Governors in American History
To commemorate their 2008 centennial, the National Governors Association (NGA) has, in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, sponsored two books highlighting the central roles of governors in American history. By showcasing innovative new scholarship by scholars across the country, these books, A Legacy of Leadershipand A Legacy of Innovation, aim to inspire a new generation of scholars of history, political science, and public policy to turn their attention to the achievements of governors. These two books take different perspectives. While A Legacy of Leadership recounts the history of governors, A Legacy of Innovation evaluates the public policy issues that affected and were influenced by governors over the past century.
Over the last few years, the Library has hosted two post-doctoral fellows, Ethan Sribnick and Clayton McClure Brooks, acting as editors of these books. Woodrow Wilson's role in the founding of NGA made this a natural partnership. At one of the earliest meetings of the nation's governors, in 1910, then governor-elect Wilson outlined a lasting vision for the new organization. He correctly predicted, "If these conferences become fixed annual events, planned for and carried forward from year to year as an habitual means of working towards common ends of counsel and co-operation, this council will at least become an institution."
These two books celebrate the spirit of cooperation, leadership, and innovation that has been exemplified by many of the nation's governors.