Geoffrey Cowan, Bestselling Author of Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary, in conversation with Henry Weinstein

Thursday, June 16th at 7 p.m.

As we enter the homestretch of the 2016 presidential election, Geoffrey Cowan relates the remarkably relevant tale of how Teddy Roosevelt jumpstarted the modern presidential primary as we now know it. Get the scoop on timely history in his conversation with award-winning journalist and law professor Henry Weinstein. Q&A and signing to follow on Thursday, June 16th at 7 p.m.


Let the People Rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the Birth of the Presidential Primary presents the rollicking and dramatic story of four crucial months during Teddy Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign that forever altered American politics. Hoping to regain the Republican Party nomination, Roosevelt created and benefitted from the new idea of presidential primaries, winning 9 of 13 dramatic contests which Cowan describes in riveting detail. Roosevelt’s campaign slogan (and message to party bosses) became “Let the People Rule.” Though Roosevelt won about 70 percent of the delegates selected by public vote, it was not enough to overcome entrenched interests. He walked out of the convention. Cowan’s incisive account shows how the political and social turmoil of that landmark year changed politics in ways that continue to provide important lessons for America today.  Provocative and deeply informed, Let the People Rule is a penetrating look into this revolutionary era in American politics.   

“Brilliantly illuminates everything from the birth of the political primary system to the disenfranchisement of African Americans to egos writ large.” – Douglas Brinkley Mark Davidson

Photo: Mark Davidson

Geoffrey Cowan, President of the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Annenberg Family Chair in Communication Leadership at the University of Southern California, is the bestselling author of The People v. Clarence Darrow. Cowan was a civil rights activist in Mississippi in the summer of 1964, and for his role in dramatically increasing the number of presidential primaries in 1968, ABC TV News called him “the man who did more to change Democratic Conventions than anyone since Andrew Jackson started them.”

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Henry Weinstein began his career as a  journalist in 1969. He’s worked at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Nation, among others. Until 2008, he was a local investigative reporter, a Labor Writer and a Legal Writer at the L.A. Times.  Weinstein  is the recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the 2006 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, awarded by Columbia University. In 2008 Professor Weinstein became a member of the Founding Faculty at the University of California, Irvine School of Law.