The President as Statesman
Woodrow Wilson and the Constitution
Daniel D. Stid
A political scientist who went on to become president, Woodrow Wilson envisioned a "responsible government" in which a strong leader and principled party would integrate the separate executive and legislative powers. His ideal, however, was constantly challenged by political reality. Daniel Stid explores the evolution of Wilson's views on this form of government and his endeavors as a statesman to establish it in the United States. The author looks over Professor and then President Wilson's shoulder as he grappled with the constitutional separation of powers, demonstrating the importance of this effort for American political thought and history.
Although Wilson is generally viewed as an unstinting and effective opponent of the separation of powers, the author reveals an ambivalent statesman who accommodated the Founders' logic. This book challenges both the traditional and revisionist views of Woodrow Wilson by documenting the moderation of his statesmanship and the resilience of the separation of powers. In doing so, it sheds new light on American political development from Wilson's day to our own.
“A very original and well-done account of Woodrow Wilson’s failure to accomplish his goal of reshaping the national polity. This is an instructive, well-researched, and refreshing essay in the enduring character of American government.”
“A detailed study, rich in nuance, that should interest students of American history, political theory, constitutional development, the presidency, and the American party system. Its contributions to current discussions of the wisdom of separated powers and the place of Woodrow Wilson in the evolving American political tradition are considerable.”
—Perspectives on Political Science
“A thoughtful and detailed intellectual biography that provides a convincing account of how Wilson shifted between idealism and pragmatism as moved from scholarship to political practice.”
—Journal of Southern History
“Stid shows convincingly how Wilson both attacked and adapted the American system of separation of powers. An original, intelligent book.”
—Harvey C. Mansfield, author of Taming the Prince
“A valuable contribution to our understanding of the continuing importance of Wilson's political thought to explaining and improving our government.”
—Kendrick A. Clements, author of The Presidency of Woodrow Wilson
“This book helps us think intelligently about the most pressing political challenges the country faces at the twilight of another century.”
—Sidney M. Milkis, author of The President and the Parties
“This exceptionally fine study of statesmanship and the constitutional order will interest students of Wilson, of the presidency, and of American political development more generally.”
—Jeffrey Tulis, author of The Rhetorical Presidency
“A book of genuine distinction. The most faithful rendering we have of the ambivalence, contradictions, and above all moderation of Wilson's conception of political leadership.”
—Richard J. Ellis, author of Presidential Lightning Rods and The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America
“A fascinating study of Wilson’s lifelong, unresolved tensions.”
—Louis Fisher, author of Presidential War Power and Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the PresidentSee fewer reviews...
Throughout the twentieth century, political scientists and public officials have called for constitutional changes and political reforms that were originally proposed by Wilson. By reexamining the dilemmas presented by Wilson's program, Stid invites a reconsideration of both the expectations we place on the presidency and the possibilities of leadership in the Founders' system. The President as Statesman contributes significantly to ongoing debates over Wilson's legacy and raises important questions about the nature of presidential leadership at a time when this issue is at the forefront of public consciousness.