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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

How Conservatives Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Presidential Power

How Conservatives Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Presidential Power

(p.290) Fourteen How Conservatives Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Presidential Power
Governing America

Julian E. Zelizer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how conservatives have come to embrace presidential power after an initial wariness. Before the 1970s, there were some conservative activists skeptical of—if not downright hostile toward—presidential power. A key turning point was the 1970s, when many conservatives believed that the congressional reforms that were passed in the aftermath of Watergate weakened the power of the executive branch and were a symbol of what went wrong as a result of the 1960s. The chapter first considers how the conservatives began to accept presidential power during the presidency of Richard Nixon between 1969 and 1974 before discussing congressional reforms in the area of national security. It also discusses the use of executive power under Ronald Reagan, who strengthened the marriage between American conservatism and presidential power; Bill Clinton; and George W. Bush, who expanded presidential power in his war on terrorism.

Keywords:   conservatives, presidential power, congressional reform, Richard Nixon, national security, Ronald Reagan, American conservatism, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, war on terrorism

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