Julian E. Zelizer

Julian E. Zelizer is a political historian at Princeton University and a fellow at New America. His new book, published by Penguin Press, is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society.

Recent Articles

When Liberalism Came Apart

Two new books about the late 1960s provide grist for thinking about political turbulence today. 

AP Photo/stf
AP Photo/stf Attorney General Robert Kennedy uses a bullhorn to address black demonstrators, June 14, 1963, at the Justice Department. The demonstrators marched to the White House, then to the District Building, and wound up—officially—at the Justice Department. There were few incidents. This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division By Michael A. Cohen Oxford University Press Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon By Larry Tye Random House T he raucous rallies for George Wallace in 1968 revealed that something had gone terribly wrong in America. As the presidential candidate of the American Independent Party, the racist Alabama governor who had defied federal efforts to desegregate his state attracted the support of many white working-class Democrats, who now angrily rejected their old liberal allies. Outside a rally at Madison Square Garden, as Michael Cohen...

How Congress Got Us Out of Vietnam

Since January 10, when President Bush proposed a "troop surge" in Iraq, the administration has responded to legislative critics by stating that Congress cannot handle the responsibility of conducting an effective war. "You can't run a war by committee," Vice President Richard Cheney told FOX News on January 14. But Democrats are no longer willing to trust presidential decision-making. "You don't like to micromanage the Defense Department," responded Congressman John Murtha, "but we have to, in this case, because they're not paying attention to the public..." In the debate over whether the legislature can play a constructive role in shaping national security policy, the president's challengers have history on their side. Congress has often played a significant, albeit underappreciated, role in wartime politics. One of the best examples for current Democratic legislators is that of their Vietnam-era counterparts. Ironically, both the left and the right have criticized the performance of...

How Congress Helped End the Vietnam War

Since January 10, when President Bush proposed a "troop surge" in Iraq, the administration has responded to legislative critics by stating that Congress cannot handle the responsibility of conducting an effective war. "You can't run a war by committee," Vice President Richard Cheney told FOX News on January 14. But Democrats are no longer willing to trust presidential decision-making. "You don't like to micromanage the Defense Department," responded Congressman John Murtha, "but we have to, in this case, because they're not paying attention to the public..." In the debate over whether the legislature can play a constructive role in shaping national security policy, the president's challengers have history on their side. Congress has often played a significant, albeit underappreciated, role in wartime politics. One of the best examples for current Democratic legislators is that of their Vietnam-era counterparts. Ironically, both the left and the right have criticized the performance of...