Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Anti-Intellectualism in the Modern Presidency: A Republican Populism

  • Colleen J. Shogan (a1)

Due to the amplified importance of forging an intimate connection with the American public, modern presidents must adjust their political personalities and leadership. To combat allegations of elitism, recent Republican presidents have adopted anti-intellectualism as a conservative form of populism. Anti-intellectualism is defined as disparagement of the complexity associated with intellectual pursuits, and a rejection of the elitism and self-aware attitude of distinction that is commonly associated with intellectual life. This article focuses on the benefits and costs of anti-intellectualism as a strategic response to the plebiscitary demands of contemporary presidential politics.Colleen J. Shogan is a member of the Affiliate Research Faculty at George Mason University ( She is a full-time employee of the United States Senate, and the author of The Moral Rhetoric of American Presidents (Texas A&M Press, 2006). Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Miller Center of Public Affairs Colloquia Series on Politics and History and Notre Dame's Program in American Democracy Speaker Series. She would like to thank Sidney Milkis, Brian Balogh, Jennifer Hochschild, Peri Arnold, Bruce Miroff, Eileen Hunt-Botting, Christina Wolbrecht, David Adesnik, and several anonymous reviewers for their suggestions and institutional support.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Galvin, Daniel, and Colleen Shogan. 2004. Presidential politicization and centralization across the modern-traditional divide. Polity 36 (3): 477505.

Moe, Terry, and William Howell. 1999. Unilateral action and presidential power: A theory. Presidential Studies Quarterly 29 (4): 85072.

Skowronek, Stephen. 2005. Leadership by definition: First term reflections on George W. Bush's political stance. Perspectives on Politics 3 (4): 81731.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 26
Total number of PDF views: 85 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 508 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.