The Most Exclusive Club: A History of the Modern United States Senate

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Basic Books, Oct 31, 2005 - History - 402 pages
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The Senate was originally conceived by the Founding Fathers as an anti-democratic counterweight to the more volatile House of Representatives, but in the twentieth century it has often acted as an impediment to needed reforms. A hundred years ago, senators were still chosen by state legislatures, rather than by direct elections. Now, in the wake of the 2004 elections, and the consolidation of Republican control, the Senate is likely to become a crucible of power shifts that will have enormous impact on American politics in the twenty-first century. In The Most Exclusive Club, acclaimed political historian Lewis Gould puts the debates about the Senate's future into the context of its history from the Progressive Era to the war in Iraq. From charges of corruption to the occasional attempt at reform, Gould highlights the major players, issues, and debates (including the League of Nations, the McCarthy hearings, and the Iran-Contra affair) that have shaped the institution. Beyond the usual outsized figures such as Lyndon Johnson, Strom Thurmond, and Barry Goldwater, Gould also tells the story of the lesser-known Senate leaders who have played a vital role in America's upper house. Filled with colorful anecdotes, this is a long-awaited history of one of the most powerful political bodies in the world, written by a master. Gould's sweeping narrative combines deft storytelling with a fresh look at the crucible of contemporary political debate and decision-making.
 

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The most exclusive club: a history of the modern United States Senate

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The delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, which created the U.S. Senate to be a deliberative body that would check both presidential power abuse and the bedlam inherent in the House of ... Read full review

Contents

Great Old Personages The Senate in 1900
1
The President and the Senate Four
17
La Follette Challenges the Senate
33
John Worth Kern and the New Freedom
53
The Senate and the League of Nations
73
Spearless Leaders in the 1920s
93
The Senate in the Depression
113
The New Deal and the Conservative Club
135
Pawed All Over Lyndon Johnson and the Senate
213
Mike Mansfields Senate
233
Juggling Too Many Balls
257
A Ruder Senate
277
Republican Ascendancy at Centurys End
295
The Senate and Its Future
313
Notes
321
Suggestions for Further Reading
373

The Senate in Wartime
155
The Senate at Midcentury
175
The Senate Club in the Age of Joe McCarthy
195
Acknowledgments
379
Index
383
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About the author (2005)

Lewis L. Gould is the Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Texas and the author of The Modern American Presidency, Reform and Regulation, and Grand Old Party. He lives in Austin, Texas.

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