Miller Center

Leadership in American Politics

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The Miller Center is a nonpartisan institute that seeks to provide critical insights for the nation’s governance challenges.

June 2, 2014 - June 3, 2014

Joint effort between The Miller Center and the Batten School.

Leadership is unquestionably important in the political and policy world, but defining what “leadership” is and determining how it is important systematically is often difficult.  In this conference, we explore the issue of leadership and how it relates to specific parts of the U.S. government, both contemporarily and across time.  In so doing, we examine whether the form and content of leadership varies across governmental units and structures, and whether empirical evidence for leadership is stronger in some areas versus others.  For example, do we consider leadership to be different in analyzing elected officials (president, mayors, members of Congress) versus unelected officials (federal bureaucrats)?  What does leadership mean within the confines of interest groups or national political parties?  Has our expectation of “who should lead, and how” changed over time?

UVAToday article about the conference

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