The Decline and Fall of the American Republic

The Decline and Fall of the American Republic

by Bruce Ackerman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674057031

ISBN-13: 9780674057036

Pub. Date: 10/01/2010

Publisher: Harvard University Press

Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism and lawlessness. Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the War on Terror are only symptoms of deeper pathologies. ­Ackerman points to a series of developments that have previously been treated

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Overview

Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism and lawlessness. Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the War on Terror are only symptoms of deeper pathologies. ­Ackerman points to a series of developments that have previously been treated independently of one another—from the rise of presidential primaries, to the role of pollsters and media gurus, to the centralization of power in White House czars, to the politicization of the military, to the manipulation of constitutional doctrine to justify presidential power-grabs. He shows how these different transformations can interact to generate profound constitutional crises in the twenty-first century—and then proposes a series of reforms that will minimize, if not eliminate, the risks going forward.

The book aims to begin a new constitutional debate. Americans should not suppose that Barack Obama’s centrism and constitutionalism will typify the presidencies of the twenty-first century. We should seize the present opportunity to confront deeper institutional pathologies before it is too late.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674057036
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Series:
Tanner Lectures on Human Values Series, #12
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
280
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Triumphalism 1

Part 1 The Most Dangerous Branch

1 An Extremist Presidency 15

2 The Politicized Military 43

Part 2 The Question of Legitimacy

3 Three Crises 67

4 Executive Constitutionalism 87

Part 3 Reconstruction

5 Enlightening Politics 119

6 Restoring the Rule of Law 141

Conclusion: Living Dangerously 181

Notes 189

Acknowledgments 259

Index 261

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