Cover image for Presidential campaigns : from George Washington to George W. Bush
Title:
Presidential campaigns : from George Washington to George W. Bush
Author:
Boller, Paul F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
ix, 479 pages ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780195167153

9780195167160
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Were presidential campaigns always as bitter as they have been in recent years? Or is the current style of campaigning a new political development? In this revised and updated edition of Presidential Campaigns the answers to these questions are clear: the race for the presidency, although attimes mean and nasty, has always been an endlessly entertaining and highly-charged spectacle for the American public. This book unveils the whole history of American presidential elections, from the seamless ascent of General George Washington to the bitterly contested election of George W. Bush,bringing these boisterous contests to life in all their richness and complexity. In the old days, Boller shows, campaigns were much rowdier than they are today. Back in the nineteenth century, the invective at election time was exuberant and the mudslinging unrestrained; a candidate might be calledeverything from a carbuncle-faced old drunkard to a howling atheist. But there was plenty of fun and games, too, with songs and slogans, speeches and parades, all livening up the scene in order to get people to the polls.Presidential Campaigns takes note of the serious side of elections even as itdocuments the frenzy, frolic and the sleaze. Each chapter contains a brief essay describing an election and presenting "campaign highlights" that bring to life the quadrennial confrontation in all its shame and glory. With a postscript analyzing the major changes in the ways Americans have chosen their Presidents from Washington's time to the present, Presidential Campaigns gives the reader a full picture of this somewhat flawed procedure. For all of its shortcomings, though, this "great American shindig" is anessential part of the American democratic system and, for better or for worse, tells us much about ourselves.


Author Notes

Paul F. Boller, Jr. is Professor Emeritus of History at Texas Christian University and the author of many popular books on American history.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Boller (emer., Texas Christian Univ.) is no stranger to the history of the US presidency. His latest book, an update of his 1984 original (CH, Jul'84), builds on his already vast storehouse of knowledge of the executive branch that he so adeptly displayed in previous books, such as Presidential Anecdotes (CH, Feb'82; rev. ed. 1996) and Presidential Wives (1984, 2nd ed. 1999). The author draws on diaries, letters, journals, newspaper accounts, and campaign literature to construct portraits and vignettes about the men who won and experienced defeat during presidential elections. He devotes a chapter to each election. One of the most scurrilous campaigns occurred early in US history in 1800. Jefferson's supporters spread rumors that Adams was planning to start an American dynasty in which one of his sons would be married to George III's daughter. The Federalists warned that a Jefferson victory would lead to murder, rape, and incest. By comparison, the closely contested election of 2000 seems almost bland. Even though Oxford University Press publishes the book, Boller writes for a popular audience. His style seeks to entertain and inform at the same time. For the most part, he succeeds. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General collections and up. B. Miller University of Cincinnati


Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1. 1789--Starting Off: George Washingtonp. 3
2. 1792--Washington Againp. 5
3. 1796--Federalist Succession: John Adamsp. 7
4. 1800--Republican Takeover: Jefferson's Revolutionp. 10
5. 1804--Jefferson's Landslidep. 19
6. 1808--Madison and the Dambargop. 22
7. 1812--Madison's Wartime Re-electionp. 26
8. 1816--Monroe: Another Virginia Victoryp. 29
9. 1820--Monroe's Quiet Re-electionp. 31
10. 1824--John Quincy Adams and the "Corrupt Bargain"p. 33
11. 1828--Jackson vs. Adamsp. 42
12. 1832--Jackson, Clay, and the Bank Warp. 53
13. 1836--Van Buren's Victory Over Three Whigsp. 60
14. 1840--Tippecanoe and Tyler Toop. 65
15. 1844--Polk and Manifest Destinyp. 78
16. 1848--Old Zach and the Michiganderp. 84
17. 1852--Frank Pierce and Old Fuss and Feathersp. 88
18. 1856--Buchanan and Bleeding Kansasp. 91
19. 1860--Lincoln and the Sectional Crisisp. 99
20. 1864--Lincoln and the War Crisisp. 115
21. 1868--Grant and Reconstructionp. 123
22. 1872--Grant and the Liberal Republicansp. 127
23. 1876--The Hayes-Tilden Disputed Electionp. 133
24. 1880--The Triumph of "Boatman Jim" Garfieldp. 142
25. 1884--The Cleveland-Blaine Contestp. 146
26. 1888--Harrison, Cleveland, and the Tariffp. 157
27. 1892--Cleveland's Return to Powerp. 162
28. 1896--McKinley, Bryan, and Free Silverp. 167
29. 1900--The McKinley-Roosevelt Triumphp. 179
30. 1904--T.R.'s Smashing Victoryp. 183
31. 1908--Taft's Big Victory Over Bryanp. 187
32. 1912--The High Tide of Progressivism: Wilson, Roosevelt, and Taftp. 191
33. 1916--Wilson and the Great Warp. 202
34. 1920--Harding, Nostrums, and Normalcyp. 212
35. 1924--Keeping Cool with Coolidgep. 218
36. 1928--Hoover, Smith, and the Catholic Issuep. 223
37. 1932--Roosevelt, Hoover, and the Great Depressionp. 231
38. 1936--Roosevelt and the New Dealp. 240
39. 1940--Roosevelt, Willkie, and the War in Europep. 250
40. 1944--Roosevelt's Wartime Mandatep. 259
41. 1948--The Great Truman Surprisep. 268
42. 1952--The Eisenhower Landslidep. 280
43. 1956--Another Eisenhower Landslidep. 291
44. 1960--Kennedy and the New Frontierp. 296
45. 1964--Lyndon Johnson and the Great Societyp. 308
46. 1968--Nixon, Humphrey, and the Vietnam Warp. 320
47. 1972--Another Nixon Triumphp. 333
48. 1976--The Triumph of an Outsider: Jimmy Carterp. 342
49. 1980--The Reagan Victoryp. 354
50. 1984--Another Reagan Sweepp. 369
51. 1988--Trivial Pursuit: Bush vs. Dukakisp. 378
52. 1992--Clinton and the Call for Changep. 387
53. 1996--Bill Clinton and the Vital Centerp. 400
54. 2000--Bush, Gore, and the Supreme Courtp. 406
Postscript--Presidential Campaigns through the Yearsp. 415
Notesp. 421
Indexp. 467