Chestertown, MD, February 25, 2003 — Washington College's Guy Goodfellow Memorial Lecture presents “Election 2000 and the Limits of American Democracy,” a lecture by Alexander Keyssar, Professor of History and Social Policy, Harvard University, on Tuesday, March 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the College's Hynson Lounge. The lecture is free and the public is invited to attend.
While the conflict with Iraq and the war on terrorism have preoccupied our nation since September 11, 2001, before that fateful day few subjects commanded our attention more than the controversy surrounding George W. Bush's upset of Al Gore for America's top political position. Dr. Keyssar is the author of the 1986 book, The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States, which was named the best book in U.S. history by the American Historical Association and the Historical Society and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Award. In his lecture, Dr. Keyssar will examine the 2000 presidential election in the light of his research on the history of suffrage in America. Although the history of suffrage has been portrayed as a steady and gradual extension of the franchise to broader categories of American society, Dr. Keyssar argues that this history has been consistently challenged by doubts about democracy itself, resistance to expansion of suffrage, and by measures meant to reduce opportunities to vote. The 2000 election brings to the forefront the questions of disenfranchisement, the limitations of the Electoral College, and the role of the Supreme Court in presidential selection and has caused Americans once again to consider the strengths and weaknesses of democracy in the United States, who has the right to a voice, and how the voices of American citizens should be balanced in the election of their leaders. Dr. Keyssar will offer insights into those debates and suggest how our political process will continue to evolve from its contentious foundations.
The Guy F. Goodfellow Memorial Lecture Series was established upon Dr. Goodfellow's death in 1989 to honor the memory of the history professor who had taught at Washington College for 30 years. The intent of the endowed lecture series is to bring a distinguished historian to campus each year to lecture and spend time with students in emulation of Dr. Goodfellow's vibrant teaching style.