The Presidency and Political Science: Two Hundred Years of Constitutional Debate / Edition 1

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This is the first book to survey the intellectual history of presidential scholarship from the Founding to the late 20th century. Reviewing the work of over sixty thinkers, including Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Woodrow Wilson, Richard Neustadt, James McGregor Burns, and Theodore Lowi, the authors identify six central questions, the answers to which can help form a theory of presidential power:
  • Does presidential power derive from the prerogatives of office or from incumbency?
  • Does presidential influence depend upon force of personality, rhetorical leadership, or partisanship?
  • Does presidential leadership depend upon historical context or is regime-building manifested through political, institutional, and constitutional developments?
  • Does presidential leadership vary between domestic and foreign affairs?
  • Does the president actively or passively engage the legislative process and promote a policy agenda?
  • Does the organization of the executive branch service presidential leadership?

Arguing that three paradigms have dominated the history of presidential scholarship Hamiltonianism, Jeffersonianism, and Progressivism the authors conclude that today's understanding of the presidency is characterized by a "new realism and old idealism." This book will appeal to students and scholars as well as to general readers with an interest in the American presidency.

About the author:
Raymond Tatalovich is a professor and Thomas S. Engeman is an associate professor in the political science department at Loyola University Chicago.

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Editorial Reviews


Innovative and informative... A critical acquisition for all presidential scholars and college libraries.

Perspectives on Political Science

A thorough investigation of the breadth of presidential scholarship, and the [authors] place that thought in a useful framework that asks pertinent questions to be answered by the scholars of various eras and schools of thought... Graduate students beginning a study of the presidency will find this tome especially useful as an introduction to the issues facing presidential scholarship.

— Jon Schaff

Fred I. Greenstein
This fluent and absorbing work is a graduate student's dream. It distills the assertions about the American presidency of two centuries of political observers, and places them in a meaningful context. One only hopes that graduate students use this fine book as a prelude and not a substitute to reading the works the authors elucidate.
Princeton University
Richard M. Pious
This work will be indispensable as a source of insight for anyone interested in the development of American thinking about the presidency's political resources and constitutional powers. It provides a balanced treatment of all the major thinkers, and introduces the reader to the lesser known and even obscure writers who have made contributions from which we can learn. The endnotes themselves provide a great education.
Barnard College
Theodore J. Lowi
This is an inspired piece of work: a genuine intellectual history of the presidency. Why didn't somebody think of it before? Tatalovich and Engeman have produced an unprecedented synthesis of theories about the American presidency. The book puts the views of key presidents together with contemporaneous scholarly assessments in a running discourse on relationships between constitutionally delegated and implied powers, structural factors, personality, and the plebiscite in the shaping of each president and the presidency as an institution. Best of all, it gives political science its proper place in the history of presidential history.
Cornell University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801873225
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Series: Interpreting American Politics
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Raymond Tatalovich is a professor and Thomas S. Engeman is an associate professor in the political science department at Loyola University Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Series Editor's Foreword
Introduction: Scope of Study 1
Ch. 1 Constitutional Mythology: The Burns-Kendall Debate 12
Ch. 2 Original Intent and the Presidency: Hamilton versus Jefferson 25
Ch. 3 Jeffersonianism Sustained: Nineteenth-Century Thinkers 43
Ch. 4 Indictment of Constitutionalism: The Progressive Reconstruction 67
Ch. 5 Critics of Progressivism: The Early Constitutionalists 89
Ch. 6 Sowing the Seeds of Progressivism: Liberalism and the Rise of the Heroic Presidency 107
Ch. 7 Anti-Aggrandizement Scholars: Attacking Liberal Government and Liberal Presidents 132
Ch. 8 From Imperialism to Impotency: Liberal Malaise with Liberal Presidents 147
Ch. 9 Return to Hamiltonianism: Ronald Reagan and the Movement Conservatives 178
Ch. 10 The Emerging Scholarly Consensus: A New Realism, an Old Idealism 193
Conclusion: Three Presidential Paradigms: Hamiltonianism, Jeffersonianism, Progressivism 214
Notes 233
Index 261
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