Interesting times: US politics conference gives QE boys expert insights as America goes to the polls

Interesting times: US politics conference gives QE boys expert insights as America goes to the polls

A politics conference at the British Library featuring leading academics and former US national politicians was held on the same day as the American mid-term elections, adding a little extra spice to the proceedings for the QE delegates.

Fourteen A-level Politics students benefitted from the academics’ expert analysis, while also learning from the anecdotes and insights of two former US Congressmen from opposite sides of the political fence.

After widely-reported acrimonious campaigning,  the stateside election results saw the Democrats taking control in the House of Representatives, yet the Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate.

Head of Politics Liam Hargadon said; “We live in fascinating, exciting, political times and there has been a very obvious increase in interest in political developments. This conference is an exceptional opportunity for students to engage with the leading thinkers in American politics at UK universities.”

At the US Politics Today 2018-2019 conference, Dr Althea Legal-Miller, from Canterbury Christchurch University, spoke on Civil Rights in America, while Dr Andrew Moran, Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the London Metropolitan University, titled his presentation The imperilled or unconstrained presidency.

The conference is an annual event which looks at aspects of politics in the United States. This year, as well as the focus on the mid-term elections, the subjects also included developments regarding the Supreme Court. Former Congressmen Tom Petri and Martin Lancaster offered a privileged insight into the workings of the House of Representatives with accounts of their own time as members.

Republican Tom Petri (wearing a dark suit, pictured with QE boys) was the Representative for Wisconsin’s Sixth Congressional District from 1979 to 2015. Known as a moderate, he was a member of The Tuesday Group, an informal caucus of about 50 moderate Republicans. Martin Lancaster (pictured top in light grey suit) is a Democrat who represented North Carolina in Congress between 1987 and 1995. He was subsequently nominated by the then-President, Bill Clinton, for the role of The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, a position he held for 18 months.

After the conference, Eshan Patel, of Year 13, said: “This was a unique opportunity to hear directly from the academics who write the textbooks and articles that we read in our classes. I’ve never been to the British Library before, so that, too, was a great experience.”