Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

Presidential Frontiers: Underexplored Issues in White House Politics

Synopsis

By exploring important issues that have received little attention before now, this edited collection breaks new ground in our understanding of America's highest office. The volume brings together established scholars and promising young researchers to open new questions about our most important political institution.

Excerpt

The field of presidency studies is a fairly young subdivision of the discipline of political science. Of course, academic interest in the presidency is not new. Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft--both professors at one point in their respective careers--wrote and lectured on the office. James Bryce's magisterial The American Commonwealth also included his famous observations on the chief executive. Later in the twentieth century, Edward S. Corwin wrote an important treatise on the power of the president that served as a standard text for decades. Clinton Rossiter also produced an influential volume--so influential that most students of the office are unaware that it was Rossiter who first described in a systematic way the various roles or "hats" of the president: chief of state, chief executive, party leader, leader of public opinion, and so on.

Nevertheless, the field of presidency studies is a fairly young corner of the discipline. The book that many scholars regard as the beginning of the "modern" era of presidential scholarship--Richard Neustadt Presidential Power-- appeared in 1960. As late as 1979, Hugh Heclo reported to the Ford Foundation that most of the literature on the office was didactic in nature. The Presidency Research Group, an organized section of the American Political Science Association, was founded only in 1981.

The relative youth of presidency studies makes it possible for young scholars to meet those considered to be the "founders" of the field. Indeed, in 1996 a conference on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Presidential Power brought together many young scholars with Richard Neustadt and other senior luminaries in the area.

Despite this youth, presidency studies has become a well-established, active, and multifaceted part of the discipline. Papers, articles, and books on the pres-

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