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The Legacy of J. William FulbrightPolicy, Power, and Ideology$
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Alessandro Brogi, Giles Scott-Smith, and Snyder David J.

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177700

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177700.001.0001

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date: 30 June 2022

J. William Fulbright on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

J. William Fulbright on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Foreign Policy Intellectual, Public Educator, Restrainer of Presidential Power

(p.46) J. William Fulbright on the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee
The Legacy of J. William Fulbright

Frédérick Gagnon

University Press of Kentucky

Various chairs of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) have played a significant role in shaping US foreign policy since 1945. However, when one considers that J. William Fulbright was a member of the SFRC from 1949 to 1975 and its longest-serving chair (from 1959 to 1975), one can argue that the senator shaped the history of the SFRC like no other. Examining the role and legacy of Fulbright as a member and chair of the SFRC, this chapter argues that three pillars guided his attitude and behavior on the committee: Fulbright saw himself as a foreign policy intellectual and agenda setter, a public educator, and a restrainer of presidential power. This chapter not only describes how Fulbright played these three roles. It also shows that one key aspect of Fulbright’s legacy as chair of the SFRC is that he used the public sphere more than any of his predecessors and immediate successors to try to influence US foreign policy.

Keywords:   J. William Fulbright, Vietnam, Senate, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Agenda setting, Congressional-executive relations, Lyndon Johnson

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