With American voters poised to choose their 45th President in what has been deemed one of the most volcanic and decisive campaigns in decades, it may be worthwhile to ponder how such elections – from time to time – are considered turning points or watershed moments in the history of US politics. This 58th election – according to some polls – remains finely balanced, with very high stakes. Either way, history is set to be made.
A previous Europaeum Lecture, by Godfrey Hodgson, journalist, broadcaster, and academic who studied History at Oxford and Pennsylvania, before joining The Observer and The Sunday Times in Washington, looked closely at the impact such events can have. In that lecture, he examined the presidential election as “a device for national introspection”, drawing particularly on the elections of 1876, 1912, 1968, and 2004. At each of these, Hodgson contended, America stood at a crossroads – something few could deny applies equally to 2016. Please read The Other American Presidential Election: Choosing a President and Psychoanalyzing a Nation, delivered at the Campus den Haag at Leiden University in 2004, here.