The American Presidency: A Very Short Introductionby Charles O. Jones
Pub. Date: 06/03/2007
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The American founding fathers were dedicated to the project of creating a government both functional and incapable of devolving into tyranny. To do this, they intentionally decentralized decision making among the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. They believed this separation of powers would force compromise and achieve their goal of "separating to
The American founding fathers were dedicated to the project of creating a government both functional and incapable of devolving into tyranny. To do this, they intentionally decentralized decision making among the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches. They believed this separation of powers would force compromise and achieve their goal of "separating to unify." In the second edition of this Very Short Introduction, Charles O. Jones delves into the constitutional roots of the American presidency to show how presidents faced the challenges of governing within a system of separation of powers.
This updated edition of The American Presidency reviews crucial themes, including democratization of presidential elections, transitioning into and organizing a presidency, challenges in leading the permanent government, making law and policy, and reforming and changing the institution. It also introduces new case studies from the Obama administration, providing compelling insights into contemporary critical issues such as military power, the role of the First Lady, and the new trends in electoral campaigning-including the stunning advances in mass media and campaign technology.
Jones lucidly shows that American presidents are not, and simply cannot be, as powerful as most Americans believe them to be. Accordingly, he stresses the necessity to acknowledge the president's political status and style within the constitutional structure: the president is not the presidency, and the presidency is not the government.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xiii
List of Tables xiv
Inventing the Presidency 1
The Presidency Finds Its Place 24
Electing Presidents (and Other Ways To Occupy the Oval Office) 43
Making and Remaking a Presidency 69
Connecting to and Leading the Government 87
Presidents at Work: Making Law and Doing Policy 109
Reform, Change, and Prospects for the Future 140
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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No aspect of American politics, and certainly no other political office, attracts as much public attention as the office of the President. And yet, at the very founding of the American Republic, this office was nonexistent, and only came about after the realization that the much looser federation was not effective enough as a union. It took two hundred years plus for the presidency to evolve into what it is today: the most powerful political position in the World. The book is particularly good at explaining the nitty-gritty of the actual governing. It goes in some detail to explain all the offices and departments that report directly to the president, and explains their role with ample historical examples. This potentially very dry subject is handled adroitly and made interesting even for readers who may not have much interest in this area. The book is a good companion to the other recent very short introduction book on American politics, American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions). The chapters in this book, and the topics covered, are: 1. Inventing the Presidency 2. The Presidency Finds Its Place 3. Electing Presidents (and Other Ways to Occupy the Oval Office) 4. Making and Remaking a Presidency 5. Connecting to and Leading the Government 6. Presidents at Work: Making Law and Doing Policy 7. Reform, Change and Prospects for the Future