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Jon Meacham
Jon Meacham
Presidential Historian 
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Jon Meacham
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Presidential historian, Pulitzer Prize-winner, and contributor to TIME and The New York Times Book Review, Jon Meacham is one of America's most prominent public intellectuals. A regular guest on Morning Joe, he is known as a skilled raconteur with a depth of knowledge about politics, religion, and current affairs. He understands how issues and events impact our lives and why historical context matters.

Meacham’s latest Presidential biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list in November 2015. The Times said, “Destiny and Power reflects the qualities of both subject and biographer: judicious, balanced, deliberative, with a deep appreciation of history and the personalities who shape it.”

His #1 New York Times bestseller, Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, was hailed as "masterful and intimate" by Fortune magazine. His other national bestsellers include Franklin and WinstonAmerican Gospel, and American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009.

A contributing editor at TIME, Meacham writes for the magazine’s Ideas section. He also pens “The Long View” column in The New York Times Book Review in which he “looks back at books that speak to our current historical and cultural moment.” He served as Newsweek's managing editor from 1998 to 2006 and editor from 2006 to 2010. The New York Times called him “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business.”

He has appeared on Meet The PressThe Colbert Report, and Ken Burns’ documentary series The Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryFox News produced an hour-long special about Meacham’s Destiny and Power in November 2015.

Named a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a fellow of the Society of American Historians, and chairs the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University. Meacham is a Distinguished Visiting Professor of History at The University of the South and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at Vanderbilt.  

He is currently at work on a biography of James and Dolley Madison, while his next book, The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels, tells of the slow, painful, and often tragic story of progress in America. It is scheduled to be released October 30, 2018. 

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Speaking Topics
The Art of Leadership: Lessons from the American Presidency

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jon Meacham explores what 21st-century leaders in different fields of endeavor can learn from the greatest moments of our common past.
This presentation — non-partisan in content and tone — ranges from Jefferson’s pragmatism and JFK’s capacity to recover from his own mistakes to the management of conflicting egos as shown by Reagan and FDR and how George HW Bush dealt with the end of his Presidency. Meacham discusses how history can inform the decisions all of us make everyday in positions that demand creative and innovative solutions.

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In this historical yet topical talk, Meacham explains the roots of the populist fervor that has gripped the country as Donald Trump ascended to the nation’s highest office. Drawing from both the left and the right, the speech is a non-partisan view of how Trump won, what his victory means, and how he will govern.

“This is a remarkable and, indeed, unprecedented moment in American history. Donald Trump is a unique figure, one whose presidency will shape the nation – and the world – for generations. What does he know? How does he think? How does he make decisions? What does the past tell us? These are key, urgent, consuming questions.” — Jon Meacham

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In this contentious moment of debate about Confederate memorials and the place of history in an increasingly diverse nation, Jon Meacham describes – in reasonable, non-partisan, non-ideological terms – the long story of race in America and offers audiences new ways to assess what role emblems of the past should play in an increasingly diverse 21st century.

Read Jon Meacham’s TIME cover story, “American Hate, a History,” or watch him discuss race and violence in Charlottesville on Charlie Rose

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The Competitive Edge in a Global Age: The Value of a Liberal Arts Education
Tumult, Tragedy, and Hope: America in 1968 From a Half Century's Perspective

This presentation marks the 50th anniversary of a watershed year in American life – a time of assassination and activism, from the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy to the advances made by antiwar, civil-rights, and feminist forces. We still live in the world that emerged from ’68, and this speech explains how the legacies and lessons of that time resonate still.

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The Politics of Economics

A speech on the connections between the economy, both domestic and global, and the race for the White House. From FDR forward, what role does the business cycle play in who wins the White House? Very bipartisan, a blend of history, assessment of the present, and a forecast of 2017.

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America Then and Now: What History Tells Us About the Future
God & Politics: The American Experience
The Media's Secret Bias: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Truth About the News

For some people, the key to understanding the media is ideology–that outlets are driven by politics rather than objectivity. There is much truth to this, and the 21st century is now more like the 18th and 19th in terms of partisan news. But there’s an even more fundamental point Americans should grasp: that many journalists are driven as much by conflict as by creeds. Jon Meacham brings renewed perspective to the issue of media bias, grounded in historical analysis and his own life’s work with print and television news media outlets. Meacham cuts to the core of media bias, explaining how politics and human nature shape the news you see and read.

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The Presidents on the Presidents: How Great Men Judge One Another
Books & Other Works
  • Destiny and Power
  • Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
  • TIME cover story: Hate in America
  • donald trump royce carlton rci speaker speeches speakers rci
    TIME cover story: Gut Check: What Presidents Need to Know
  • TIME cover story: What Colleges Will Teach in 2025
  • TIME cover story: Martin Luther King Jr: Architect of the 21st Century
  • TIME Cover Story: 'The History of the American Dream'
  • Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship
  • American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation
  • Voices in Our Blood: America's Best on the Civil Rights Movement
  • Newsweek cover story: The Decline and Fall of Christian America
  • Newsweek cover story: We Are All Socialists Now
  • Newsweek cover story: The Palin Problem
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“I could use one of the following words to describe his presentation: awesome, fabulous, great, impressive... better yet two words: beyond expectations. Jon Meacham was one of the best in the last ten years.”
Trinity University
“Smashing success!! I heart him! He was so wonderful, and you never told me how hilarious he is — next host of Saturday Night Live?”
Jefferson Scholars Foundation
“...wonderful, interesting, full of information...what stood out is his intelligence.”
Russell Reynolds Associates
“It was absolutely great. He is a really great guy and a lot funnier than I had imagined. It was the largest and most successful single speaker event we have ever put on and was incredibly well received by all the faculty, students and administration.”
Pomona College
“We had a wonderful time with Mr. Meacham. Not only was he an amazing commencement speaker, he is an absolutely delightful person. What a great opportunity for our university to continue our long-standing tradition of hosting phenomenal speakers and for our students to benefit from his pertinent and insightful message. We hope he enjoyed himself half as much as we did.”
The University of Mississippi
“He was fabulous! Great speaker, very witty, & charming.”
Tulsa Town Hall
“From his opening statement to his responses to follow-up questions, Mr. Meacham held the audience in the palm of his hand. His impressive grasp of history, insightful observations into current events, and self-effacing humor made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Meacham presented a thoughtful and moving history lecture with all the flair and nuance of a stand-up comedian. It was a truly great event, and the accolades are still pouring in from attendees.”
North Carolina Museum of History
“Jon Meacham provided an amazing kick-off to this season’s speaker series at Rollins College. Our audience could not have been more pleased with his speech and the insights he brings about our past political history as well as our current one.”
Rollins College
“Jon Meacham's speech was the hit of the evening. The content and the delivery were perfect...We are all hearing from clients and friends that this event was the best one yet.”
Kayne, Anderson, Rudnick Investment Management
“Jon Meacham was simply phenomenal. In fact, many in the audience described him as the single best speaker to visit Davidson in their memory. He’s not only brilliant and insightful, qualities that readers see in his writing. He also is a master of the spoken word. The tone, the timing of the delivery, the sense of audience, the very quick wit – all of it is pitch perfect. His command of history and literature will astonish your audience and give it a much richer appreciation of contemporary issues. Colleges and universities should take particular note. If you want someone who is a walking, talking example of what a liberal arts education can produce, Jon Meacham is your man.”
Davidson College
“Thanks to Mr. Meacham for his eloquent and inspiring speech last week. His participation helped make the Nashville national conference the most successful conference in our history. More than 400 cross-sector leaders from over 70 cities participated, and the reviews about his speech have been overwhelmingly positive!”
CEOs for Cities
“He was superb and we received many, many positive comments following his remarks. He was a pleasure to work with on-site – gracious and personable with our attendees during the book signing.”
National Emergency Management Association
“He was wonderful! We had so many great comments from the attendees. He really was funny too! Very personable. I was very impressed.”
Aurora University
“The response to your talk about FRANKLIN AND WINSTON was overwhelming. It's almost two weeks later and I'm still getting calls.... You spoke with such insight and verve about the two most towering political figures of our era. You had a rapt audience, most of whom would have stayed and listened until the tables and chairs were carried out of the room.”
Harmonie Club
“Please accept our appreciation for a thoroughly engaging evening. Everyone with whom I spoke enjoyed your style, subject matter, wit, humor, and the manner in which you wove stories together to bring history to life. Thank you for your commitment to us at an exciting and busy time in our nation's history. It was a gift.”
The Greater Kansas City Festival of Faiths
“We cannot keep up with the high praise and raves that we are receiving about Jon Meacham. The dinner was a complete hit and, as one patron told me the next day, “I hung on his every word.” Justice O’Connor was truly delighted.”
Sandra Day O'Connor Institute
“It was great. We filled the theatre for the speech. Very interesting guy. Our donors and university officials were all very happy with the speech and the turnout.”
Elon University
“The positive comments are rolling in all day today. We are so pleased with the community’s response to his appearance last night. He challenged us and made us laugh as a charming and knowledgeable teacher. What a hit!”
New Albany Community Foundation
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