Richard Moe, historian, preservationist, and chief of staff to former United States Vice President Walter Mondale, presented the second Paul and Joan Nagel Lecture last week, Nov. 18, at the University of Minnesota. Moe discussed his book, “Roosevelt’s Second Act: The Election of 1940 and the Politics of War.” Video of the lecture is now available on youtube.
Former Vice President of the United States Walter Mondale introduced Moe.
About Richard Moe
Richard Moe served as Chief of Staff for Vice President of the United States Walter Mondale, was a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, and served as President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1993 to 2009. He is a native Minnesotan and a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School.
Moe’s other books are, “Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers,” the story of the Minnesota regiment that played a crucial and tragic role in the battle at Gettysburg; and “Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of Sprawl.”
About ‘Roosevelt’s Second Act’
In “Roosevelt’s Second Act,” Moe focuses on a turning point in American political history: FDR’s decision to seek a third term. Often overlooked between the passage and implementation of the New Deal and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that decision was far from inevitable. As the election loomed, he refused to comment, confiding in no one, scrambling the politics of his own party; but after the Republicans surprisingly nominated Wendell Willkie in July 1940, FDR became convinced that no other Democrat could both maintain the legitimacy of the New Deal and mobilize the nation for war. With Hitler on the verge of conquering Europe, Roosevelt, still hedging, began to maneuver his way to the center of the political stage.
“In Roosevelt’s Second Act Richard Moe has shown in superb fashion that what might seem to have been an inevitable decision of comparatively little interest was far from it.”
About the Paul and Joan Nagel Lecture
This lecture was created to honor Paul Nagel, Ph.D., who was an active member of the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Nagel was a former university professor and administrator, director of the Virginia Historical Society, and best-selling author of several books, including “Descent from Glory: Four Generations of the John Adams Family,” “John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life,” and “The Adams Women.” He was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Adams Institute, joining David McCullough and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy as the only three people to receive this award. The first Nagel Lecture was presented by Henry Adams, a descendant of President Adams and an art historian and biographer.
Nagel served on numerous boards, including as senior trustee of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as well as president of the Friends of the University of Minnesota Libraries. His late wife, Joan, a librarian and genealogist, was a collaborator with Paul in many of his historical works. The Nagel papers are held in the collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries.