Zachary Karabell examined Chester Alan Arthur, who was propelled into the presidency by the assassination of James Garfield and turned his back on the patronage system that had nurtured him. Mr. Karabell argued that in creating a professional civil service he set America on a course toward even greater reforms in the decades to come.
Mr. Karabell talked about his book, A Visionary Nation: Four Centuries of American Dreams and What Lies Ahead, published by HarperCollins. The book is about the cyclical nature of visions and promises made during America’s history in the attempt to make a perfect society.
Mr. Karabell talked about his 1998 book, What’s College For?: The Struggle to Define American Education, published by Harpercollins. The book describes his view that higher education has become radically democratized mass education. After his prepared remarks he took questions from the audience.