Rivalry and Reform: Presidents, Social Movements, and the Transformation of American Politics

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

Few relationships have proved more pivotal in changing the course of American politics than those between presidents and social movements. For all their differences, both presidents and social movements are driven by a desire to recast the political system, often pursuing rival agendas that set them on a collision course. Even when their interests converge, these two actors often compete to control the timing and conditions of political change. During rare historical moments, however, presidents and social movements forged partnerships that profoundly recast American politics.

Rivalry and Reform explores the relationship between presidents and social movements throughout history and into the present day, revealing the patterns that emerge from the epic battles and uneasy partnerships that have profoundly shaped reform. Through a series of case studies, including Abraham Lincoln and abolitionism, Lyndon Johnson and the civil rights movement, and Ronald Reagan and the religious right, Sidney M. Milkis and Daniel J. Tichenor argue persuasively that major political change usually reflects neither a top-down nor bottom-up strategy but a crucial interplay between the two. Savvy leaders, the authors show, use social movements to support their policy goals. At the same time, the most successful social movements target the president as either a source of powerful support or the center of opposition. The book concludes with a consideration of Barack Obama’s approach to contemporary social movements such as Black Lives Matter, United We Dream, and Marriage Equality.
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About the author

Sidney M. Milkis is the White Burkett Miller Professor in the Department of Politics and Faculty Associate of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia. Daniel J. Tichenor is the Philip H. Knight Chair of Political Science and director of the Program on Democratic Engagement and Governance of the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Jan 25, 2019
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780226569420
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
Political Science / American Government / Executive Branch
Political Science / General
Political Science / Political Process / Political Advocacy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“What did the president know and when did he know it?” takes on a whole new meaning in Presidents and Political Thought. Though political philosophy is sometimes considered to be dry and abstract, many of our presidents have found usable ideas embedded within it. In this first comparative study of presidents and political theory, David Siemers examines how some of them have applied this specialized knowledge to their job. Presidents and Political Thought explores the connection between philosophy and practical politics through a study of six American chief executives: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton. Writing at the intersection of politics, history, and philosophy, Siemers combines his extensive understanding of political philosophy with careful research and analysis of individual presidents to produce provocative and astute judgments about how their understanding of political theory affected their performance. Each chapter examines a particular president’s attitude about political theory, the political theorists he read and admired, and the ways in which he applied theory in his activities as president. Viewing presidents through the lens of political theory enables Siemers to conclude that Madison and Adams have been significantly underrated. Wilson is thought to have abandoned his theoretical viewpoint as president, but actually, he just possessed an unorthodox interpretation of his favorite thinker, Edmund Burke. Often thought to be so pragmatic or opportunistic that they lacked any convictions, FDR and Clinton gained their orientations to politics from political theory. These and other insights suggest that we cannot understand these presidencies without being more aware of the ideas the presidents brought to the office. Siemers’s study takes on special relevance as the United States experiences regime change and a possible party realignment because, as he notes, Barack Obama has read and learned from political theory, too. Avoiding much of the jargon that often accompanies political theory, this book demonstrates the relevance of political theory in the real world, chronicling both the challenges and potentially rich payoffs when presidents conceive of politics not just as a way to reward friends and punish enemies, but as a means to realize principles.
Since he first began writing in the 1950s, Dr. Paul F. Boller Jr. has had a passion for sharing the humorous, intriguing, and little-known or widely misunderstood aspects of the American presidency. Boller has authored many beloved books on American presidents, the first ladies, presidential anecdotes, quotes, campaign strategies, and common myths.

This wide variety of topics has been collected for the first time in Essays on the Presidents, along with new essays and forewords. Boller's prose, distinct and inviting, causes the reader to see what is often overlooked in the history of American presidents: their humanity. Boller has searched for those patriotic narratives we have all heard at some point in our lives—whether from our schoolteachers, coworkers, or various trivia books—and corrects the misconceptions many Americans deem as truth in a lighthearted and truly characteristic voice. From Washington's relationship with the Jews to the electioneering and stump-speaking associated with American presidential campaigns, readers will not only see the significant changes in the presidential office since its conception, but also Boller’s lifetime of research and his expertise in the field of American history. Personality—of the most interesting presidents and of Boller himself—is an important theme throughout this collection.

The in-depth retelling of treasured American stories will captivate readers and keep them exploring for more nuggets of truth. Boller tracks the relationship between Americans and the presidents, uncovering the intricate nature of presidential responsibilities and the remarkable men whose leadership shaped the office into what it is today. Celebrating the commanders-in-chief and the career of the nationally-recognized American historian and TCU Emeritus Professor of political science, Essays on the Presidents serves as a unique perspective on American history that fans of both Boller and the presidents will enjoy.
Immigration is perhaps the most enduring and elemental leitmotif of America. This book is the most powerful study to date of the politics and policies it has inspired, from the founders' earliest efforts to shape American identity to today's revealing struggles over Third World immigration, noncitizen rights, and illegal aliens. Weaving a robust new theoretical approach into a sweeping history, Daniel Tichenor ties together previous studies' idiosyncratic explanations for particular, pivotal twists and turns of immigration policy. He tells the story of lively political battles between immigration defenders and doubters over time and of the transformative policy regimes they built.

Tichenor takes us from vibrant nineteenth-century politics that propelled expansive European admissions and Chinese exclusion to the draconian restrictions that had taken hold by the 1920s, including racist quotas that later hampered the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust. American global leadership and interest group politics in the decades after World War II, he argues, led to a surprising expansion of immigration opportunities. In the 1990s, a surge of restrictionist fervor spurred the political mobilization of recent immigrants. Richly documented, this pathbreaking work shows that a small number of interlocking temporal processes, not least changing institutional opportunities and constraints, underlie the turning tides of immigration sentiments and policy regimes. Complementing a dynamic narrative with a host of helpful tables and timelines, Dividing Lines is the definitive treatment of a phenomenon that has profoundly shaped the character of American nationhood.

Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners, provide the definitive insider narrative of Donald Trump's unique presidency with shocking new reporting and insight into its implications.

“I alone can fix it.” So went Donald J. Trump’s march to the presidency on July 21, 2016, when he accepted the Republican presidential nomination in Cleveland, promising to restore what he described as a fallen nation. Yet over the subsequent years, as he has undertaken the actual work of the commander in chief, it has been hard to see beyond the daily chaos of scandal, investigation, and constant bluster. It would be all too easy to mistake Trump’s first term for one of pure and uninhibited chaos, but there were patterns to his behavior and that of his associates. The universal value of the Trump administration is loyalty - not to the country, but to the president himself - and Trump’s North Star has been the perpetuation of his own power, even when it meant imperiling our shaky and mistrustful democracy.

Leonnig and Rucker, with deep and unmatched sources throughout Washington, D.C., tell of rages and frenzies but also moments of courage and perseverance. Relying on scores of exclusive new interviews with some of the most senior members of the Trump administration and other firsthand witnesses, the authors reveal the forty-fifth president up close, taking readers inside Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as well as the president’s own haphazard but ultimately successful legal defense. Here for the first time certain officials who have felt honor-bound not to publicly criticize a sitting president or to divulge what they witnessed in a position of trust tell the truth for the benefit of history.

This peerless and gripping narrative reveals President Trump at his most unvarnished and exposes how decision making in his administration has been driven by a reflexive logic of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement - but a logic nonetheless. This is the story of how an unparalleled president has scrambled to survive and tested the strength of America’s democracy and its common heart as a nation.
For scholars who have studied it, as for many Americans who experienced it firsthand, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal has long represented a turning point in the modern history of the United States. More than simply a bold program of political change, it marked a critical departure in the governing principles, institutional arrangements, and policies that shape American life.

In this collection of original essays, a distinguished group of political scientists and historians reevaluate the legacy of the New Deal, showing how Roosevelt and his allies forged an enduring public philosophy -- modern liberalism -- that redefined the relationship of government and governed. Adapting broad principles from the past to the unprecedented circumstances of a worldwide depression, the New Dealers shifted American politics away from its traditional emphasis on self-reliance, private property, and decentralized power. In its place they advocated a new "economic constitutional order" -- in effect, a new social contract -- in which the government guaranteed protection to individuals against the uncertainties of the marketplace.

Although the contributors differ in their assessment of the successes and failures of New Deal liberalism, all agree that its implications for American political life were profound and far-reaching -- in the realm of foreign as well as domestic affairs, for the theory as well as the practice of government. Taken together, the essays offer a fresh look at the many ways the New Deal, in Harry Hopkins's phrase, "made America over."

In addition to the editors, contributors are William E. Leuchtenburg, Marc Landy, Nelson Lichtenstein, Donald R. Brand, Jyette Klausen, Suzanne Mettler, Ronald Story, Seyom Brown, and Morton Keller.

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