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Title: The shaping of U.S. Presidents' initial domestic policy agendas, 1960-1981
Author: Herbert, J. W.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2001
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Abstract:
The dissertation attempts to identify the rationales behind the policy selections made by U.S. presidents in the early phases of their presidency and to identify common themes among those rationales. Specifically, the study attempts to identify the reasons behind the initial domestic policy choices of John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan during their transition periods and the first one hundred days of their administration. The four case studies are based upon materials drawn from the appropriate presidential libraries in the United States and interviews with administration participants. Each study approaches presidential choices in a similar manner, looking at presidential ideology, the political conditions of the incoming chief executive, political strategies, the structure of administration and mechanisms of programme design. The case studies also include specific policy studies over the transition and honeymoon periods to explain the motivations behind particular legislative proposals. The dissertation provides new interpretations of each president's early actions. Particularly, Nixon is shown to have had an initial domestic agenda before the announcement of welfare reform in August 1969, and Carter and his staff are revealed to have focused initially on a narrow domestic agenda in 1977. Overall, the dissertation concludes that presidents work within a framework set by institutional and policy contexts. Presidents plan how to pursue their goals within these contexts, setting a series of policy and non-policy goals which agglomerate into strategies. Presidential policy selections can only be understood when they are seen to be made within parameters set by these wider strategic decisions. The administrative process of policy planning then functions to reconcile strategy and public policy. Policy specialists and political strategists approach the policy-making process with differing needs, and together attempt to identify policy compromises suited to both of those sets of needs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.603971  DOI: Not available
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