It is common for scholars to distinguish between a ‘traditional presidency’ that existed in the 18th and 19th Centuries and a ‘modern presidency’ that emerged in the mid-20th Century. Proponents of this distinction see the presidency created by the Constitution as fundamentally weak. The modern presidency, by contrast, is portrayed as stronger and able to address the problems of a complex world. This view underestimates the centrality of the Constitution and its importance in creating a baseline of power and authority that all presidents draw upon. ...

A Nation Forged by Crisis (2018, Basic Books) tells the history of the United States through the greatest periods of crisis in each century of its existence. It opens with the 18th Century Revolution and covers the Civil War, Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. These periods of crisis forever altered the nation's political landscape....