Leonard D. White and the Invention of American Administrative History

John, Richard R.

Nearly half a century has passed since Leonard D. White published The Federalists, the first volume of his celebrated four-volume history of public administration in the United States. Almost from the moment of its publication, White's study was hailed as a classic. His third volume won the Bancroft prize, his fourth a Pulitzer. Solidly researched, lucidly written, and eminently judicious, it remains to this day the only comprehensive survey of federal public administration in the period between the inauguration of George Washington in 1789 and the elevation of Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency in 1901. This retrospective essay surveys the main themes of White's great work, explores his motives in writing it, and considers its relationship to contemporary scholarship on the relationship of state and society in the American past.

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Reviews in American History
The John Hopkinds University Press

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August 1, 2018