America's Political Dynasties

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Overview

This is the 30th anniversary edition of a book that was hailed on publication in 1966 as “fascinating” by Margaret L. Coit in the Saturday Review and as “masterly” by Henry F. Graff in the New York Times Book Review.

The Constitution could not be more specific: “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States.” Yet, in over two centuries since these words were written, the American people, despite official disapproval, have chosen a political nobility. For generation after generation they have turned for leadership to certain families. They are America’s political dynasties. Now, in the twentieth century, surprisingly, American political life seems to be largely peopled by those who qualify, in Stewart Alsop’s phrase, as “People’s Dukes.” They are all around us—Kennedys, Longs, Tafts, Roosevelts.

Here is the panorama of America’s political dynasties from colonial days to the present in fascinating profiles of sixteen of the leading families. Some, like the Roosevelts, have shown remarkable staying power. Others are all but forgotten, such as the Washburns, a family in which four sons of a bankrupt shopkeeper were elected to Congress from four different states. America’s Political Dynasties investigates the roles of these families in shaping the nation and traces the whole pattern of political inheritance, which has been a little considered but unique and significant feature of American government and diplomacy. And in doing so, it also illuminates the lives and personalities of some two hundred often engaging, usually ambitious, sometimes brilliant, occasionally unscrupulous individuals.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"America's Political Dynasties is a unique and valuable contribution to the study of American political history." —Wisconsin Bookwatch
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560009115
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1997
  • Pages: 742
  • Sales rank: 1,214,286
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Hess is senior fellow emeritus at the Brookings Institution. He worked on the staff of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, as well as an advisor to Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. He is the author of America’s Political Dynasties, Organizing the Presidency and numerous other publications on journalism and politics.

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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Transaction Edition
The Best Butter 1
The Adams Dynasty 11
The Lee Dynasty 49
The Livingston Dynasty 83
The Washburn Dynasty 123
The Muhlenberg Dynasty 145
The Roosevelt Dynasty 167
The Harrison Dynasty 217
The Breckinridge Dynasty 239
The Bayard Dynasty 273
The Taft Dynasty 299
The Frelinghuysen Dynasty 339
The Tucker Dynasty 365
The Stockton Dynasty 393
The Long Dynasty 417
The Lodge Dynasty 445
The Kennedy Dynasty 481
Notes 529
App. A Public Offices Held by Political Dynasties 623
App. B Families With Three Or More Members of Congress 645
App. C Dynastic Members Since 1966 673
Acknowledgments 679
Bibliography 681
Index 712
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