Tip Sheet: University of Virginia's Miller Center Offers Resources and Experts on the American Presidency and Inauguration

January 9, 2008 — The University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs offers online resources related to the American presidency that are an inauguration reporter's dream come true.

From George Washington to George W. Bush, the center offers reams of reporter-friendly resources, from facts at a glance to speech transcripts and recordings (audio and video), scholarly briefs and essays, and links to further resources — all edited, reviewed and organized by preeminent scholars of each president and administration.

For this historic inauguration, the center has assembled an archive of inaugural speeches and clips of former White House speechwriters talking about crafting the inaugural address.

The center's 25 scholars include leading experts on a number of topics relevant to this historic inauguration, from Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy and Obama's immediate predecessors. Details follow on six U.Va. scholars.

General Presidential Politics

Larry J. Sabato
Professor of politics and director of the U.Va. Center for Politics

Recognized as one of the nation's top political analysts, Sabato is a keen observer of politics on the national, regional and state levels. Sabato has written more than 20 books and numerous essays on the American political process.

"We don't have the unifying effect of a king or queen. As a result, over the centuries America has developed traditions that encourage stability and public confidence. That's what an inauguration is," Larry Sabato told the Associated Press before Bush's 2004 inauguration.

Sidney Milkis
Politics professor; assistant director for academic programs, Miller Center of Public Affairs
434-924-6052 (office)
434-924-3037 (office)
434-975-3139 (mobile)
434-984-5685 (home)
Online bio

Milkis has written 11 books on American politics. Several serve as popular textbooks, including "American Government: Balancing Rights and Democracy, 2nd edition" and "The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776–1998, 5th edition."

His research focuses on the American presidency, political parties and elections, social movements and American political development.

Previous media citations:

Eight years of Bush turmoil ends
Agence France Presse / Oct. 27

McCain, Obama Spar Over Crisis as First Debate May Be Casualty
Bloomberg / Sept. 25

What Obama Can Learn From Bubba
Huffington Post / July 2, 2008

Russell Riley
Associate professor; chairman, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center of Public Affairs
434-982-2740 (office)
Online bio

Riley chairs the Miller Center's Presidential Oral History Program, for which he has interviewed senior members of the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He studies race and politics, presidential leadership, Southern politics and political parties. His book, "The Presidency and the Politics of Racial Inequality: Nation-keeping from 1831–1965," is a comparative study of how presidents dealt with abolitionism and the later movement for black civil rights. He is writing a book about post-war politics in the United States, examining comparatively the immediate aftermaths of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and the Cold War.

Previous media citations:

What Kind of Temperament Is Best?
Time / Oct. 16

What Are You Worried About?
Wall Street Journal blog / Nov. 23

Obama-Clinton race echoes past bouts
USA Today / May 13

Presidential Biography and Transitions

Brian Balogh
Professor of history; chairman, Governing America in a Global Era program, Miller Center of Public Affairs
Online bio

Balogh specializes in 20th-century American political history. He is a co-host of the new public radio show, "BackStory with the American History Guys." In the latest episode, he scrutinizes the differences in presidential transitions through the decades.

Previous media citations:

Presidential biography
Economist [audio] / Dec. 13, 2007

The Internet: Now a Presidential Campaign Essential
BusinessWeek / Aug. 25, 2008

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson

David Coleman
Associate professor; chairman, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center of Public Affairs

Coleman specializes in foreign relations since 1945, nuclear history and 20th-century U.S. political history. His work for the Miller Center's Presidential Recordings Program focuses on the tapes of presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Previous media citations:

What Are You Worried About?
Wall Street Journal blog / Nov. 23

When There's Nothing Left to Do but Wait
Washington Post / Nov. 1

What Kind of Temperament Is Best?
Time / Oct. 16

Abraham Lincoln

William Lee Miller     
Professor emeritus of political and social thought; Scholar in Ethics and Institutions, Miller Center of Public Affairs

Miller's recent book, "President Lincoln: The Duty of a Statesman," (2008) concludes the "ethical biography" begun in his acclaimed "Lincoln's Virtues" (2002). The first volume charted his moral development as a frontier youth and prairie politician, and the second volume finishes the story, from his inauguration to eventual martyrdom. The Washington Post described his latest volume as "one of the best and most beautifully written accounts of the great man's years in the White House."

Previous media citations:

They Don't Make Debates Like This Anymore / Lincoln may have won the debates, but he lost his campaign for the Senate.
Washington Post / Feb. 17, 2008

The Lincoln Compulsion
Time / Feb. 11, 2008