The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama

CREATED Mar 14, 2012

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Guest: Steven F. Hayward

As the twentieth-century presidency has grown far beyond the bounds the Founders established for the office, the idea that our chief executive is responsible to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” has become a distant memory.

Historian and celebrated Reagan biographer Steven F. Hayward reminds us that the Founders had an entirely different idea of greatness in the presidential office. The personal ambitions, populist appeals, and bribes paid to the voters with their own money that most modern presidents engage in would strike them as instances of the demagoguery they most feared— one of the great dangers to the people’s liberty that they wrote the Constitution explicitly to guard against. The Founders, in contrast to today’s historians, expected great presidents to be champions of the limited government established by the Constitution.

Working from that almost forgotten standard of presidential greatness, Steven Hayward offers a fascinating off–the–beaten–track tour through the modern presidency, from the Progressive Era’s Woodrow Wilson to Barack Obama. Along the way, he serves up fresh historical insights, recalls forgotten anecdotes, celebrates undervalued presidents who took important stands in defense of the Constitution— and points the way to a revival of truly constitutional government in America.

Listen to Nick's interview with Steven.

This author was featured on KSGF Mornings with Nick Reed on Thursday, March 22nd.