Introduction: Robert F. Wagner, the Forgotten Mayor

  • Richard M. Flanagan


Both the public and academics have largely forgotten three-term mayor Robert F. Wagner (1954–1965). However, his administration institutionalized New York liberalism and created the modern political system. Robert Wagner was one of the most influential mayors in the city’s history.


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  1. 1.
    Wagner is characterized as a “broker” mayor in Douglas Yates’ book, The Ungovernable City: The Politics of Urban Problems and Policy Making (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  2. Wallace Sayre and Herbert Kaufman, Governing New York (New York: Russell Sage, 1960).Google Scholar
  3. Robert Caro’s The Power Broker: Robert. Moses and the Fall of New York (New York: Random House, 1975)Google Scholar
  4. H. Paul letters, The Napoleon of New York: Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (New York: Wiley, 2002)]Google Scholar
  5. Vincent Cannato, The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York (New York: Basic Books, 2002)]Google Scholar
  6. Joseph Viteritti, editor. Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2014)]Google Scholar
  7. Jonathan Soffer, Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2012)]Google Scholar
  8. Chris McNickle, The Power of the Mayor: David Dinkins, 1990–1993 (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012)]Google Scholar
  9. Rudy Giuliani, [Fred Siegel and Harry Siegel, The Prince of the City: Giuliani, New York and the Genius of American Life (New York: Encounter Books, 2006Google Scholar
  10. Julian Brash, Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City (Athens, GA: Univ. of Georgia Press, 2012)].Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    On the concept of “path dependence” in political science, see: Paul Pierson, “Path Dependence, Increasing Returns, and the Study of Politics,” American Political Science Review, 94:2, (June 2000), 251–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kenneth Finegold and Theda Skocpol, State and Party in Americas New Deal (Madison: University of Winconsin Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  13. 3.
    I borrow the term “hidden-hand” from Fred Greenslein’s revisionist description of Dwight Eisenhower’s presidency in The Hidden Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader, 2nd Edition (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1984).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Richard M. Flanagan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Flanagan
    • 1
  1. 1.City College of New YorkCollege of Staten IslandUSA

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