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The Presidency and the Political System by…
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The Presidency and the Political System

by Michael Nelson

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This is a collection of twenty original essays on the United States presidency by leading presidential scholars published in 1995. It was a required text for a political science course I took in college on the American Presidency. It's divided into six parts: Approaches to the Presidency; Elements of Presidential Power, Presidential Selection, Presidents and Politics; Presidents and Government; and Presidents and Policy Making. Lots of lines and passages I highlighted. Here's one from Nelson's article "Evaluating the Presidency:"

Clearly, scholars' normative preference for presidential strength in the 1950s and 1960s had more to it then their value judgements about the proper distribution of power among the branches of government. It was rooted in the liberal policy preferences as well. Democratic historians outnumbered Republicans by two to one in the Schlesinger samples, for example. One of the reasons they found the strength of the presidents they labeled "great" so appealing was that, as Schlesinger put it, each of these presidents "took the side of liberalism and the general welfare against the status quo." William Andrews observed a similar partisan and ideological bias among his fellow political scientists, many of whom had worked in liberal Democratic administrations. When it comes to presidents, he concluded, "The constitutional theory follows the party flag."

I liked that the article--by the editor no less--owned up to biases affecting the analysis. I found this anthology to be pretty balanced and fair--and insightful. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 14, 2013 |
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Relates the origins and development of the office and system together with individual assessments of the Presidents and their administrations. Over 240 historic photographs. Quarto.

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