Miller Center

Saladin Ambar

Political Science, Rutgers University

The Rise of the Hudson Progressives: How Governors Helped Shape the Modern Presidency

Ambar photo

Saladin Ambar is Associate Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University.

He teaches courses in American politics on the American presidency and governorship, race and American political development, and political parties and elections. Professor Ambar is the author of How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) which won the Robert C. and Virginia L. Williamson Prize in the Social Sciences, and the newly released Malcolm X at Oxford Union: Racial Politics in a Global Era (Oxford University Press, 2014).  He is currently working on a book about the political career and thought of former New York Governor, Mario M. Cuomo. Since his arrival in 2009, Professor Ambar has been active in Lehigh's Africana Studies program where he has taught courses in Black Political Thought, along with a First Year Seminar on the Political Philosophy of Barack Obama.

Ambar's dissertation explored how pre-presidential executive office and leading Progressive Era state executives built a line of practices that reinvigorated and expanded the scope of presidential action. The central case studies of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt's governorships are examined against a backdrop of shifting executive practices, exemplified by such instrumental governors as Grover Cleveland, Bob LaFollette, and Hiram Johnson. This study challenged the presumption of the modern presidency's origins. It posited that the modern American presidency cannot be fully apprehended without recognition of its ties to developments launched by state executives.

Fellowship year: 2008

Mentor: Sidney Milkis, University of Virginia

Selected Recent Publications

Malcolm X at Oxford Union (Oxford University Press, 2014)

How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)

Malcolm X at the Oxford Union.” Race and Class (London, UK: April, 2012): 24-38.

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