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The Radical Transparency of the American Republic

LSE IDEAS Philippe Roman Chair Inaugural Lecture

For most of its history, the U.S. government’s commitment to transparency stood as a radical counter-example to the rest of the world. Washington, Madison, and Lincoln were in some ways as radical as Julian Assange in their commitment to transparency. During the Civil War, one hundred and fifty years before Wikileaks, the State Department routinely made public normally secret diplomatic correspondences. When the White House invoked executive privilege, legislators and citizens were remarkably determined in challenging it, and historians were unusually effective in exposing the self-interest hidden by official secrecy. More recent invocations of national security therefore stand in sharp contrast with America’s founders and their principles.

Professor Matthew Connelly is Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at LSE IDEAS for 2014-2015. Currently a professor in the Department of History at Columbia University, Matthew Connelly is also founder and director or the LSE-Columbia University Double Degree in International and World History. His current research focuses on planning and predictions, and using data science to analyse patterns in official secrecy. He received his B.A. from Columbia and his Ph.D. from Yale He has authored a wide-range of articles and publications, including the award-winning 'Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s fight for independence and the origins of the post-Cold War era', which has won five prizes since its publication. His most recent book, 'Fatal Misconception: the struggle to control world population', was chosen as one of the best books of the year by 'The Economist' and the 'Financial Times'.

Professor Arne Westad (@OAWestad) is the director of LSE IDEAS.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEConnelly


Professor Matthew Connelly | talks


Date and Time:

21 October 2014 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Old Theatre, Old Building
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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