Succession and Democratic Theory

  • Philip Abbott
Part of the The Evolving American Presidency Series book series (EAP)


In his classic study of political power, Bertrand de Jouvenal presents several models of political succession in Polynesia. On Tonga, a king was selected from a single family. Upon assuming office, all inhabitants of the island kissed his feet. Whenever he spoke, they responded in unison, “How true!” But this leader exercised no direct political power. Upon taking office, he lived apart and prayed and mediated. Another leader, chosen in a contest, ruled. Jouvenal calls the one the “passive king” and the other, the “active king.” He notes that in the Fiji islands the leaders bore the names, “the respectable king” and the “root of war.”


Vice President Democratic Theory Electoral College Direct Election Presidential Succession 
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    Ibid., pp. 229, 259. For Skowronek, TR is also a difficult case since his policies bore some resemblance to reconstructive politics and his campaign for the presidency in 1912 promised major departures.Google Scholar

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© Philip Abbott 2008

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  • Philip Abbott

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