Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People

Bad for Democracy: How the Presidency Undermines the Power of the People

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by Dana D. Nelson
     
 

"Throughout our history, Americans have been simultaneously inspired and seduced by the American presidency and concerned about the misuse of presidential power - from the time of Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR to Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush - as a grave threat to the United States. In Bad for Democracy, Dana D. Nelson goes beyond blaming particular presidents for

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Overview

"Throughout our history, Americans have been simultaneously inspired and seduced by the American presidency and concerned about the misuse of presidential power - from the time of Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR to Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush - as a grave threat to the United States. In Bad for Democracy, Dana D. Nelson goes beyond blaming particular presidents for jeopardizing the delicate balance of the Constitution to argue that it is the office of the presidency itself that endangers the great American experiment." This urgent book reveals the futility of placing all of our hopes for the future in the American president and encourages citizens to create a politics of deliberation, action, and agency. Arguing for a return of the balance of power - both symbolically and in practice - to all the branches of government, Nelson ultimately calls on Americans to change our own course and imagine a democracy that we, the people, lead together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816656776
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
09/19/2008
Series:
Wicazo SA Review Ser.
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
263
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Dana D. Nelson is a professor of English and American studies at Vanderbilt University, where she teaches classes in U.S. literature and history, and courses that connect activism, volunteering, and citizenship. She has published numerous books and essays on U.S. literature and the history of citizenship and democratic culture. She lives in Nashville and is involved locally with a program that helps incarcerated women develop strong decision-making skills and with an innovative activist group fighting homelessness in the area.

Table of Contents

Introduction The People v. Presidentialism 1

1 How the President Becomes a Superhero 29

2 Voting and the Incredibly Shrinking Citizen 69

3 Presidential War Powers and Politics as War 109

4 Going Corporate with the Unitary Executive 145

Conclusion: Reclaiming Democratic Power for Ourselves 183

Acknowledgments 223

Bibliography 227

Index 239

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