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BOOK REVIEWS353 ennobling war" did so not because they admired war, but because its cause, the preservation of the nation for a higher destiny of leading the world to perfection, sanctified it. The American redemptive mission is still a powerful tradition, carrying more influence than we realize in shaping our attitudes toward the rest of the world, toward our domestic policy, our foreign poUcy, and our cultural development . We have our national doubts, of course. President Kennedy told the country in 1963 that "we must acknowledge the realities of the world" by reaUzing that "we cannot right every wrong or reverse every adversity, and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem." Yet the beUef persists, and Professor Tuveson's book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of this strong element in our national character. Rüssel B. Nye Michigan State University Presidential Vetoes, 1792-1945. By Carlton Jackson. (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1967. Pp. x, 254. $8.00. ) When Professor Jackson undertook to survey the presidential vetoes to 1945, he entered an area clearly underemphasized by poUtical historians. He has done worthwhile service by bringing vetoes to the fore for their sake rather than as episodes in presidential careers, notably in an able prefatory statement which details the potentiaUties of the presidential rejection of legislation, and in his subsequent extended treatment which brings between two convenient covers the account which the title impUes. Several of Jackson's points are important, especially his emphasis on President Tyler as the first systematic user of the veto to regulate the relations of the executive and legislative branches, and his notation that Polk and subsequent presidents were obUged to do more than cite constitutional grounds in internal improvements vetoes. So defensive was Polk that he suggested alternatives to Federal financing. However, one wishes that even more could have been done on so important a topic as this. Professor Jackson's treatment is exhaustive in that it devotes attention to almost aU vetoes except those involving minor pension and reUef claims; it therefore lacks intensiveness for the list of vetoes is so long that the author cannot spell out with completeness the terms of either the bills in question or the messages accompanying their vetoes. Such a UabiUty, along with Jackson's overemphasis on diffuse congressional debate and contemporary newspaper comment, precludes much in the way of extended analysis or evaluation of whatever principles might be at issue. These problems are further compounded by Professor Jackson's strict chronological arrangement of topics, which makes synthetic treatment most difficult. Chapter conclusions become repetitious to the reader after awhile as the author endeavors, indeed sometimes labors, to find analogies and parallels between the veto usages of a given President and all previous Presidents. 354CIVIL WAR HISTORY Some of the terminology Professor Jackson employs is also disconcertingly indefinite. Without adequate explanation, he writes of veto usages as demonstrating "positive" or "negative" presidential action; he identifies Pierce and Buchanan as the last "really conservative" Presidents from their vetoes favoring Federal austerity. In saying on page 109 that senators "paired off* against each other, he means something opposite to what a legislative expert might think. And in the Ught of some of the recent scholarship on Andrew Johnson, one can only question Jackson's beUef that "subtle manipulations " might have enabled that unfortunate chief executive to build a "vast patronage" with which to overawe Congress. That Professor Jackson has worked diUgently there can be no doubt, and the usefulness of what he has done cannot be denied. However, the analytical shortcomings from which his work suffers might have been partly avoided had its organization been topical instead of chronological, and had its pubUcation been in the form of extended articles rather than as a compendious single volume. Rodney Davis Knox College Biddle's Bank: The Crucial Years. By Jean Alexander Wüburn. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1967, Pp. 149. $6.50.) This study reexamines national attitudes toward the Second Bank of the United States in "the crucial years" 1831-1832, "after the Bank had begun to function properly and the people had had the opportunity of experiencing its benefits" (p. 134) and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 353-354
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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