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Counting the Public In

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"A major scholarly work that adds greatly to our knowledge of the linkages between general public opinion and foreign policy." -- American Political Science Review

Ralph Levering Department of History, Davidson College, and author of The Public and American Foreign Policy, 1918-1978
An impressive achievement. Counting the Public In is the finest study to date of the relationship between public opinion and the policy-making process on foreign affairs in modern U.S. history. This book is likely to be viewed as one of the few truly seminal works on the making of foreign policy in democracies published in this decade.

Lawrence R. Jacobs Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota
Douglas Foyle addresses the age-old tension between elite decision making and democratic input in a strikingly new way. Foyle's careful study of American foreign policy rejects the false choice that public opinion is either omnipotent or irrelevant to government decisions. Rather, Foyle argues that public opinion's influence on foreign policy making varies quite significantly based on political and policy contexts as well as officeholder's belief systems. Foyle's findings and theoretical framework define the leading edge of research on foreign policy and public opinion.

This book makes a significant contribution to our knowledge concerning how presidents conceive of and use public opinion in shaping their foreign policies. In an original and creative way, the author has looked at archival materials to understand when presidents bring public opinion into the policymaking process. His finding that presidents´ beliefs about the relevance of public opinion in a pluralist society affect the importance they attach to such opinion expands current thinking about what the nexus between leaders and the public in a democracy is as well as raises issues about what it should be.

About the Author

Douglas C. Foyle is assistant professor in the government department at Wesleyan University.



 

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