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
Brian Balogh is the Compton Professor at the Miller Center and the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. He is the author of A Government Out of Sight: The Mystery of National Authority in Nineteenth-Century America and editor of Integrating the Sixties: The Origins, Structure and Legacy of a Turbulent Decade.