Recapturing the Oval Office

Recapturing the Oval Office

New Historical Approaches to the American Presidency

Several generations of historians figuratively abandoned the Oval Office as the bastion of out-of-fashion stories of great men. And now, decades later, the historical analysis of the American presidency remains on the outskirts of historical scholarship, even as policy and political history have rebounded within the academy. In Recapturing the Oval Office, leading historians and social scientists forge an agenda for returning the study of the presidency to the mainstream practice of history and they chart how the study of the presidency can be integrated into historical narratives that combine rich analyses of political, social, and cultural history.

The authors demonstrate how "bringing the presidency back in" can deepen understanding of crucial questions regarding race relations, religion, and political economy. The contributors illuminate the conditions that have both empowered and limited past presidents, and thus show how social, cultural, and political contexts matter. By making the history of the presidency a serious part of the scholarly agenda in the future, historians have the opportunity to influence debates about the proper role of the president today.

Contributors: Brian Balogh, University of Virginia; Michael A. Bernstein, Tulane University; Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Purdue University; N. D. B. Connolly, The Johns Hopkins University; Frank Costigliola, University of Connecticut; Gareth Davies, University of Oxford; Darren Dochuk, Washington University; Susan J. Douglas, University of Michigan; Daniel J. Galvin, Northwestern University; William I. Hitchcock, University of Virginia; Cathie Jo Martin, Boston University; Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara; Bruce J. Schulman, Boston University; Robert O. Self, Brown University; Stephen Skowronek, Yale University

Bruce J. Schulman

Bruce J. Schulman is the William E. Huntington Professor of History at Boston University. He is the author of From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt: Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South, 1938–1980; Lyndon B. Johnson and American Liberalism: A Brief Biography with Documents; and The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics.