Demagogues in American Politics

Demagogues in American Politics

by Charles U. Zug
Demagogues in American Politics
Demagogues in American Politics

Demagogues in American Politics

by Charles U. Zug


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While demagoguery is traditionally regarded as destabilizing and dangerous, this book shows how it can also be used to advance the common good.

Most of us think that demagoguery is, by definition, bad. Relatedly, scholars almost invariably treat demagoguery as a divisive practice that appeals to what is worst in an audience at the expense of what is best for the public good. In Demagogues in American Politics, Charles U. Zug offers a historical analysis of the role of demagoguery in the American political system. Challenging the conventional wisdom, he argues that demagoguery is not an inherently bad form of leadership. Whereas classical thinkers had believed that demagoguery was always a threat to political order, the most sophisticated founders of the American Constitution-inspired by Enlightenment political philosophy-recognized that demagoguery, though dangerous, could be recruited by the Constitution to improve the political system. Through case studies drawn from the presidency, Congress, and the Supreme Court, this book argues that demagogic leadership can be deployed by public officials to advance the aspirations of constitutional democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780197651957
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/18/2022
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 9.34(w) x 6.17(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

Charles U. Zug is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Previously he taught at Williams College. Before earning his Ph.D. in Government at The University of Texas at Austin, he graduated from St. John's College in Annapolis. He was born and raised in Washington State.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Demagogues in American Politics
Chapter 2. Demagoguery in the Founding Perspective
Chapter 3. Shays' Rebellion and the Collapse of Discourse
Chapter 4. Constitutional Design
Chapter 5. Demagoguery in Office
Chapter 6. Demagogues on the Supreme Court
Chapter 7. Demagogues in the Congress
Chapter 8. Demagogues in the Presidency
Chapter 9. An American Pathology
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