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May 12 , 2011

The Challenge of the American Presidency

Washington to Obama


According to Niccolo Machiavelli, leaders must always be prepared for unexpected change, sometimes rapidly and in violent and dramatic forms, in order to retain control of their fate. Philip Abbott applies this insight to U. S. presidents. He identifies six major periods of change in the political economic and international sphere and examines how presidents from Washington to Obama responded to new challenges. How presidents are elected, how they are expected to govern, how the economy functions, and what place the nation holds in the international system create general rules that presidents must acknowledge until an alteration in one or more of these patterns changes. The author maintains that, in the American presidency, the difference between success and failure rests with how effectively a president reacts to the changes within these systems during his term in office. Organized chronologically, this text focuses on high risk decisions presidents have made from George Washington's issuance of the Neutrality Proclamation to Obama's promotion of health care legislation. This edition includes new material on the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama as well as updated bibliographical entries. The Challenge of the American Presidency will be of interest to those who teach courses in political science, history and American Studies as well as to the those who are interested in assessing and comparing U. S. presidents.
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