in episode 184. You can learn more about Lindsay and her work at her website: LindsayChervinsky.com
If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll probably also like our conversation with Jeffrey Engle on the history of Presidential impeachment (RTN episode 109).
This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.