Sports and the American Presidency: From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump

Sports and the American Presidency: From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump

Sports and the American Presidency: From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump

Sports and the American Presidency: From Theodore Roosevelt to Donald Trump


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Donald Trump’s love of golf adds him to a long line of presidents who have a close association with sports. Indeed, golf might just be the leading presidential pastime, ever since William Howard Taft was photographed strutting the links against the advice of his predecessor Theodore Roosevelt. And it was Roosevelt, more than any president, who set the standard for linking the nation’s top job to its favourite physical pastimes.
Starting with Roosevelt’s significant role in linking the presidency with fandom, advocacy of, and active participation in sports, this volume traces how occupants of the White House continued to develop these connections in various guises across the following century. Though historians have certainly not ignored such associations, the variety of case studies represented here provides a wider and more multidisciplinary selection of standpoints from which to assess the interactions between sports and the presidency than ever before.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781399507943
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Publication date: 11/29/2022
Series: New Perspectives on the American Presidency
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x (d)

About the Author

Adam Burns is Head of Politics at Brighton College, UK. He is the author of American Imperialism: The Territorial Expansion of the United States, 1783–2013 (Edinburgh UniversityPress, 2017), The United States: Reuniting a Nation, 1865–1920 (Routledge, 2020) and William Howard Taft and the Philippines: A Blueprint for Empire (University of Tennessee Press, 2020). He has also authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century US, including for the journal Sport History Review.

Rivers Gambrell is a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford. She is currently writing a book entitled Pigskin Politics: How Richard Nixon Reinvented the Presidency. She holds a doctorate in History from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Liberal Studies and Certificate in International Development Policy from Duke University, and a BA from Flagler College.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Sporting Presidency - Rivers Gambrell and Adam Burns

Part I: Presidents and Their Sports

1. Theodore Roosevelt: Father of a Sporting Nation - Ryan Swanson

2. Profile in Vigor: John F. Kennedy and the Quest for Athletic Excellence - Hendrik W. Ohnesorge

3. ‘My Second Vocation’: How Richard Nixon Talked Football - Jesse Berrett

4. ‘He’d Like to Be Savior of the National Pastime’: Bill Clinton and the 1994–95 Baseball Strike - Christopher Birkett

Part II: Sports and Their Presidents

5. Fit to Govern? The Presidency, Running and Perceptions of Strength - Elizabeth Rees

6. The Presidential Golf Paradox - Aaron J. Moore

7. From Wilson to Dubya: The Curious Case of Presidents and Rugby - Adam Burns

8. The Sport of Presidents? Horse Racing, Politics and Perception - Michael Hinds and Jonathan Silverman

9. Emissaries of Toughness: How Coaches Teamed with US Presidents to Politicize College Football during the Cold War - Andrew McGregor

Part III: Athletes and the Presidency

10. Brown Derby Bambino: Babe Ruth’s Celebrity Endorsement and the 1928 Presidential Campaign -Robert Chiles

11. Jackie Robinson and His Presidents: Political Endorsements and Civil Rights Advocacy - Dean J. Kotlowski

12. Sport, Merit, and Respectability Politics in the Election of Barack Obama - Michael L. Butterworth and Shawn N. Smith

13. Donald Trump versus "Woke" Athletes: Presidential Sport in the Age of Twitter - Russ Crawford

14. Afterword: The State of Presidential Sport - Heather L. Dichter

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