From Private Consultation to Public Crusade: Assessing Eisenhower's Legislative Strategies on Foreign Policy
33 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2010 Last revised: 9 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2010
Existing scholarship describes Congress as deferring to Dwight Eisenhower on foreign policy during the majority of his presidency. In this article, I demonstrate that Congress resisted key elements of Eisenhower’s foreign policy agenda throughout his presidency, and that Eisenhower needed to employ a variety of sophisticated strategies to obtain congressional backing. On foreign aid — one of his top presidential priorities — Eisenhower launched a multifaceted and innovative campaign to build congressional support, which included the establishment of White House-funded private advocacy groups to educate the public about the issue. Eisenhower’s approach on foreign aid reveals that he was willing to depart from his “hidden-hand” leadership style when necessary to advance a top priority, but that even when going public, Eisenhower relied in part on others to deliver his message.
Keywords: Presidency, Congress, Eisenhower, foreign policy, going public
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