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Barber’s Typology of Presidential Character

James David Barber is, perhaps, the best known political scientist to have published in the area of the psychological makeup of presidents and presidential candidates. Barber’s renown no doubt stems from his prediction prior to the inauguration of Richard Nixon that Nixon would be inclined to become defensive and cover up any major threat to his presidency (and self-esteem) stemming from a scandal. This prediction turned out to be spot on and focused the media spotlight on Barber and his work. His publication of the first edition of The Presidential Character in 1972 brought his earlier prediction into the larger context of his studies on personality and political behavior, a field dating back at least as far as the work of Harold Lasswell in the ...

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