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Governing AmericaThe Revival of Political History$
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Julian E. Zelizer

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691150734

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691150734.001.0001

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Beyond the Presidential Synthesis: Reordering Political Time

Beyond the Presidential Synthesis: Reordering Political Time

(p.11) One Beyond the Presidential Synthesis: Reordering Political Time
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter attempts to rethink how we categorize and periodize political time by focusing on liberal presidential synthesis, a framework that is centered on the rise and fall of the presidency from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon. It first considers the basic narrative of the liberal presidential synthesis and argues that the works of the last generation of postwar political historians, while providing a much richer understanding of each individual, have downplayed institutional questions about the evolution of the office over time. It then reviews the literature on individual presidencies before discussing presidential power from the perspective of political science. It also examines a number of possibilities for reordering political time and concludes by reflecting on how political history may be revitalized and reconceptualized.

Keywords:   political time, liberal presidential synthesis, presidency, political historians, political science, presidential power, political history

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