Benn, Stephen (1984) The white house staff. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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This thesis is about the White House staff. Primarily it covers the period from the 1930's to the 1970's: from being first established to being well embedded in the American political system. Although the main body of research and writing relates to the White House staff of six Presidents - Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon - additional reference where appropriate or where the opportunity arose is made to their successors: Ford, Carter and Reagan.
The argument of this thesis can be very simply stated. The White House staff are a very large and influential part of the modern Presidency. They now occupy a pre-eminent position in the presidential decision-making process. An understanding of the White House staff is now absolutely essential to an understanding of the framework of advice that culminates in any presidential decision. The prime characteristics of the staff are unique proximity to the President and virtually complete accountability to him alone. These contribute to a mutual confidence between President and staff that sustains the basis of staff influence. Over five decades they have far outgrown and transformed their original purposes both in size and power irrespective of the differences, and emerging similarities, in the ways Presidents have organized them. This progress was virtually uninterrupted and was not properly monitored. Experience has shown and evidence does confirm that the White House staff long inhabited a constitutional vacuum where the normal operation of the system of checks and balances effectively ceased to apply. Despite dramatic revelations of manifest abuses of power the position has been improved only partially. Although the permanent need for a staff has been recognised and they are now firmly entrenched in the structure of the Presidency of the United States the potential for abuse remains.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Lees, John D (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 15:16
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2019 15:16

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