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Thinking about the Presidency: The Primacy of Power
     

Thinking about the Presidency: The Primacy of Power

by William G. Howell
 

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All American presidents, past and present, have cared deeply about power—acquiring, protecting, and expanding it. While individual presidents obviously have other concerns, such as shaping policy or building a legacy, the primacy of power considerations—exacerbated by expectations of the presidency and the inadequacy of explicit powers in the Constitution

Overview

All American presidents, past and present, have cared deeply about power—acquiring, protecting, and expanding it. While individual presidents obviously have other concerns, such as shaping policy or building a legacy, the primacy of power considerations—exacerbated by expectations of the presidency and the inadequacy of explicit powers in the Constitution—sets presidents apart from other political actors. Thinking about the Presidency explores presidents' preoccupation with power. Distinguished presidential scholar William Howell looks at the key aspects of executive power—political and constitutional origins, philosophical underpinnings, manifestations in contemporary political life, implications for political reform, and looming influences over the standards to which we hold those individuals elected to America's highest office.

Howell shows that an appetite for power may not inform the original motivations of those who seek to become president. Rather, this need is built into the office of the presidency itself—and quickly takes hold of whoever bears the title of Chief Executive. In order to understand the modern presidency, and the degrees to which a president succeeds or fails, the acquisition, protection, and expansion of power in a president's political life must be recognized—in policy tools and legislative strategies, the posture taken before the American public, and the disregard shown to those who would counsel modesty and deference within the White House.

Thinking about the Presidency assesses how the search for and defense of presidential powers informs nearly every decision made by the leader of the nation.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Thinking about the Presidency is a relatively brief book which would do well in any survey-level course on executive leadership or the structure of American government. . . . By looking at the presidency through the lens of expanding presidential power, Howell and Brent left this reader asking for more: such as why government works this way or why Congress reacts as it does. That it leaves open those questions indicates that this book is a valuable addition to any graduate-level course."—Seth Offenbach, Journal of American Studies

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691155340
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/07/2013
Pages:
200
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


William G. Howell is the Sydney Stein Professor in American Politics at the University of Chicago, where he holds appointments in the Harris School of Public Policy, the Department of Political Science, and the College. His books include While Dangers Gather and Power without Persuasion (both Princeton), as well as The Wartime President. David Milton Brent is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science at Yale University.

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