Lynn American history prof was visiting scholar at West Point

Watson discussed the intersection of politics and military command, and explored George Washington’s development as a commander and leader with the cadets
Lynn American history prof was visiting scholar at West Point Watson with the cadets at West Point

Published Mar. 22, 2011

Robert Watson, Lynn University American studies professor in the College of Liberal Education, recently returned from West Point where he taught at the U.S. Military Academy as a visiting scholar.

Robert Watson at West Point“The place is incredible and it oozes history,” said Watson. “Custer, Robert E. Lee, Grant, Pershing, Eisenhower and MacArthur were all part of the Academy.”

During his three-and-a-half day tenure there, Watson taught three undergraduate classes, gave a speech, met with cadets and faculty members, even ate with the cadets in the mess hall, and observed them in full dress on parade.

During his visit, Watson Focused on two lessons with the cadets:

  1. Examine the intersection of politics and military command. 
    Watson discussed the lessons from Lincoln’s firing of General George McClellan, Truman’s firing of General Douglas MacArthur and Obama’s firing of General Stanley McChrystal – all during times of war. According to Watson, the decisions were difficult but necessary. There are lessons military commanders must know about respecting their commander-in-chief and adhering to the notion of civilian control over the military.

  2. Explore George Washington’s development as a commander and leader. Watson discussed Washington’s inglorious mistakes as an officer in the Jumonville Affair and Fort Necessity disasters, but his craftiness as seen in the crossing of the Delaware.

“The cadets were an absolute delight to teach,” said Watson, “although it was tough to get used to students standing at attention when you enter the classroom and answering questions with ‘sir, yes sir!’”

More on Watson:

Robert Watson is a professor, author, media commentator and community activist who joined the faculty of Lynn in 2007 after spending 15 years teaching at other universities around the country. He has published more than 30 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, book chapters, encyclopedia essays and newspaper columns. His work in the community also includes founding and directing Think Act Lead, a non-profit think tank established as a free community service and dedicated to civic education and political reform.

Aside from West Point, Watson has been a visiting scholar at nearly a dozen other universities, including New England College, Eastern Illinois, University of Southern Mississippi and James Madison University, among others. In addition, Watson has been a visiting scholar at historic sites including: the Truman Presidential Library, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation and home.

Watson is frequently interviewed about campaigns and elections by local and national TV, print and radio media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, USA Today and The New York Times. Watson also serves as the official political analyst for WPTV Channel 5 (NBC), WIOD 610 News Radio and WFTL 850 Talk Radio. He offers a weekly political roundup for WBZT 1230 on Clear Channel and writes a regular column on politics for the Sun Sentinel.

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