Presidents versus Senators

Conflicts and Rivalries That Shaped America

Landmark political confrontations between sitting presidents and powerful senators have occurred throughout American history and some have shaped the nation. This book provides an in-depth look at seven of those major, "Washington wars," including the personal disputes that spawned each one; the strategies and events that transpired as a result; and the aftermaths and impacts of those high stakes conflicts on the country.

Compromise or surrender were never seriously considered in these intense debates, which left scars on the national psyche of their respective times and lasting blemishes on the American saga. Each episode could be worthy of a historic narrative all its own but considered together they illustrate the long and bitter history of democratic warfare between the leaders and branches of government at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. With no quarter given, there were always winners and losers in these intensely personal political conflicts.

From the 1830s battle over eliminating the National Bank to the mid 1970s battle over relinquishing the Panama Canal, the very personal conflicts of President Andrew Jackson versus Senator Henry Clay, President James Buchanan versus Senator Stephen A. Douglas, President Andrew Johnson versus Senator Charles Sumner, President Woodrow Wilson versus Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, President Harry Truman versus Senator Joseph McCarthy, President Lyndon Johnson versus Senator Richard Russell, and President Jimmy Carter versus Senator Paul Laxalt are all covered in detail in three chapter segments. Some were the continuation of longstanding political rivalries, while others grew out of the immediate issues or ideological circumstances of the day. A couple even thrust normal allies into intra-party warfare that would sever relationships forever.

It’s high stakes political history from the American past, the results of which influenced and altered the way our story transpired, both at the time and throughout all the decades since. The echoes of these conflicts and rivals, in fact, will always be integral parts of the American saga.


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