Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama

Presidents and Civil Liberties from Wilson to Obama

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Samuel Walker
Cambridge University Press
Edition: Reprint, 5/8/2014
EAN 9781107677081, ISBN10: 1107677084

Paperback, 570 pages, 23.4 x 15.6 x 2.9 cm
Language: English

This book is a history of the civil liberties records of American presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. It examines the full range of civil liberties issues: First Amendment rights of freedom of speech, press and assembly; due process; equal protection, including racial justice, women's rights, and lesbian and gay rights; privacy rights, including reproductive freedom; and national security issues. The book argues that presidents have not protected or advanced civil liberties, and that several have perpetrated some of the worst violations. Some Democratic presidents (Wilson and Roosevelt), moreover, have violated civil liberties as badly as some Republican presidents (Nixon and Bush). This is the first book to examine the full civil liberties records of each president (thus, placing a president's record on civil rights with his record on national security issues), and also to compare the performance on particular issues of all the presidents covered.

1. Introduction
presidents and civil liberties
Part I. The Early Years
2. Woodrow Wilson and the suppression of civil liberties in World War I
3. Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover
civil liberties in the wilderness
4. Franklin D. Roosevelt
the mixed legacy of a strong president
Part II. Civil Liberties in the Cold War and Civil Rights Eras
5. Harry Truman
courage and contradictions
6. Dwight D. Eisenhower
a failure of presidential leadership
7. John F. Kennedy
the failed promise of the new frontier
8. The glory and the tragedy of Lyndon Johnson
9. Richard Nixon
a singular abuse of presidential power
Part III. The Post-Watergate Era
10. Gerald Ford
a minor president in very interesting times
11. Jimmy Carter
failed president, good civil libertarian
12. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush
the neo-conservative assault on civil liberties
13. Bill Clinton
the divided soul of a 'new democrat'
Part IV. Civil Liberties in the Age of Terrorism
14. George W. Bush
the worst president ever on civil liberties
15. Reflections on presidents, civil liberties, and democracy with observations on Barack Obama.