Charles O. Jones, an American political scientist who was a leading authority on Congress and the United States presidency, died on Jan. 3 in Fishersville, Va. He was 92.

His death, in a hospice facility, was confirmed by his son Daniel.

Through decades of teaching at several universities, as well as in some 18 books he wrote or edited and dozens of review articles and oral history projects, Mr. Jones, a former president of the American Political Science Association, demonstrated a distinctive gift for simplifying the complexities of the American political system.

The American way of governing “is the most intricate ever devised,” Mr. Jones wrote in “The Presidency in a Separated System” (1994). But though he was respectful of that intricacy, he wasn’t awed by it. As a Midwesterner of working-class origins, he felt his mission was to demystify the complex.

Mr. Jones was at pains to show, in a plain, down-to-earth style, that though the American system of checks and balances and separation of powers was unique, it was the product of flesh-and-blood humans interacting with one another.


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