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Could a Supreme Court justice be president?

Bill Kristol, whose major political contribution to American public life is the national career of Sarah Palin, has another bright idea to free the Republican Party from the looming prospect of a Donald Trump presidential candidacy. The GOP, he writes, should turn to a dark horse from an unlikely source. After naming several long-shot contenders such as Mitch Daniels and Paul Ryan, Kristol essays the presidential equivalent of a two-handed shot from half court. Why not, he inquires, Justice Samuel Alito from the Supreme Court?

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Wendell Willkie: a forerunner to Donald Trump

It is the stuff of political legend: facing a bevy of prominent candidates within the Republican Party, a straight-talking businessman comes out of nowhere to wrest the GOP nomination away from the party’s customary leadership. Energizing volunteers from across the country, the former executive capitalizes on fear about the international situation to achieve a stunning, dark-horse victory unique in American politics.

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Murky waters: partisanship and foreign policy

The recent letter written by 47 Republican senators to the government of Iran about nuclear negotiations has revived talk about the classic phrase “politics stops at the water’s edge.” The tag line, arguing that partisanship should be put aside in foreign policy, is often attributed to Senator Arthur Vandenberg (R-Michigan) who used it in endorsing some of the diplomatic initiatives of the Democratic Truman administration at the start of the Cold War.

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Thomas B. Reed: the wittiest Speaker of all

Speaker of the House John Boehner is learning the enduring truth of Lyndon Johnson’s famous distinction between a cactus and a caucus. In a caucus, said LBJ, all the pricks are on the inside. Presumably Speaker Boehner seldom thinks about his Republican predecessors as leaders of the House.

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Andrew Johnson: a little man in a big job

If it were not for his impeachment on 24 February 1868, and the subsequent trial in the Senate that led to his acquittal, Andrew Johnson would probably reside among the faded nineteenth century presidents that only historical specialists now remember. Succeeding to the White House after the murder of Abraham Lincoln in April 1865, Johnson proved to be a presidential failure […]

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Mapping historic US elections

Today is Election Day in the United States, and we combed our archives for the stories behind historic American elections. Explore America’s presidential and Congressional history, from Abraham Lincoln’s first Senatorial race in 1858 to George W. Bush’s hotly-contested victory against Al Gore in 2000.

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Theodore Roosevelt becomes President, 14 September 1901

By Lewis L. Gould
Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States upon the death of William McKinley in the early morning of 14 September 1901. An assassin had fatally wounded McKinley eight days earlier. Vice President Roosevelt took the presidential oath at a friend’s home in Buffalo, New York, hurried to Washington for a brief Cabinet meeting.

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Theodore Roosevelt, family man as political strategy

By Lewis L. Gould

Theodore Roosevelt was forty-two years old when he became the twenty-sixth president of the United States. He had been a Republican since his boyhood, but his allegiance to the Grand Old Party was not that of a regular partisan. He had little interest in the protective tariff and was not a fan of businessmen or the process by which they made their money. Instead, as a member of the New York aristocracy, he saw his duty as representing the American people in their adjustment to the promises and perils of industrial growth.

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Teddy, Teddy, enough already

By Lewis L. Gould
When President Obama invoked the name of “Teddy” Roosevelt in his speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, in December, he seemed on safe ground in referring to his predecessor by that familiar nickname. In the world of the talking head and the political pro, everyone knows that Theodore Roosevelt was called “Teddy” by one and all. What better way to establish credentials as a keeper of the presidential heritage than to refer to “Teddy”?

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