Legacy Organizations

Dwight D Eisenhower
Legacy Organizations

The American Assembly

More
Legacy Organizations

Coming Soon

Scroll to Begin

The American Assembly

The American Assembly is a public policy institute founded by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1950 during his time as president of Columbia University. Deeply concerned about the social, economic, and political quandaries thrust upon the nation after World War II, Eisenhower sought to create a rigorous framework that could marshal intellectual power across a range of sectors, bringing together the nation’s brightest minds to address difficult problems and identify effective solutions.

A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN ASSEMBLY

AMERICAN ASSEMBLY TODAY

A HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN ASSEMBLY

A Framework for Democratic Citizenship

In the late 1940’s only a handful of public policy institutions existed, and structured conferences were a new and evolving form of exchange. Eisenhower envisioned the American Assembly as an experiment in democratic citizenship — one in which bright minds would come together in an objective and impartial process to address key challenges facing democracy, and “illuminate issues of national policy.” As president of Columbia University, Eisenhower argued that educational institutions “must assume immediate leadership in studying, explaining, and perpetuating our American system.”

EISENHOWER: A CIVIC THINKER

Eisenhower is widely regarded as a preeminent military strategist and political leader. Yet the passionate advocacy that led him to establish the American Assembly in 1950 reveals his broader commitment to strengthening democracy — and the important role he believed educational institutions played in cultivating “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry.”

EISENHOWER’S ADDRESS AT THE COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY NATIONAL BICENTENNIAL DINNER, NEW YORK, MAY 31, 1954

EISENHOWER: FAREWELL ADDRESS

Though often celebrated as a defender of core American values on the battlefield, Eisenhower also expressed what he believed were the internal threats to American democracy.

 

In his famous “Farewell Address” as he left the White House, he emphasized a theme he had long considered essential for a democratic society, the need for “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry.”

 

These deeply held beliefs, and Eisenhower’s mandate to protect them, were central to the creation of The American Assembly, which continues to identify cross-cutting problems, focus attention from both sides of the aisle, and make a better nation for all Americans.

Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

THE AMERICAN ASSEMBLY PROCESS

On May 21, 1951, Columbia University received Arden House as the “home of the American Assembly” and the first American Assembly began deliberations. Arden House was given to Columbia by W. Averell Harriman and his brother E. Roland Harriman. This established Arden House as America’s first Conference Center.

THE AMERICAN ASSEMBLY THROUGH THE DECADES

For over 60 years, The American Assembly has held over 100 convenings of historical significance on a variety of topics, fostering non-partisan, cross sector public-policy discussions.

AMERICAN ASSEMBLY TODAY

America's Legacy Cities

Eisenhower’s deeply held beliefs and mandate to protect democratic society continue to define the work of the American Assembly today. The theme of fostering non-partisan, cross-sector public-policy discussions is still very much alive — particularly in the Assembly’s Cities Program and the Legacy Cities Partnership.

WHAT IS A LEGACY CITY?

Legacy cities are places that have changed dramatically since the mid-20th century. Mostly older, formerly-industrial urban areas, legacy cities have experienced significant population loss. The profound social and economic disruption in legacy cities is the result of fundamental shifts of the global economy in recent decades, and as importantly, policy decisions made at the local, state, and federal level.

AT A GLANCE

EMPOWERING AMERICA’S LEGACY CITIES

Despite very real challenges, legacy cities also have real assets—from strong cultural fabric and anchor institutions to abundant historic architecture and available land—that serve local communities and strengthen them as centers of their metropolitan regions. Many are now becoming hubs of innovation, as legacy city leaders find new and creative solutions to the challenges at hand.

THE LEGACY CITIES PARTNERSHIP

The Legacy Cities Partnership aims to strengthen the skills of professionals working on these issues and establish a framework for the revitalization of legacy cities. The Partnership was founded by The American Assembly, the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City, and the Center for Community Progress.