Alumni (National Fellow)

Saladin Ambar

National Fellow
Ph.D. Rutgers University (2008)
Dream Mentor:
Sid Milkis
University of Virginia
Fields of Interest:
American Political Development
The Presidency


Saladin Ambar is an associate professor of political science and senior scholar at Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Professor Ambar teaches courses in American politics on the American presidency and governorship, race and American political development, and political parties and elections. Professor Ambar is most recently the author of American Cicero: Mario Cuomo and the Defense of Liberalism in America (Oxford University Press, 2017) and Malcolm X at Oxford Union (Oxford University Press, 2014). His 2012 publication, How Governors Built the Modern American Presidency (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012) won the Robert C. and Virginia L. Williamson Prize in the Social Sciences. Prior to joining the faculty at Rutgers University, Professor Ambar was an associate professor and department chair at Lehigh University.

Thesis Description:

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

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