Presidents of WarPresidents of War
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Presidents of War

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Michael Beschloss

The history of America's wartime presidents is a diverse one, and when examined objectively, it becomes evident that even highly esteemed leaders during times of conflict made both positive and negative decisions. Presidential motivations for war have varied, with some aiming to unify or defend their nation, while others sought territorial expansion or solutions that could have been achieved through diplomacy. However, a common thread that runs through this overarching American narrative is the departure from the Founding Fathers' vision that only the Congress and Senate should hold the power to officially declare war.

hashtagpolitics
hashtagamerican-history
hashtagwar
clock14 min
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target5 Insight

What's it about?

Presidents of War, published in 2018, provides a detailed analysis of eight U.S. presidents and their roles in leading the nation into various conflicts. It explores each president's reasons for going to war, their actions during wartime, and the prevailing sentiments among the press and the public within the country. These compelling portraits of wartime leaders offer a sweeping view of American history, spanning from the War of 1812 to the Vietnam War.

Book summary

The history of America's wartime presidents is a diverse one, and when examined objectively, it becomes evident that even highly esteemed leaders during times of conflict made both positive and negative decisions. Presidential motivations for war have varied, with some aiming to unify or defend their nation, while others sought territorial expansion or solutions that could have been achieved through diplomacy. However, a common thread that runs through this overarching American narrative is the departure from the Founding Fathers' vision that only the Congress and Senate should hold the power to officially declare war.

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Thomas Jefferson skillfully used his presidential authority to prevent the United States from entering a war.

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James Madison reluctantly succumbed to persuasion and engaged in the War of 1812.

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In order to fight a war that he believed was morally just, Abraham Lincoln made some decisions that infringed upon civil libe­rties.

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Spanish-American War may have been caused by a misinterpretation.

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Woodrow Wilson deceived the public by implying that the United States would not be involved in World War I.

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