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The Political Process: Executive Bureau-Legislantive Committee Relations

By J. Leiper Freeman | Go to book overview

Editor's Foreword

The relationships and interactions of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government obviously constitute a crucial sector in the total policy-making process in the United States. For many years political scientists have been fascinated by and greatly concerned with the general problem of the necessary collaboration of President and Congress. No citizen who has had one eye open during the last decade could have escaped the implications of the separation of powers and the impact of political parties on co-ordinate policy-making at the national level. Therefore, though the subject dealt with by this thoughtful Short Study is a familiar one, there is always more to be said.

From Woodrow Wilson's classic Congressional Government ( 1885) to the prize-winning The Legislative Struggle ( 1953) by Bertram Gross, a rich and imposing literature has developed. The names of Arthur F. Bentley, Robert Luce, George Galloway, Pendleton Herring, Roland Young, James M. Burns, David Truman, Robert Dahl, and Stephen K. Bailey are well known and their cumulative contributions have provided the basis of an increasingly more adequate understanding of the American political process.

Each of the major works by these scholars has a hallmark, a set of concepts or assumptions which at once exemplify and implement its approach to the description and explanation of executive-legislative relations. Each conceives the target of analysis in a somewhat different way, each emphasizes somewhat different aspects of a total process, though all share certain data and viewpoints. Professor Freeman does not, then, come to an uncharted area of political analysis. His study comes in a period when, generally speaking, the full-length monographs are more searching, more comprehensive, and more systematic. Furthermore, contemporary approaches are more "realistic" in their recognition and assessment of informal political and organizational factors, their emphasis on the role of private groups, their definition of the governmental process as essentially struggle, and, consequently, their assignment of a significant place to power -- its nature, forms and distribution.

The author is well aware of the central features of existing approaches -- what they have included and excluded and in what terms they have wholly

-iii-

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