In many ways, the presidency of George H. W. Bush was a transitional presidency. The end of the Cold War ushered in a new world with the United States as the dominant power. While many might credit his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, as the one who brought an end to the conflict with the former Soviet Union, George H. W. Bush was an associate president, serving as Vice President during Reagan's two terms. While supporting the work of the Reagan administration and, therefore, providing some continuity with it, President Bush had a different style of leadership and new priorities to establish.
This volume of essays by cabinet members, world leaders, and scholars examine the formation of Bush's character and the factors that influenced his leadership as a legislator, a diplomat, and an American president. His family background, his military service, his life experience before going into public life, and the various positions in government service are all reviewed by friends, colleagues, and objective observers. The end result is the most detailed examination ever attempted of Bush's character and its impact on his career.
In his groundbreaking book The Presidential Difference, Greenstein evaluated the personal strengths and weaknesses of the modern presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt. Here, he takes us back to the very founding of the republic to apply the same yardsticks to the first seven presidents from Washington to Andrew Jackson, giving his no-nonsense assessment of the qualities that did and did not serve them well in office. For each president, Greenstein provides a concise history of his life and presidency, and evaluates him in the areas of public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. Washington, for example, used his organizational prowess--honed as a military commander and plantation owner--to lead an orderly administration. In contrast, John Adams was erudite but emotionally volatile, and his presidency was an organizational disaster.
Inventing the Job of President explains how these early presidents and their successors shaped the American presidency we know today and helped the new republic prosper despite profound challenges at home and abroad.
The case studies in this single-volume work cover an unparalleled scope of "modern presidential history" and related topics, beginning with the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt and continuing to the presidency of Barack Obama. Examples of the events and subject matter of the case studies include the interstate transport system, the building of the social safety net, the civil rights movement, the space program, environmental protection, education reform, the IT revolution, energy policy, the budget, economic policy, foreign policy, national security, defense policy, and presidential scandals. Each case study highlights a historical lesson and is authored by a different political scientist, historian, or subject matter expert, offering readers a multidisciplinary examination of the presidency.
In Overreach, respected presidential scholar George Edwards argues that the problem was strategic, not tactical. He finds that in President Obama's first two years in office, Obama governed on the premise that he could create opportunities for change by persuading the public and some congressional Republicans to support his major initiatives. As a result, he proposed a large, expensive, and polarizing agenda in the middle of a severe economic crisis. The president's proposals alienated many Americans and led to a severe electoral defeat for the Democrats in the 2010 midterm elections, undermining his ability to govern in the remainder of his term.
Edwards shows that the president's frustrations were predictable and the inevitable result of misunderstanding the nature of presidential power. The author demonstrates that the essence of successful presidential leadership is recognizing and exploiting existing opportunities, not in creating them through persuasion. When Obama succeeded in passing important policies, it was by mobilizing Democrats who were already predisposed to back him. Thus, to avoid overreaching, presidents should be alert to the limitations of their power to persuade and rigorously assess the possibilities for obtaining public and congressional support in their environments.
Using his trademark no-nonsense approach, Greenstein looks at the presidential qualities of James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. For each president, he provides a concise history of the man's life and presidency, and evaluates him in the areas of public communication, organizational capacity, political skill, policy vision, cognitive style, and emotional intelligence. Greenstein sheds light on why Buchanan is justly ranked as perhaps the worst president in the nation's history, how Pierce helped set the stage for the collapse of the Union and the bloodiest war America had ever experienced, and why Lincoln is still considered the consummate American leader to this day.
Presidents and the Dissolution of the Union reveals what enabled some of these presidents, like Lincoln and Polk, to meet the challenges of their times--and what caused others to fail.
Saunders argues that leaders' threat perceptions—specifically, whether they believe that threats ultimately originate from the internal characteristics of other states—influence both the decision to intervene and the choice of intervention strategy. These perceptions affect the degree to which leaders use intervention to remake the domestic institutions of target states. Using archival and historical sources, Saunders concentrates on U.S. military interventions during the Cold War, focusing on the presidencies of Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. After demonstrating the importance of leaders in this period, she also explores the theory's applicability to other historical and contemporary settings including the post–Cold War period and the war in Iraq.
Perspectives on Presidential Leadershipis an examination of presidential legacy, and in particular an analysis of the first ever UK ranking of American presidents which took place in 2011. In thirteen chapters, thirteen individual presidential administrations are assessed. Some presidents have been considered a success, others a failure; both types are featured in these thirteen case studies in a measured attempt to understand how the perception of presidential leadership evolves, shifts, and contorts across three centuries of American politics. The case studies also derive from the expertise of the collected British, Irish and Canadian authors, all of whom are leading scholars in their fields, and many of which took part in the 2011 survey.
At a time when understanding presidential legacy is in high demand, this book offers a unique international perspective. Through extended commentary and inter-disciplinary study of the UK perspective it provides groundbreaking research.
In Bending History, Martin Indyk, Kenneth Lieberthal, and Michael O'Hanlon measure Obama not only against the record of his predecessors and the immediate challenges of the day, but also against his own soaring rhetoric and inspiring goals. Bending History assesses the considerable accomplishments as well as the failures and seeks to explain what has happened.
Obama's best work has been on major and pressing foreign policy challenges—counterterrorism policy, including the daring raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden; the "reset" with Russia; managing the increasingly significant relationship with China; and handling the rogue states of Iran and North Korea. Policy on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, has reflected serious flaws in both strategy and execution. Afghanistan policy has been plagued by inconsistent messaging and teamwork. On important "softer" security issues—from energy and climate policy to problems in Africa and Mexico—the record is mixed. As for his early aspiration to reshape the international order, according greater roles and responsibilities to rising powers, Obama's efforts have been well-conceived but of limited effectiveness.
On issues of secondary importance, Obama has been disciplined in avoiding fruitless disputes (as with Chavez in Venezuela and Castro in Cuba) and insisting that others take the lead (as with Qaddafi in Libya). Notwithstanding several missteps, he has generally managed well the complex challenges of the Arab awakenings, striving to strike the right balance between U.S. values and interests.
The authors see Obama's foreign policy to date as a triumph of discipline and realism over ideology. He has been neither the transformative beacon his devotees have wanted, nor the weak apologist for America that his critics allege. They conclude that his grand strategy for promoting American interests in a tumultuous world may only now be emerging, and may yet be curtailed by conflict with Iran. Most of all, they argue that he or his successor will have to embrace U.S. economic renewal as the core foreign policy and national security challenge of the future.
Jeffery Jenkins and Charles Stewart show how the speakership began as a relatively weak office, and how votes for Speaker prior to the Civil War often favored regional interests over party loyalty. While struggle, contention, and deadlock over House organization were common in the antebellum era, such instability vanished with the outbreak of war, as the majority party became an "organizational cartel" capable of controlling with certainty the selection of the Speaker and other key House officers. This organizational cartel has survived Gilded Age partisan strife, Progressive Era challenge, and conservative coalition politics to guide speakership elections through the present day. Fighting for the Speakership reveals how struggles over House organization prior to the Civil War were among the most consequential turning points in American political history.
Fishman reviews practical aspects of the presidency from the perspective of the history of Western political philosophy. While there has been much talk about the need for research that builds a bridge between political theory and empirical observations, Fishman is among the few to fulfill that interdisciplinary goal. This book is a provocative analysis for scholars, students, and other researchers dealing with the American presidency and political philosophy.
Unearthing new archival evidence, Daniel Galvin reveals that Republican presidents responded to their party's minority status by building its capacities to mobilize voters, recruit candidates, train activists, provide campaign services, and raise funds. From Eisenhower's "Modern Republicanism" to Richard Nixon's "New Majority" to George W. Bush's hopes for a partisan realignment, Republican presidents saw party building as a means of forging a new political majority in their image. Though they usually met with little success, their efforts made important contributions to the GOP's cumulative organizational development. Democratic presidents, in contrast, were primarily interested in exploiting the majority they inherited, not in building a new one. Until their majority disappeared during Bill Clinton's presidency, Democratic presidents eschewed party building and expressed indifference to the long-term effects of their actions.
Bringing these dynamics into sharp relief, Presidential Party Building offers profound new insights into presidential behavior, party organizational change, and modern American political development.
- The Declaration and equality
- Political ambition
- Race and slavery
- His democratic political leadership
- Executive power
- Religion and politics
- The Union and the role of the state
The book's thirty-three contributors include such respected Lincoln scholars and political commentators as Harry V. Jaffa, Stephen B. Oates, Mark E. Neely, Richard C. Current, Herman Belz, and Frank J. Williams.
With an introduction by Kenneth L. Deutsch and Joseph R. Fornieri, Lincoln's American Dream will be of enduring interest to scholars, students, teachers, and Lincoln aficionados alike and will attract interest in the fields of American history, leadership, religion and culture, American studies, and African-American studies.
In this incisive book, George Edwards shows how we can ask a few fundamental questions about the context of a presidency—the president's strategic position or opportunity structure—and use the answers to predict a president's success in winning support for his initiatives. If presidential success is largely determined by a president's strategic position, what role does persuasion play? Almost every president finds that a significant segment of the public and his fellow partisans in Congress are predisposed to follow his lead. Others may support the White House out of self-interest. Edwards explores the possibilities of the president exploiting such support, providing a more realistic view of the potential of presidential persuasion.
Written by a leading presidential scholar, Predicting the Presidency sheds new light on the limitations and opportunities of presidential leadership.
The roots of Roosevelt's plan for the party ran back to his experiences with New York politics in the 1920s. It was here, Savage argues, that Roosevelt first began to perceive that a pluralistic voting base and a liberal philosophy offered the best way for Democrats to contend with the established Republican organization. With the collapse of the economy in 1929 and the discrediting of Republican fiscal policy, Roosevelt was ready to carry his views to the national scene when elected president in 1932.
Through his analysis of the New Deal, Savage shows how Roosevelt made use of these programs to develop a policy agenda for the Democratic party, to establish a liberal ideology, and, most important, to create a coalition of interest groups and voting blocs that would continue to sustain the party long after his death. A significant aspect of Roosevelt's leadership was his reform of the Democratic National Committee, which was designed to make the party's organization more open and participatory in setting electoral platforms and in raising financial support.
Savage's exploration of Roosevelt's party leadership offers a new perspective on the New Deal era and on one of America's great presidents that will be valuable for historians and political scientists alike.
This book, a new approach to the study of the personal presidency, links the characteristics of six modern American presidents—their personalities and their prior policy-making experience—to their leadership styles, advisory arrangements, and decision making in the White House. Thomas Preston uses M. G. Hermann's Personality Assessment-at-a-Distance (PAD) profiling technique, as well as exhaustive archival research and interviews with former advisors, to develop a leadership style typology. He then compares his model's expectations against the actual policy record of six past presidents, using foreign policy episodes: Korea (1950) for Truman, Dien Bien Phu (1954) for Eisenhower, Cuba (1962) for Kennedy, Vietnam (1967-68) for Johnson, the Gulf War (1990-91) for Bush, and North Korea/Haiti/Bosnia (1994-95) for Clinton.
In this fascinating narrative, presidential historian Mark Updegrove looks at eight U.S. presidents who inherited unprecedented crises immediately upon assuming the reigns of power. George Washington led a fragile and fledgling nation while defining the very role of the presidency. When Thomas Jefferson entered the White House, he faced a nation bitterly divided by a two-party schism far more severe than anything encountered today. John Tyler stepped into the office of the presidency during the constitutional crisis left by the first death of a sitting president. Abraham Lincoln inherited a divided nation on the brink of war. Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to quell America's fears during the depths of the Great Depression. His successor, Harry S. Truman, was sworn in as commander in chief at the close of World War II, and John F. Kennedy stepped into the increasingly heated atmosphere of the cold war. In the wake of Watergate, the first unelected president, Gerald R. Ford, aimed to end America's "long national nightmare."
As the forty-fourth president takes office, Updegrove presents a timely look at these chief executives and the challenges they faced. In examining the ways in which presidents have addressed crises, Baptism by Fire illustrates the importance of character in leadership—and in the resilience of America itself.
The essays are organized into two broad sections: The first examines FDR's impact on the creation and development of the administrative presidency and the legacy of the New Deal; the second looks at FDR's legacy to presidential leadership and the exercise of presidential powers. An important volume for scholars and other researchers of the FDR era and the modern American presidency.
However, this paradigm of a rational Anglo-Saxon male public in opposition to irrational mobs--traditionally considered to be composed of women, children, "savages"--was challenged by the reality of southern lynch mobs made up of white Anglo-Saxons, people who used mob violence as an instrument of subjugation over an allegedly inferior race. After World War I, when the topic of eugenics and immigration restrictions ignited the debate of exclusion/inclusion regarding U.S. citizenship, Franz Boas's work provided a significant counterbalance to the biased language of race. Furthermore, the very concept of democracy was questioned from many points of view.
During the Depression years, social scientists such as John Dewey critically analyzed the democratic system in comparison to European dictatorships. The debate then acquired an international dimension. In the "ideological rearmament of America" on the eve of World War II, social scientists criticized Nazi racism but at the same time stressed how racism was also deeply rooted in America. This is a fresh and provocative look at the parallels between the emergence of America as a world power and the maturing of the new discipline of social science.
Woodrow Wilson is perceived as the epitome of the modern idealist who took the United States into World War I to make the world safe for democracy; however, this book will show that this view of Wilson is fraught with more than the usual distortions. With the end of the Cold War and the publication of the full body of Wilson's papers, it is now possible to examine Wilson in a new and more complete light. The tensions between Wilson's private ambitions and his public role refute the main stereotype of him as an idealist.
Edwards considers three extraordinary presidents--Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan--and shows that despite their considerable rhetorical skills, the public was unresponsive to their appeals for support. To achieve change, these leaders capitalized on existing public opinion. Edwards then explores the prospects for other presidents to do the same to advance their policies. Turning to Congress, he focuses first on the productive legislative periods of FDR, Lyndon Johnson, and Reagan, and finds that these presidents recognized especially favorable conditions for passing their agendas and effectively exploited these circumstances while they lasted. Edwards looks at presidents governing in less auspicious circumstances, and reveals that whatever successes these presidents enjoyed also resulted from the interplay of conditions and the presidents' skills at understanding and exploiting them.
The Strategic President revises the common assumptions of presidential scholarship and presents significant lessons for presidents' basic strategies of governance.
Instead of a declaration of war, presidents have justified their war-making powers by citing "commitments," private and public, made by former presidents. Many of these commitments have been honored, but some betrayed. Surprisingly, given the tight U.S.-Israeli relationship, Israeli leaders feel that at times they have been betrayed by American presidents. Is it time for a negotiated defense treaty between the United States and Israel as a way of substituting for a string of secret presidential commitments?
From Israel to Vietnam, presidential commitments have proven to be tricky and dangerous. For example, one president after another committed the United States to the defense of South Vietnam, often without explanation. Over the years, these commitments mushroomed into national policy, leading to a war costing 58,000 American lives. Few in Congress or the media chose to question the war's provenance or legitimacy, until it was too late. No president saw the need for a declaration of war, considering one to be old-fashioned.
The word of a president can morph into a national commitment. It can become the functional equivalent of a declaration of war. Therefore, whenever a president "commits"the United States to a policy or course of action with, or increasingly without, congressional approval, watch out—the White House may be setting the nation on a road toward war.
The Road to War was a 2013 Foreword Reviews honorable mention in the subject of War & Military.