Denis Lacorne, Justin Vaïsse

The Imperial Presidency Publication date : October 11, 2007

The United States changed in the wake of September 11, 2001, and the clampdown by the powerful Administration of George W. Bush on America's political system. But after 2005 the climate gradually began to change again. The legislature struck back, particularly when it swung to the Democrats in 2006. The Supreme Court reasserted the independence of the judiciary and the need to ensure the Rule of Law. And the media suddenly remembered they had a role to play as the fourth power. America's traditional system of checks and balances had made a comeback.

These recent tumultuous events would seem to summarise the history and ambiguities of America's imperial presidency, which dates back to Franklin D. Roosevelt's power surge during the Depression and World War II.

In this volume, Denis Lacorne and Justin Vaïsse have brought together some of the top French and American experts on U.S. politics. The result is a thorough examination of the heart of American democracy, and of its areas of light and shadow. The authors go back in time to explain the historical origins of America's imperial presidency; they show that the Bush Administration's ascendancy has many precedents since, and even before, Roosevelt. They analyse the factors that allowed President Bush to impose his complete control after the attacks of 9/11. In addition, they provide a clear explanation of an issue currently being debated in the United States, between advocates of a strong executive and the defenders of a less imperial — and less imperialistic — democracy.

This book offers a fascinating insight into George W. Bush's presidency, and tries to assess the mark it will leave on history when it ends in January 2009.

The editors are both recognised authorities on U.S. politics.

Denis Lacorne, a political scientist, is a senior research fellow at the French Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI - Sciences Po). His areas of interest include the U.S. political system and multiculturalism and religion in the United States. He is the author of Les Etats-Unis and La Crise de l'identité américaine.

Justin Vaïsse, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution (Washington, D.C.), is a historian specialising in U.S. domestic and foreign policy.