The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

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Product Details

$29.95  $27.85
Belknap Press
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.9 X 1.7 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Lindsay M. Chervinsky is a presidential historian and expert on US government institutions. She is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, and teaches on the American presidency at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. She has contributed to the Washington Post, TIME, USA Today, The Hill, and, among others, and has a regular column in Washington Monthly.


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 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
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
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
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 (03/01/2020)
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" (04/16/2020)