Presidents, Politics, and History: Upcoming Talks in NYC

By Alison Durkee

It’s February, which means it’s time to pay tribute to our past U.S. presidents and the man who started it all: George Washington. Find out more about the Founding Fathers and celebrate politics from the Revolutionary era through the present with these upcoming political events.

Go back in time to the days of Washington at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, where Washington bade farewell to his Revolutionary War officers. The historic spot will celebrate Presidents’ Day and Washington’s Birthday with $1 admission and an open house from February 16-18. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden will also pay tribute to the nation’s first president in 19th-century fashion with a special Washington’s Birthday Ball February 17. Learn more about the nation’s first president by heading out on a walking tour February 14 of Washington and Alexander Hamilton’s early stomping grounds in the Financial District, or join authors Chris Formant and Mary Calvi as they discuss Washington and his early life experiences February 21.

To get a better picture of the Revolutionary era in which Washington lived, head back to the Fraunces Tavern Museum for a one-woman play February 24 on the era’s women and the role they played in American history. The museum is also offering some last-minute Valentine’s Day plans with their Love in the Time of Revolution tour February 14, which explores the romantic side of the Founding Fathers. Those wanting more of a look at the war itself, meanwhile, can head out to Central Park for a tour of the Northern Forts (February 18-19), where British troops were stationed during the Revolutionary War.

Of course, there’s plenty of political history to delve into since the days of our nation’s founding. Go back to the Civil War era with a look at U.S. foreign policy and logistics from 1850-1865 on February 15, or learn more about World War II with upcoming events on the war’s outbreak (February 16) and its final months (March 1). For a look at past presidential history, join Richard Nixon: The Life author John A. Farrell and presidential historian Douglas Brinkley for a conversation on President Nixon February 21, or see how artists, writers and political thinkers have responded to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” address at the International Center for Photography’s Re-Stating the Union event February 20. On February 19, go back to the Ronald Reagan administration with a Flying University session on how his ’80s-era presidency affected art and pop culture– and perhaps even led to the rise of far-right Republicanism that ultimately gave us Donald Trump.

There’s also much to discuss when it comes to our current political moment. Look forward to the 2020 census with Jeff Behler, the New York Regional Director for the U.S. Census Bureau, as he discusses the upcoming counting process February 17. Hear from a political rising star as Rep. Joe Kennedy III appears in conversation at the 92nd Street Y February 21, or get insights from former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley as she speaks at Temple Emanu-El March 12. Upcoming events will also get into the Trump administration’s scandals and effects; join author Nina Burleigh for a look at Trump’s attitudes toward women February 26, or consider press freedom in the Trump-inspired era of “fake news” and “alternative facts” with New York Times staffers April 2. If today’s political problems have you longing for a simpler option, meanwhile, join lawyer and Common Good founder Philip K. Howard as he discusses his new book, Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left, at an event February 20.

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