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The Cabinet

George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

Product Details


$29.95 • £26.95 • €27.95

ISBN 9780674986480

Publication Date: 04/07/2020


432 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

11 photos

Belknap Press


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Jacket: The Cabinet

PAPERBACK | $17.95

ISBN 9780674271036


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Cogent, lucid, and concise, Lindsay Chervinsky’s book gives us an indispensable guide to the creation of the cabinet. With her groundbreaking study, we can now have a much greater appreciation of this essential American institution, one of the major legacies of George Washington’s enlightened statecraft.—Ron Chernow, author of Washington: A Life

Tracks the emergence of a body that the Constitution never mentions… Argues persuasively that focusing on its development helps us understand pivotal moments in the 1790s and the creation of an independent, effective executive.—William Anthony Hay, Wall Street Journal

Fantastic… My admiration for America’s first and possibly finest president has grown further… Washington excelled more than many of his successors at harnessing the cabinet to exercise his political will… A compelling story.—Clayton Trutor, New Criterion

A thorough and insightful account of how the federal government came to have a ‘cabinet’ resembling the British one. But it doubles as a poignant tale of how Washington’s unifying authority broke down over his time in office.—Tom Cutterham, Early American Literature

A well-written and much-needed addition to our understanding of the early American Republic.—Kathryn Gehred, H-Net Reviews

Well-researched, thoughtful, and fascinating… Between 1789 and 1797, George Washington formulated the standards against which all subsequent presidents must be measured.—Clay S. Jenkinson,

Provides the reader with the first modern treatment of the Cabinet in decades. Chervinsky shows how the Cabinet came to be, and how it changed in the early days of the republic.—Stephen Donnelly, Historical Journal of Massachusetts

A well written, deeply insightful examination of Washington’s presidency and his personal leadership style.—Alec D. Rogers, Journal of the American Revolution

With smart analysis and lively writing, Chervinsky illuminates how Washington and his secretaries breathed life into an institution never directly mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.—Tyson Reeder, Parliaments, Estates, and Representation

Traces the evolution of the cabinet from British history through George Washington’s presidency, explaining how experimentation, personalities, internal and international crises, loyalty and betrayal, and political partisanship impacted not only the development of Washington’s advisory body, but foreign and domestic policies as well.Library Journal

In this important and illuminating study, Lindsay Chervinsky has given us an original angle of vision on the foundations and development of something we all take for granted: the president’s Cabinet.—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America

A clear, concise, and lively study of a topic that has long needed such coverage. Chervinsky skillfully shows the Revolutionary roots of the early cabinet and explores how it juggled precedent, public opinion, partisanship, and the balance of power. Anyone interested in American politics will want to read this informative and timely book.—Joanne B. Freeman, author of The Field of Blood: Violence in Congress and the Road to Civil War

Chervinsky offers a new perspective on a crucial and enduring institution in American politics, persuasively showing the centrality of the cabinet in the founding era and beyond. With clear, crisp prose and a compelling story, this book is a must-read not only for historians, political scientists, and legal scholars, but also for anyone interested in learning about a foundation of the American republic.—Gautham Rao, author of National Duties: Custom Houses and the Making of the American State

A riveting, beautifully written story of George Washington’s efforts to figure out how to achieve his goals in a fast-changing environment. By placing Washington’s cabinet meetings within the broader narratives of the Revolutionary War and the politics of the early republic, Chervinsky brings all the tensions of the big stories into Washington’s efforts to administer America’s new government. She makes reading about the evolution of institutions fun!—Johann N. Neem, author of Democracy’s Schools: The Rise of Public Education in America

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