Ted Widmer

Macaulay Honors College, CUNY; Former Senior Fellow & Carnegie-Uehiro Fellow, Carnegie Council

Ted Widmer is a former Senior Fellow and Carnegie-Uehiro Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. He is a distinguished visiting scholar and director of the Humanities Lab at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York.

Previously, Widmer was the director of John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Prior to that he was the director of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and the founding director of the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College.

Between 1997 and 2001, Widmer was a foreign policy speechwriter and senior adviser to President Clinton. He also served in the Department of State during the Obama administration, as a senior adviser to Secretary Clinton.

Prior to that, Widmer taught at Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D., AM, and AB degrees.

His books include Listening In: The Secret White House Tapes of John F. Kennedy (2012); Martin Van Buren (2005); Campaigns: A Century of Presidential Races (with Alan Brinkley, 2001); and Young America: The Flowering of Democracy in New York City (1999). Widmer also edited the two volumes of American Speeches: Political Oratory from Abraham Lincoln to Bill Clinton published by the Library of America (2006).

Widmer is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The New Yorker, Politico, The Boston Globe, and The American Scholar.

Featured Work

Inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861. CREDIT: <a href=https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham_Lincoln_inauguration_1861.jpg>Library of Congress (CC)</a>.

MAY 8, 2020 Podcast

Democracy on the Verge: Leadership in Times of Crisis, with Ted Widmer

In this fascinating conversation with Carnegie Council President Joel Rosenthal, historian Ted Widmer looks back on 13 pivotal days in Abraham Lincoln's life in 1861--the basis ...

Ottoman Empire map with partitions, part of the memoranda for the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. CREDIT: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peace-conference-memoranda-respecting-syria-arabia-palestine5.jpg">Stanfords Geographical Establishment London/Public Domain</a>

JAN 31, 2020 Podcast

The Crack-Up: The Birth of the Modern Middle East, with Ted Widmer

At the end of World War I, colonial powers carved up the Ottoman Empire and the reverberations are still being felt today. Historian Ted Widmer ...

NOV 18, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: Dwight Eisenhower & the Road Trip that Changed America, with Brian C. Black

In 1919, a young Army officer named Dwight Eisenhower, along with a "Mad Max"-style military convoy, set out on a cross-country road trip to examine ...

NOV 4, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: How General Motors Shaped America, with Anna Clark

From financing mechanisms to labor policy to the rise of the suburbs, General Motors had a huge effect on the development of the United States ...

OCT 23, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: The 1919 Elaine Massacre & the Struggle to Remember, with Nan Woodruff

The massacre in rural Elaine, Arkansas was one of the most violent episodes of 1919's Red Summer of racist confrontations, but it also remains one ...

SEP 16, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: The 1919 Race Riots & the Crucible of Chicago, with Adam Green

During the "Red Summer" of 1919 dozens of race riots flared up across the U.S., but the anti-African American violence in Chicago stood out because ...

Eugene Debs speaking in Canton, Ohio in 1918. He was arrested shortly thereafter on charges of sedition. CREDIT: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Debs_Canton_1918_large.jpg">CantonRep.com/Public Domain</a>

JUL 8, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: Eugene Debs & the Origins of Socialism in the U.S., with Maurice Isserman

Hamilton College's Maurice Isserman and historian Ted Widmer discuss American socialism in the early 1900s and the influence of Eugene Debs, a politician and trade ...

JUL 2, 2019 Podcast

The History of the Census & the Citizenship Question, with Ted Widmer

Historian Ted Widmer tells the fascinating story of the United States Census, from its Revolutionary War origins up to the citizenship question controversy of the 2020 ...

CREDIT: <a href="https://pixabay.com/photos/bible-cross-easter-good-friday-2167783/">congerdesign/Pixabay</a>

JUN 28, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: 1919 & the Birth of Fundamentalism, with Matthew Avery Sutton

Washington State's Matthew Avery Sutton tells the story of a Minneapolis pastor named William Belly Riley and the rise of Christian fundamentalism in the post-World ...

JUN 17, 2019 Podcast

The Crack-Up: A Hundred Years of Student Protests in China, with Jeffrey Wasserstrom

In the latest "Crack-Up" podcast, China expert Jeffrey Wasserstrom discusses the rich history of Chinese student protests. From the May Fourth movement in 1919 to Tiananmen ...