CONTENTS

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p. xv

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I. “FREEDOM FRIES” & PRESIDENTIAL POWER

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pp. 1-18

As the cherry trees budded around Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2003, war was already in full bloom. The brutal regime of Saddam Hussein, in control of Iraq since 1979, had resisted the efforts of United Nations (UN) weapons inspectors to catalog its violations of that body’s past resolutions and the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War. Every...

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II. THE “FOETUS OF MONARCHY” GROWS UP

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p. 19

Little at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 provoked more debate than the shape and scope of the executive branch. Delegates had to determine how the president would be selected, how long he should serve, whether he should be able to run for of‹ce more than once, how much power he should have—and even whether the president would be...

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III. THE “OLD” IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY

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pp. 57-100

The events of the last chapter described the building blocks of executive unilateralism being put in position; from the mid-1960s to the early1970s they were cemented together. By the time Richard Nixon won reelection, scholarly acclamation for a strong executive branch had been replaced largely by horror. In 1973 the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.—previously an advocate of ...

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IV. THE WORLD AFTER WATERGATE: The Resurgence Regime Takes Shape

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pp. 101-138

Richard Nixon’s resignation took effect at noon on August 9, 1974. There was one last walk across the White House lawn, a last clenched grin and V-for-victory wave. Marine One whirred to life, lifted off, and faded from sight. With that, as new president Gerald Ford remarked upon taking the oath of office that afternoon, “our long national nightmare” was ...

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V. THE RESURGENCE RECEDES, PART I: Money & Morals

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pp. 139-166

The resurgence regime was both extraordinarily ambitious and, it appeared, quite successful. Richard Nixon himself wrote in 1990 that, “in view of all these restraints, the periodic talk about the ‘imperial Presidency’ is ludicrous.” Some complained the “imperial” presidency was now “imperiled” (President Ford’s claim), or “impossible,” or, at...

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VI. THE RESURGENCE RECEDES, PART II: Peace & War

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pp. 167-210

Developments in the areas of budgeting and executive ethics were parallel to those in the other areas under study. Indeed, as the resurgence regime receded, presidential power over matters both of peace (in unilateral expressions of executive authority) and war (in military and intelligence operations) was enhanced. The result, by the start of the ...

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VII. TIDAL WAVE: The World after September 11

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pp. 211-259

During the 2000 election campaign, then governor George W. Bush spoke frequently of the diminution of presidential authority. He meant, it seemed, moral authority: his administration, he argued, would “restore honor and dignity to the White House.” But it soon became clear he had in mind a broader conception of presidential power. “I have an obligation to make sure that the Presidency remains robust,” Bush...

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VIII. “PRACTICAL ADVANTAGES & GRAVE DANGERS: ”Imperial Presidency or Invisible Congress?

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pp. 261-285

Having traced the broad sweep of presidential power across American history, with particular attention to its vicissitudes after Vietnam and Watergate, it is time to evaluate it. In so doing we revisit the motivating question of this book. Is there a “new imperial presidency”? That is, has the governmental balance of power shifted back to the president to an...

Notes

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pp. 287-340

Index

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pp. 341-358