Bitter Harvest : FDR, Presidential Power and the Growth of the Presidential Branch

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1996-12-28
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Bitter Harvest identifies the principles governing Franklin Roosevelt's development and use of a presidential staff system and offers a theory explaining why those principles proved so effective. Dickinson argues that presidents institutionalize staff to acquire the information and expertise necessary to better predict the likely impact their specific bargaining choices will have on the end results they desire. Once institutionalized, however, presidential staff must be managed. Roosevelt's use of competitive administrative techniques minimized his staff management costs, while his institutionalization of nonpartisan staff agencies provided him with needed information. Matthew Dickinson's research suggests that FDR's principles could be used today to manage the White House staff-dominated institutional presidency upon which most of his presidential successors have relied.

Table of Contents

Part I. Presidential Power and Presidential Staff: Concepts and Controversies: Introduction: the fruits of his labor? FDR and the growth of the presidential branch
1. Bitter harvest: the presidential branch and the Iran-Contra Affair
Part II. From Cabinet to Presidential Government, 1933-1939: 2. Creating the resource gap: bargaining costs and the first New Deal, 1933-1935
3. The President needs help: the Brownlow Committee frames the Roosevelt Response
Part III. Testing the System: The War Years 1939-1945: 4. Preparing for war: economic mobilization
5. Managing war production
6. FDR and the rise of the National Security Bureaucracy
7. The Commander-in-Chief
Part IV. Lessons and Considerations: 8. Competitive adhocracy: the principles and theoretical implications of FDR's staff use
Epilogue: Roosevelt Redux?: a research agenda

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