The Scarlet Thread of Scandal: Morality and the American Presidency

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Free sample

Never before have Americans been more concerned about the moral dimensions of presidential leadership. What role should morality play in the decision making of our most powerful elected official? What did the Founders think about the significance of morality in this cherished political institution? Does the private behavior of a president influence his or her ability to lead our nation? In The Scarlet Thread of Scandal, eminent scholar Charles W. Dunn turns a penetrating eye to the history of presidential scandals to answer these and other pressing questions. Scandals are surely nothing new in the White House_ever since the creation of the republic, presidents have made morally questionable judgments, whether constitutional, ethical, legal, or personal. In eloquent and judicious prose, Dunn chronicles the numerous controversies in presidential history, paying particular attention to their impact on the American people and public memory. The Scarlet Thread of Scandal will make all Americans think differently about past, present, and future presidents.
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About the author

Charles W. Dunn is the author of numerous books on American politics and history. He is dean of the School of Arts and Letters at Grove City College and lives in Grove City, Pennsylvania.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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Published on
Dec 22, 1999
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780742508477
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Political scandals have become a pervasive feature of many societies today. From Profumo to the cash-for-questions scandal, from Watergate to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, scandals have come to play a central role in politics and in the shaping of public debate. What are the characteristics of political scandals and why have they come to assume such prominence today? What are the social and political consequences of the preoccupation with political scandal in the public domain?

In this major new book Thompson develops a systematic and wide-ranging analysis of the phenomenon of political scandal. He shows that the rise of political scandal is linked to the changes brought about by the development of communication media, which have transformed the nature of visibility and altered the relations between public and private life. He analyses the characteristics of scandals as mediated events and he explains why mediated scandals in the political field have become increasingly prevalent in recent years.

Distinguishing between three basic types of political scandal, Thompson reconstructs the development of sex scandals, financial scandals and what he calls 'power scandals' in Britain and the United States, showing how scandals unfold and how they form part of distinctive political cultures of scandal. In the final chapter, Thompson develops an original theoretical account of political scandal and its consequences which highlights the connections between scandal, reputation and trust.


This book is a path-breaking analysis of a troubling phenomenon which has become a central feature of public life in our societies today. It will be of great interest to students of sociology, politics, and media and cultural studies. It will also appeal to a wider readership interested in social and political issues.

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