In his study of the leadership style exhibited by six presidents, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln, Fred Greenstein applies the analytic scheme he first unveiled in The Presidential Difference to explain how the decisions that these men made in the critical period 1846–1861 led to the Civil War. Greenstein argues that their actions, beginning with Polk’s ill‐fated decision to provoke a war with Mexico, formed a funnel of causality that increasingly limited the options of their successors when dealing with the slavery issue, so that when Lincoln took office, it was impossible to keep the Union together short of military conflict. In addition to addressing a significant period in American history, Greenstein’s choice of topic has the added virtue of shining a spotlight on a group of presidents who, with the exception of Lincoln, tend to be overlooked in the history books. To be sure, this is not a revisionist study; Greenstein’s analysis is unlikely to change anyone’s assessment of these six presidents in terms of their historical rankings (although I admit to coming away with a slightly greater appreciation for Millard Fillmore’s presidency). Greenstein’s contribution instead is to show how the six
To continue reading, see options above.
Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences, Kevin J. McMahon Reviewed by Matthew J. Dickinson
Honest Broker? The National Security Advisor and Presidential Decision Making, John P. Burke Reviewed by Matthew J. Dickinson
Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House: A Historical Perspective, Mark J. White Reviewed by Matthew J. Dickinson
Presidents, Responsiveness, and Competence: Revisiting the "Golden Age" at the Bureau of the Budget, Matthew J. Dickinson and Andrew Rudalevigemore by this author
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Developments in Beijing
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
CONTINUING ISSUES IN U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
Articles | Book reviews
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.