About Matthew Dickinson

Matthew Dickinson is a professor of political science at Middlebury College. He taught previously at Harvard University, where he also received his Ph.D., working under the supervision of presidential scholar Richard Neustadt. Dickinson is the author of Bitter Harvest: FDR, Presidential Power, and the Growth of the Presidential Branch (Cambridge University Press), co-editor of   Guardian of the Presidency: The Legacy of Richard E. Neustadt (Brookings Institution Press) and has published numerous articles on national governing institutions, including Congress, the bureaucracy, the presidency, presidential decision making, and presidential advisers. His current book project, titled Leader or Clerk? The President and the White House Staff: People, Positions and Processes, 1945-2008, examines the growth of presidential staff in the post-World War II era.

Dickinson lives in Vermont with his wife Alison and his two sons Ethan and Seth’s science fiction book collection. When he is not blogging about the presidency, Dickinson likes to hike, swim, build stone walls and root for the Red Sox.


  1. I enjoy your commentary.
    I will read your book at presidential power. When I worked for the late U.S. Sen. George D. Aiken (1969-1974), Aiken’s last term, he delivered a speech how FDR had rendered the Congress “4-F” during WW 2 and started sapping its power. The Aiken speech was delivered in the early 1970’s, about the time of the War Powers resolution debate.
    Steve Terry

  2. Steve,

    I’m pleased that you are finding the posts enjoyable. As you know, Aiken wasn’t the only person who thought FDR essentially usurped congressional authority during World War II . Many critics trace the rise of the “imperial” presidency to FDR’s leadership during this period. It’s interesting, however, that it was the last war for which Congress actually exercised its constitutional warmaking powers and actually declared war. This is one of the issues that is driving Ron Paul’s support – an effort to return the war-making power to Congress.

  3. My admiration is dimmed by yours for Miller Lite (kids’ beer). Also hasn’t chablis given way to chardonney? Finally, the weeds around the pool need attention.

  4. Matt,
    I thought your piece was informative and one of the best summaries of the polling follies that I have read so far this electoral season . Wish I could join you to watch the returns tonight. I hope you get a good crowd.
    Chip Elfner ’66 Pol. Sci. A.B.

  5. Matt:
    When will you gear up for the 2014 Congreswsinal Elections? I’m interested in reading your take, especially aobut the Senate and the effect of a possible Republican Majority to go with the House.

    I’m planning to be at Midd for the first home football game in late September. Maybe I can buy you a beer and exchange some thoughts.

    Shelly Sloan

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