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The Decline and Fall of the American Republic

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  27 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Bruce Ackerman shows how the institutional dynamics of the last half-century have transformed the American presidency into a potential platform for political extremism and lawlessness. Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the War on Terror are only symptoms of deeper pathologies. Ackerman points to a series of developments that have previously been treated independently of one anot ...more
Hardcover, 270 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Belknap Press
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Steven Moeller
Another characteristically excellent treatment of deep structural issues from Ackerman. I will say only this on the book's substance: It was prescient. Ackerman almost exactly predicted the clash in the executive branch over the legality of the 2011 Libya intervention, and it looks like the same thing is happening with the 2014 Iraq intervention. N.b.: The book isn't pro- or anti-Obama. The argument, roughly, is that there are centralizing structural forces that, over time, are taking power over ...more
Zach
In this book Ackerman details the ascendancy of the modern executive. His analysis of the structure of our current system leads him to conclude that we are perilously close to a breakdown of republican democracy in which the Presidency will be able to ignore Congress and function as the sole legislator and executor.

It's written in very simple prose and is readily accessible to political neophytes and yet interesting and compelling for politicos too.

This scenario doesn't seem to far fetched, con
...more
Richard


I leave this book hungry for action that will rein in the "new" powers of the presidency…even if it is at the expense of my party's agenda. Read this book if you are concerned about the future of our republic…and most especially if you are not…

Mark Flowers
A fascinating book in many ways, but Ackerman spends too much time with "what if"s and the future of the presidency, and not nearly enough time looking at what is actually going on in the present. His conclusions are for the most part accurate (in my opinion) but his doomsday scenarios make it easy for detractors to argue against him.

As for his reform proposals: good luck. The Republic has already fallen as far as I can see. None of his proposals stands a chance.
Andrew
I don't know if my tag is appropriate for this title, but I'm sticking with it because it was recommended to me in a series of books.

Well-argued reaction to a growing power/control in the executive branch of government that pulls history, law, tradition, etc. into one. There are plenty of citations and notes (over 1/3 of the book is the appendix!) Nothing that blew my mind, but a smart read.
Jennings Peeler


I leave this book hungry for action that will rein in the "new" powers of the presidency…even if it is at the expense of my party's agenda. Read this book if you are concerned about the future of our republic…and most especially if you are not…

B Kevin
A sobering account of the dangers to our civil liberties posed by ever expanding presidential authority. If we stay on our present course we face a constitutional disaster the next time are are attacked.
Ihsaan
An important book on the problems in the Executive branch.
Grey Pierce
Great book to read during final exams to relax.
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Bruce Ackerman is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, and the author of fifteen books that have had a broad influence in political philosophy, constitutional law, and public policy.
More about Bruce Ackerman...
The Failure of the Founding Fathers: Jefferson, Marshall, and the Rise of Presidential Democracy We the People, Volume 1: Foundations We the People, Volume 2: Transformations The Stakeholder Society Social Justice in the Liberal State

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