Bishops, Bourbons, and Big Mules tells the story of how the Episcopal Church gained influence over Alabama’s cultural, political, and economic arenas despite being a denominational minority in the state.
The consensus of southern historians is that, since the Second Great Awakening, evangelicalism has dominated the South. This is certainly true when one considers the extent to which southern culture is dominated by evangelical rhetoric and ideas. However, in Alabama one
non-evangelical group has played a significant role in shaping the state’s history. J. Barry Vaughn explains that, although the Episcopal Church has always been a small fraction (around 1 percent) of Alabama’s population, an inordinately high proportion, close to 10 percent, of Alabama’s significant leaders have belonged to this denomination. Many of these leaders came to the Episcopal Church from other denominations because they were attracted to the church’s wide degree of doctrinal latitude and laissez-faire attitude toward human frailty.
Vaughn argues that the church was able to attract many of the state’s governors, congressmen, and legislators by positioning itself as the church of conservative political elites in the state--the planters before the Civil War, the “Bourbons” after the Civil War, and the “Big Mules” during industrialization. He begins this narrative by explaining how Anglicanism came to Alabama and then highlights how Episcopal bishops and congregation members alike took active roles in key historic movements including the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement. Bishops, Bourbons, and Big Mules closes with Vaughn’s own predictions about the fate of the Episcopal Church in twenty-first-century Alabama.
When Barack Obama entered the White House, he followed a long-standing precedent for the development and implementation of major policies by appointing administrators—so-called policy czars—charged with directing the response to the nation’s most pressing crises. Demonstrating that the creation of policy czars is a strategy for combating partisan polarization and navigating the federal government’s complexity, Vaughn and Villalobos offer a sober, empirical analysis of what precisely constitutes a czar and what role they have played in the modern presidency.
In George W. Bush's Healthy Forests, Jacqueline Vaughn and Hanna Cortner detail how the Bush administration, by changing the terms and processes of debate, sidestepped opposition and put in place policies that restrict public and scientific involvement in environmental decisions. Their groundbreaking study analyzes the context and legal effects of the Healthy Forests Initiative, Healthy Forests Restoration Act, and related regulatory changes.
The authors show how the administration used news events such as wildfires to propel legislation through Congress. Focusing blame for wildfires on legal obstacles and environmentalists' use of appeals to challenge fuel-reduction projects, the administration restricted opportunities for environmental analysis, administrative appeals, and litigation. The authors argue that these tools have a history of use by diverse interests and have long protected Americans' right to question government decisions.
This readable study identifies the players, events, and strategies that expedited the policy shift and contextualizes it in the president's career and in legislative and administrative history. Revealing a policy change with major implications for the future of public lands and public process, George W. Bush's Healthy Forests will become required reading in environmental studies and political science.