Theses Doctoral

Presidential Administration: An Intellectual and Legal History, 1888-1938

Rosenblum, Noah Aaron

This dissertation explores the intellectual and legal history of presidential administration — that is, the president’s ability to direct the operations of the administrative state. The dissertation argues that presidential administration was closely connected to changing ideas about how to realize democratic government. It shows how, in the late 19th and early 20th century, the presidency acquired the institutions that lay the foundations for executive control of administration. This was a deliberate reform project, driven by ideas about what would make government responsible.

The dissertation tells this story by tracking transformations in democratic thought and law through attention to court cases and scholarship, among other genres, and looks at both published and archival sources. It draws on methods from legal history, intellectual history, and American Political Development, and occasionally makes use of an Atlantic perspective. Besides historians, law professors, and political scientists, it may be of interest to scholars of the presidency, public administration, and analysts of current legal debates about presidential power and administration.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Moyn, Samuel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 25, 2023