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Balcerski’s presidential presentations reach audiences nationwide

Published on September 22, 2021

Balcerski’s presidential presentations reach audiences nationwide

History Professor Thomas Balcerski at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri on Sept. 3.

Thomas Balcerski, associate professor of history at Eastern, is a highly acclaimed presidential historian, CNN contributor and author of “Bosom Friends: The Intimate World of James Buchanan and William Rufus King, who continues to have a voice in the national conversation on presidential affairs. He has a number of presentations and speaking engagements scheduled this academic year at institutions nationwide.

Balcerski’s high-octane public presentations in the media and on college and university campuses across the nation are reflected in such media as Smithsonian Magazine and New Jersey Monthly Magazine; The Financial Times of London; Newsweek; BBC World News; CBS News (Canada); C-Span; TRT World (Turkey); Asahi Shimbun (Japan); Time Magazine; NBC; the Advocate; the Greenwich Times; Politico; and dozens of local radio stations and television stations.

On Sept. 3, Balcerski gave a talk titled “The Party of No: When Democrats Were Conservative” at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy at the University of Missouri. Balcerski presented themes from the early stages of his research for a new book project on the long history of the Democratic Party. Balcerski focused specifically on the core set of conservative values that were embraced by the party from its inception as an opposition group in the 1790s through its evolution as the party of liberalism in the FDR era. To see the talk, visit: 

Balcerski presented “Ranking the Best…and the Worst Presidents” at the Dauch College of Business and Economics at Ashland University on Sept. 22. The event was co-sponsored by the Ashland Honors Program and Phi Alpha Theta Honorary Society. Balcerski discussed his experience as a presidential historian and participant in the 2021 C-SPAN Presidential Historians Survey. He also led a discussion with the attendees on what makes for a good or bad U.S. president.

Balcerski at Lake Erie College
Balcerski presents at Lake Erie College on Sept. 23.

On Sept. 23, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, in partnership with the James A. Garfield Alliance and Lake Erie College, enjoyed a public program featuring Balcerski, who discussed “James A. Garfield and the Seven Presidents of Long Branch, New Jersey.”  The event took place in the Helen Rockwell Morley Memorial Music Building on the college campus in Painesville, OH. A New Jersey native, Balcerski discussed the many U.S. presidents who vacationed or spent significant time in the resort town of Long Branch, NJ, and gave special emphasis to Garfield who was born and raised in northeast Ohio.

Balcerski will speak to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania on Nov. 9 on the topic “James Buchanan, Pennsylvania’s Native Son.” Balcerski will explore the relationship of Buchanan, the nation’s only bachelor president, and his friend King, vice president before his death in 1853. Although many Americans today might speculate that the two men were gay, Balcerski notes that view may not be historically accurate. His work reassesses the ideas of friendship, sexuality and politics in the era before the Civil War, allowing us to reconsider how concepts of love and affection change over time.

Balcerski’s book, “Bosom Friends,” is the product of years of research at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and archives around the United States. The book offers new food for thought about the nation’s 15th president.

On Jan. 18, 2022, the White House Historical Association has called on Balcerski to participate in a virtual meeting on presidential inaugurations. Balcerski will discuss “Inaugurations Gone Wild: Calendar Errors, No-Shows and Other Misadventures.”

Everyone knows that Inauguration Day takes place on Jan. 20, but that wasn’t always the case. Did you know that the Inauguration of George Washington was held on Thursday, April 30, 1789? As it turns out, the history of Inauguration Day has been surprisingly riddled with scheduling problems, logistical nightmares and popular uproar. Balcerski will discuss this tumultuous history of the move of Inauguration from March 4 to January 20, the numerous instances of presidential no-shows on Inauguration Day, and the moments when Inaugural festivities went wildly wrong.

Written by Dwight Bachman