Congress, Presidents, and American Politics

Congress, Presidents, and American Politics : Fifty Years of Writings and Reflections

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When Lee H. Hamilton joined Congress in 1965 as a US Representative from southern Indiana, he began writing commentaries for his constituents describing his experiences, impressions, and developing views of what was right and wrong in American politics. He continued to write regularly throughout his 34 years in office and up to the present. Lively and full of his distinctive insights, Hamilton's essays provide vivid accounts of national milestones over the past fifty years: from the protests of the Sixties, the Vietnam War, and the Great Society reforms, through the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, to the post-9/11 years as the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission. Hamilton offers frank and sometimes surprising reflections on Congress, the presidency, and presidential character from Lyndon Johnson to Barack Obama. He argues that there are valuable lessons to be learned from past years, when Congress worked better than it does now. Offering history, politics, and personal reflections all at once, this book will appeal to everyone interested in understanding America of the 20th and 21st centuries.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 384 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 27.94mm | 667g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253020867
  • 9780253020864

Review quote

A brief review cannot do justice to Hamilton's fine book. Readers familiar with his record will find few

surprises in his championing of civic engagement, reasoned debate, political moderation, checks and balances, and responsible governance. Others will find a brief introduction to the career, thoughts, and life's work of an important legislative leader during a particularly transformative period in American history. Congress, Presidents, and American Politics deserves a wide audience. * Indiana Magazine of History * [R]eaders who expect dry-as-dust policy analysis or self-serving political pablum will be surprised by this delightful collection. Hamilton does far more than reproduce the original newsletters, which were written to explain current issues and Congressional procedures for the folks back home. Each newsletter is accompanied by Hamilton's insightful, often humorous, reminiscences. * Bloom Magazine * His writings will appeal to everyone interested in understanding America in the 20th and 21st centuries. * Indiana University Alumni Magazine * Hamilton provides a solid look at the thinking, actions, and failures from the Lyndon Johnson years to the present. . . . Hamilton's views on politicians might just renew some readers' faith in our elected officials. At once encouraging and enlightening, his writings stir hope, and what he says is still important all these years later. . . . The book-essentially an encapsulation of the author's philosophy of politics and politicians-is a good choice for those who want to believe in government again. * Kirkus Reviews *
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About Lee H. Hamilton

Lee Hamilton is a Distinguished Scholar atIndiana University. He was a member of the US House of Representatives for 34 yearsandVice Chair of the 9/11 Commission. In2015, Hamilton was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.He is author of many books, includingHow Congress Works and Why You Should Care(IUP, 2004) andStrengthening Congress(IUP, 2009).
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Table of contents

Introduction1. The Johnson Years (19651968): A Remarkable Time to Begin in Congress Passing Medicare The Other War in Vietnam Thanksgiving 1966 Luncheon at the White House Visit to the CIA President Johnson Off the Record Urban Riots The Regular Order The U.S. Role in the World Senate Hearings on the Vietnam War Civil Disorder after Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The Assassination of Robert Kennedy2. The Nixon Years (19691974): Accomplishments Amid Turmoil Christmas at the Nixon White House Changing the House Seniority System Meeting with Student Protesters Reducing the Voting Age Setting up our System of Government Reports on Trip to War Zone The Pentagon Papers Nixon's Trip to China Evaluation of the Apollo Program Inauguration 1973 The Costs of the Vietnam War The Vice President's Resignation The House Judiciary Committee and Impeachment After Watergate3. The Ford Years (19741976): A Needed Respite The Pardon As We Leave Vietnam The Middle Class The Women's Rights Movement Politicians Democracy and Capitalism Big Government Congress and Foreign Policy4. The Carter Years (19771980): Intra-party Discord Inauguration Day 1977 Human Rights Reorganizing the Federal Bureaucracy The Panama Canal Treaty An Assessment of the Carter Administration The Congressional Budget Process A Good Word For America The Gasoline Shortage The Iranian Hostage Crisis Deregulation5. The Reagan Years (19811988): Letting the Democratic Process Work President Reagan Looks at Social Security Improving Intelligence Analysis The Week the Government Stopped Reflections on the 97th Congress The Military Balance Religion in Politics How a Member Decides The Appeal of Congress Our Constitutional Herit
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