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FDR and Reagan : transformative presidents with clashing visions /
John W. Sloan.
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2008.
x, 427 p. ; 25 cm.
0700616152 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780700616152 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Lawrence, Kan. : University Press of Kansas, c2008.
0700616152 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780700616152 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-08-01:
Political scientist Sloan (Univ. of Houston) compares Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as transformative leaders, each of whom constructed a new political order in the aftermath of a vulnerable predecessor governing in a period of economic trauma. Building his argument on the foundation laid by Stephen Skowronek's The Politics Presidents Make (CH, Feb'94, 31-3468), Sloan compares FDR and Reagan in alternating chapters, exploring their circumstances, personalities and philosophies, advisers, core policies, legitimizing procedures, and party leadership. Historians conventionally find FDR and Reagan polar opposites in terms of philosophies of government, goals, and administrative styles. Sloan concurs but succeeds nonetheless in finding common threads that enabled each to reconstruct the political landscape in ways that influenced future generations and that mobilized "several streams of grievances into an electoral coalition capable of winning a series of elections" (p. 365). Each had a goal: FDR to gain security, Reagan to cut taxes. Neither succeeded on all counts. FDR only "partially legitimized" (p. 285) the New Deal, convincing Americans of the benefits of a welfare state but leaving them resenting its accompanying bureaucracy. Reagan tamed inflation but left a burgeoning deficit. Nevertheless, each brought about a domestic regime change. Summing Up: Recommended. Most levels/libraries. A. J. Dunar University of Alabama in Huntsville
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, August 2009
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This work demonstrates that Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan shared an ability to replace exhausted old leadership with a genuinely new vision. This study deals with how old regimes unravel, how new ones are constructed, and how the political system is rejuvenated.
Main Description
Perhaps the twentieth centurys most revered presidents, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan could not seem more different as standard-bearers of liberal and conservative revolutions. But, as John Sloan demonstrates, they were more similar than most people suppose. One rising out of the Great Depression and the self-defeating efforts of Herbert Hoover, the other out of the malaise of the 1970s and the failings of Jimmy Carter, both these presidents entered office with a mandate for change and oversaw a quantum shift in the national psyche. And while everyone takes their clashing visions for granted, Sloan demonstrates that these two very different presidents shared an ability to replace exhausted old leadership with a genuinely new vision . FDR and Reagan is a study of how old regimes unravel, how new ones are constructed, and how the political system is rejuvenated. Adapting noted presidential scholar Stephen Skowroneks framework, Sloan analyzes how two iconic "reconstructive" presidents redefined the countrys fundamental philosophy, priorities, and policies as he weighs their similarities, differences, and impacts. He compares their lives, core policies, and leadership traits and shows that todays politics and policies are still heavily influenced by these key presidencies. Each of these men transformed the way Americans thought about the legitimate role of government, whether providing more security for citizens or stepping back from federal regulation. But, as Sloan reminds us, the new order never totally destroys the old-reconstructive presidents never completely eradicate the ideas and programs associated with the regime they replaced. Big business survived the New Deal, just as the welfare state weathered the Reagan Revolution. As with other transformative presidents before them, the words and deeds of FDR and Reagan have taken on nearly mythical significance; yet Americans remain torn between the economic security offered by one and the economic freedom championed by the other. Sloans book helps readers see through this contradiction and better understand the decisive role of presidents in promoting national progress.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. ix
Reconstructive Presidents as Principal Agents of Regime Changep. 1
The Collapse of the Republican Regimep. 18
Erosion of the Liberal Regimep. 44
The Life, Personality, and Political Philosophy of Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reaganp. 66
Advising FDRp. 101
Advising Reaganp. 150
Core Policies of the New Dealp. 178
Reagan's Core Policiesp. 223
Legitimating the New Dealp. 246
Legitimating Reagan's Conservative Regimep. 287
FDR's Reconstructive Party Leadershipp. 321
Reagan's Reconstructive Party Leadershipp. 340
Conclusionp. 356
Notesp. 369
Indexp. 403
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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