Jeremy M. Teigen: Why Veterans Run - Print

Why more than half of American presidential candidates have been military veterans—and why it matters


Why Veterans Run

Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016

Jeremy M. Teigen

paper EAN: 978-1-4399-1436-6 (ISBN:1-4399-1436-2)
$34.95, Jan 18, Available

cloth EAN: 978-1-4399-1435-9 (ISBN:1-4399-1435-4)
$99.50, Jan 18, Available

Electronic Book EAN: 978-1-4399-1437-3 (ISBN:1-4399-1437-0)
$34.95, Jan 18, Available

300 pp, 6 x 9, 10 tables, 7 line drawings

"Jeremy Teigen has written a timely survey of veterans running for political office in America, starting with the first vet, George Washington. In an era in which fewer Americans serve in the all-volunteer military, the military is one of the few institutions that retains the trust of the American people. Why Veterans Run is an interesting read."
Karl Rove, Former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, Wall Street Journal columnist, and Fox News contributor

The assumptions that military service helps candidates attract votes—while lacking it harms a candidate's chances-has been an article of faith since the electoral coronation of George Washington in 1789. Perhaps the most compelling fact driving the perception that military service helps win votes is the large number of veterans who have held public office. Some candidates even exaggerate their military service to persuade voters. However, sufficient counter-examples undermine the idea that military veterans enjoy an advantage when seeking political office.

In Why Veterans Run, Jeremy Teigen explains the tendency of parties to elevate those with armed forces experience to run for high office. He describes the veteran candidate phenomenon by examining the related factors and patterns, showing why different eras have more former generals running and why the number of veterans in election cycles varies. With both quantitative and qualitative analysis, Why Veterans Run investigates each postwar era in U.S. electoral history and elaborates why so many veterans run for office. Teigen also reveals how election outcomes with veteran candidates illuminate the relationship between the military and civilian spheres as well as the preferences of the American electorate.



Read Chapter 1 (pdf).



"An empirically rich and theoretically grounded contribution that sheds new light on America's long-running 'love-hate' relationship with the military. Teigen is a leading scholar of the role of veterans in electoral politics and Why Veterans Run is an important study of a question as old as the Federalist Papers and as fresh as the next election."
Peter Feaver, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, and author of Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations




1. Veterans Running for President
2. Explaining Why Veterans Run
3. Early Republic: George Washington through James Monroe
4. Antebellum Generals: Andrew Jackson through the Civil War
5. Civil War Generals and the Bloody Shirt: George McClellan through William McKinley
6. Early Twentieth Century: Theodore Roosevelt through Adlai Stevenson
7. The "Greatest Generation": Dwight Eisenhower through Bob Dole
8. Mixed Legacy of Vietnam: Bill Clinton through Donald Trump
Conclusion: Contemplating a Future with Fewer Veterans in Politics



About the Author(s)

Jeremy M. Teigen is Professor of Political Science at Ramapo College in New Jersey.


Subject Categories

Political Science and Public Policy


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