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        Going International: Presidential Activity in the Post-Modern Presidency
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        Going International: Presidential Activity in the Post-Modern Presidency
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Abstract

A century ago, Woodrow Wilson rejected as unnatural the idea of a static political system tethered by a mechanical set of checks and balances. He said “Government is not a machine but a living thing. It is modified by its environment, necessitated by its tasks, shaped to its functions by the sheer pressure of living.” In a similar vein, Dodd argued that, by its very nature, the historical process creates dynamic change. He recommended thinking in terms of the “transformational analysis” of the circumstances in which the office of the presidency is fundamentally altered. To speak of such transformation is not to deny the continuities between presidents, but merely to emphasize the significance of differences. The theory of the modern presidency, starting under FDR in the 1930s is, Dodd said, a significant example of an inherently time bound concept. This paper picks up Rose's gauntlet that suggests that internal changes within America and changes in the world in which it has become an increasingly important actor in the last half century, together raise the possibility of a further transformation in terms of which we should now think of a post-modern presidency.