The purpose of this book is to help fill a void in the literature on American government by undertaking a political analysis of the President's Cabinet. Since the network of relationships which affects the Cabinet include the President, the executive branch of the government, the Congress, political parties, and pressure groups, a study of the Cabinet becomes in its broadest sense a study of American politics in general. The treatment is analytical, emphasizing functions and relationships rather than historical development. Most of the illustrative material is drawn from the Cabinet experiences in a concrete historical period -- generally, the 20th century, but specifically in the period from Wilson to the present. The Cabinet is examined on three analytical levels: (1) the Cabinet as a distinct institution -- its origins, its growth, its personnel, the Cabinet meeting, its strengths and weaknesses as an advisory, decision-making and coordinating body; (2) the close President-Cabinet relationship -- the nature, dimensions, and types of presidential influence, the ways in which various Presidents have selected and used their Cabinets, the limitations under which Presidents function in their Cabinet relations; (3) the patterns of influence between the President-Cabinet nexus on the one hand, and the larger political system on the other -- the interplay of factors which constitutes the process of Cabinet appointment, the influences which govern the behavior (in Cabinet meeting and out) of individual Cabinet members, the impact of clientele, partisan, legislative and departmental influences on the President-Cabinet member relationship.
Since no full length political analysis of the Cabinet has ever been written, this book is designed to provide some evidence and some understanding which will inform future observations