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Allan Lichtman Distinguished Professor History

Additional Positions at AU
Faculty Affiliate, Department of Justice, Law & Criminology
PhD, Harvard University
BA, Brandeis University

Allan J. Lichtman received his PhD from Harvard University in 1973 with a specialty in modern American history and quantitative methods. He became an Assistant Professor of History at American University in 1973 and a Full Professor in 1980, and a Distinguished Professor in 2011. He was the recipient of the Scholar/Teacher of the year award for 1992-93. He has published eleven books and several hundred popular and scholarly articles. He has lectured in the US and internationally and provided commentary for major US and foreign networks and leading newspapers and magazines across the world. He has been an expert witness in some 100 civil and voting rights cases. His book, White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. He co-authored book with Richard Breitman, FDR and the Jews, won the National Jewish Book Award Prize in American Jewish History and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in history. His book, The Case for Impeachment was a national independent bookstore bestseller. Lichtman's prediction system, the Keys to the White House, has correctly predicted the outcomes of all US presidential elections since 1984. He was listed as # 85 among 100 most influential geopolitical experts in the world and received the lifetime achievement award from Who's Who.
See Also
Department of History
Allan Lichtman on Wikipedia
The Keys To the White House on Wikipedia
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • HIST-449 Topics in U.S. History: American Presidents

Fall 2024

  • HIST-449 Topics in U.S. History: Voting & Elections in America

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

  • History of modern America, American Political History, Quantitative Methods, American presidency, Historical prediction, Civil Rights

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • Graduate Prize Fellow , Harvard University, 1968-1973
  • Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Visiting Scholar, California Institute of Technology, 1980-81
  • Top Speaker Award, National Convention of the International Platform Association, 1983, 1984, 1987
  • Outstanding Scholar/Teacher, The American University, 1992-93 (highest university faculty award
  • Organization of American Historians, Distinguished Lecturer, 2004 – present
  • Keynote Speaker, International Forecasting Summit, 2008
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, best nonfiction book, 2008, White Protestant Nation 
  • Biographical Listing in Marquis, Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World
  • Selected by the Teaching Company as one of America’s “Super Star Teachers.”

Professional Presentations

  • Delegation Head, Delegation of Washington Area Scholars to Taiwan, Presented Paper on the promotion of democracy based on the American experience, July 1993
  • Feature Presentation, Predicting The Next Presidential Election, Freedom’s Foundation Seminar on the American Presidency, August 1996 
  • Feature Presentation on the Keys to the White House, Dirksen Congressional Center, Peoria, Illinois, August, 2000
  • Feature Presentation on American Political History, Regional Conference of the Organization of American Historians, August 2000
  • Presentation to the United States Commission on Civil Rights Regarding Voting Systems and Voting Rights, January 2001
  • Feature Presentation, The Keys to the White House, International Symposium on Forecasting, 2006-2007
  • Annual Hubert Humphrey Foundation Lecture, 2007-2008
  • Feature Presentation, Forecasting the 2008 Election, Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 2007
  • Debate Participant, US Department of State Model Presidential Debates in Russia, September 2008
  • Featured Lecture, White Protestant Nation, Eisenhower Institute, December 2008

Media Appearances

  • CBS News on-air consultant for Dan Rather, Clinton Impeachment
  • Consultant and on-air commentator for NBC special productions video project on the history of the American presidency
  • Weekly political commentator for NBC News Nightside
  • Weekly political commentator for CNN Headline News, 2003-2006
  • Election Night commentator for BBC, 2004 and 2008 presidential elections
  • Inauguration commentator for Voice of America, 2009
  • Election-year columnist for Reuters, 1996 & 2000
  • More than 2,000 interviews on television and radio networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC, CBC, VOA, and other media outlets worldwide.
  • More than 500 print interviews in New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and other publications worldwide.
  • Columnist, Montgomery Gazette, 1990-present

Professional Services

  • Consultant and expert witness in more than 75 civil and voting rights cases in federal and state court; authoritatively cited by US Supreme Court
  • Redistricting and voting rights consultant to state and local governments including, Maryland, Texas, and New York City
  • Historical consultant to the Kin and Communities Program of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Consultant on voting rights to the United States Department of Justice

Selected Publications

  • Prejudice and the Old Politics: The Presidential Election of 1928 (Lexington Books, 2000), reprint of 1979 edition with new introduction.
  • Historians and the Living Past: The Theory and Practice of Historical Study (Arlington Heights, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1978; with Valerie French)
  • Ecological Inference (with Laura Irwin Langbein, Sage Series in Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences, 1978)
  • The Thirteen Keys To the Presidency (Lanham: Madison Books, 1990, with Ken DeCell)
  • The Keys To the White House, 2008 Edition (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008)
  • White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement, 2008, Grove/Atlantic Press 
  • "Critical Election Theory and the Reality of American Presidential Politics, 1916 1940," American Historical Review (April 1976)
  • "Pattern Recognition Applied to Presidential Elections in the United States, 1860 1980: The Role of Integral Social, Economic, and Political Traits," Proceedings To the National Academy of Science (with V. I. Keilis Borok, November 1981)
  • “What Really Happened in Florida’s 2000 Presidential Election,” Journal of Legal Studies (January 2003)
  • “The Keys to the White House: An Index Forecast for 2008,” International Journal of Forecasting (April-June 2008)

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • McDonnell Foundation, Prediction of Complex Systems ($50,000, three years)

Professional Certifications

  • Reviewer, numerous professional journals
  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Operations Research and Information Systems

Congressional Testimony

  • United States House of Representatives, Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Pardon Power, February 2001
  • United States Senate, Government Operations Committee, Racial Differentials in Ballot Rejection Rates in the Florida Presidential Election, June 2001

Work In Progress

  • New book, FDR and the Jews, with Richard Breitman, under contract, Harvard University Press

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

political history, presidential and congressional campaigns, voting behavior, public opinion, political history, and civil rights

Additional Information

Allan J. Lichtman, professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, is best known for his “13 Keys” system, which enables him to predict the outcome of the popular vote solely on historical factors and not the use of candidate-preference polls, tactics, or campaign events. He used this system to predict Barack Obama’s win in 2008, George W. Bush's reelection in 2004, Al Gore’s popular vote victory in 2000, Bill Clinton’s win in 1996, George H. W. Bush’s defeat in 1992, and the outcome of the 1988 presidential election when Michael Dukakis was well ahead in the polls. Lichtman’s “13 Keys,” featured in his renowned book Keys to the White House, have been highlighted in dozens of articles throughout the world and are a resource for aspiring politicians. He regularly comments on politics and public affairs for many U.S. networks and numerous foreign broadcasting companies. Lichtman is also a noted civil rights authority, often serving as an expert witness in civil rights cases across the country. He has written numerous op-eds for the New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, and other major newspapers.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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