Jordan Cash’s Two New Books

April 19, 2024
Lone Star

Adding the Lone Star explores the annexation of Texas one of the most momentous actions the United States government took in the antebellum period. Apart from adding what was the largest state in the Union at that time, it expedited further avenues for westward expansion, exacerbated tensions with Mexico resulting in the Mexican-American War, and accelerated the sectional conflict over slavery. Cash focuses on the annexation of as a two-president decision while examining the administrations of American President John Tyler and Texian President Sam Houston, providing a comparative case study of the American and Texian presidencies to better comprehend how executive authority may be used in a system of separation of powers.

Tyler’s ability to push his agenda on Texas despite the lack of institutional support shows the strength of premodern presidential power. Houston’s actions give an alternative view of executive authority, since the Texian Republic, including the powers bestowed on the presidency, was structured on the model of its American counterpart. The examination of how these two presidents worked on the same issue at the same time but in largely different constitutional, institutional, political, and geographical contexts provides not only a better understanding of the history and politics of annexation but also an investigation of the nuances of presidential power in a constitutional system of checks and balances and separation of powers.


Cash argues in The Isolated Presidency that the presidency possesses an internal logic derived from structure, duties, and powers of the Constitution which not only grants the president a unique institutional perspective, but also provides the president with considerable agency and discretion in pursuing agendas. He offers case studies of “isolated” presidents, John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, Gerald Ford, presidents who were unelected, faced divided government, and were opposed by major factions of their own political parties. His studies show how these presidents were able to achieve major policy successes solely by use of their constitutional powers. According to Jeffrey K. Tulis of the University of Texas at Austin, Cash’s work is “original, insightful, exceptionally well written, a must read for presidency scholars and their students." 

Cash is an Assistant Professor in the James Madison College at Michigan State University. His research focuses on American politics, constitutional law, and American political thought and development. His work has appeared in Polity; American Political Thought; Presidential Studies Quarterly; Law and History Review; Congress & the Presidency; Journal of Transatlantic Studies; and Laws. He has also published chapters in several edited volumes. He was previously a Lecturer at Baylor University and the Founding Director of the Zavala Program for Constitutional Studies, as well as a post-doctoral research specialist in the Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy at the University of Virginia. His volume on Congressional Deliberation: Major Debates, Speeches, and Writings, 1774-2023 (edited with Kevin J. Burns) is forthcoming from Hackett Press in 2024. For Cash’s cv, see