The American Presidency
Political Science 344
Dr. Sean F. Evans
Office: PAC A-38
Phone: (731) 661-5237
George W. Bush
came into office hoping to lead a realignment and make the Republican Party the
natural party of government. However, in
his short six years in office, Republicans have disappeared in
For many people,
President Bush is a lame duck with little power and influence in the
The question becomes then: how can the president maximize his power to deal with these problems when others, whether congress or world leaders, have different interests and no reason to follow the president’s lead? This is the question that this class will focus on this semester. In the coming months, we will examine why a president does what he does and how that affects his power. We begin by examining the formal, personal, and institutional sources of power. Next, we examine who is elected, why, and how that affects the president’s ability to govern. We follow this with an examination of one of the president’s most important resources -- public approval -- and how the media affects this. Then, we examine how the president uses his power vis-a-vis other institutions such as Congress, the bureaucracy, and the courts. Finally, we examine how to improve the presidency or whether we should. Along the way, we should also answer how George W. Bush can reclaim his presidency and set it in the right direction and how we can apply the presidency’s lessons for developing leadership in the political, business, social, and/or religious world.
Edwards, George C., and Stephen J. Wayne. 2006. Presidential
Leadership: Politics and Policy Making, 7th ed.
Nelson, Michael. 2006. The Presidency and the Political System,
In addition, it is expected that students will keep abreast of developments in the presidency by reading a daily newspaper. While the local papers are adequate, I suggest reading a national paper, most of which are available on-line. My home page has useful links under News Links (http://www.uu.edu/personal/sevans/_private/news.htm) that might be useful.
Grading. Your grade for this course will come from three exams, your participation in the presidency simulation (see below), and your class participation. Exams are composed of essay questions and cover lectures and reading assignments. There are three exams with the first two exams worth 20% each and the final worth 25% of your final grade. The final exam is cumulative. There are no make-ups for missed exams. If you miss an exam, the final will count twice.
After exams are returned, you must wait 24 hours before discussing the exam with me. This serves as both a cooling off period and as a time for you to reflect upon the exam and what you may have done wrong. We will then sit down and discuss what is wrong, how we can correct this, and how you can improve over the course of the semester. If I make a mistake, I will rectify that, but I do not engage in point grubbing. Finally, your performance at the end of the semester is more important than your performance at the beginning of the semester. If you show dramatic improvement, I will grade you on how you ended the course rather than on how you began the course.
Simulation. This semester you will engage in a role-playing exercise that mimics the presidential advisory system. This simulation involves members of the class acting in the roles of presidential advisors and solving a crisis or problem of some sort. More information regarding this simulation will be discussed after the first exam. The simulation and its accompanying paper are worth 25% of your final grade. Finally, attendance on simulation days is mandatory. The simulation cannot function without your presence. If you know now that you will have a conflict with the simulation, please let me know soon so I can rearrange the schedule.
Participation. Participation is worth 10% of your final grade. Each student is expected to come to class prepared to integrate readings with lecture material and to apply presidential models to the Bush Presidency. I have found that your daily participation is essential to understanding the material and contributing to class discussions. Please do not feel inhibited about speaking. The best means of my determining how well you understand the material is through your discussion. Moreover, an important component of this participation is active feedback. If there are any suggestions that would help you understand the material more fully, please let me know.
In assessing participation, students who attend class but do not participate earn a D. Those who show they read but show a superficial understanding receive a C. Those who read and show they understand the material in discussions receive a B for participation and those who excel by showing a thorough understanding of readings and an ability to connect concepts across lectures, readings, and discussions receive an A for participation. Participation is worth 10% of your grade.
Cheating. Don’t do it. Anyone caught cheating will receive an automatic F for the course and will be referred to the appropriate authorities for punishment.
Communication Devices. Please turn off all cell phones and other portable electronic devices while in my class. Your life is not so important that you need to answer the phone or text your friend immediately. If found using any such device, I reserve the right to answer the phone and/or read your text message to the class.
Extracurricular. Students are expected to attend any special political events this semester.
Special Needs. If you have any special needs that will affect your ability to learn in this class, please inform me and I will take the appropriate steps to help you.
The Syllabus. I reserve the right and prerogative to modify the syllabus in accordance with student and professorial needs. The syllabus should not be construed as a contract.
Jan. 31 Introduction
Feb. 2 Intellectual Origins of the Presidency
McDonald The American Presidency: An Intellectual History, Part I (on reserve)
Feb. 5 Founders’ View of Government
Federalists #10, 51 on reserve or http://thomas.loc.gov/home/histdox/fedpapers.html
Feb. 7 Founder’s View of Presidency
Federalists # 70 on reserve
Feb. 9 History of the Presidency
Feb. 12 Constitutional Powers
Article II of the Constitution
Feb. 14 Two Presidencies
Feb. 16 Persuasive Presidency
Neustadt, Presidential Power and the Modern Presidency chs. 1-3 (on reserve)
Feb. 19 Persuasive Presidency – Happy Presidents’ Day
Neustadt chs. 3-6 (on reserve)
Feb. 21 Psychological Presidency
Nelson in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 8
Feb. 23 Presidential Leadership Style
Greenstein, Presidential Difference (on reserve) – each student will make a presentation concerning the presidential style of one of the featured presidents
Feb. 26 The Institutional Presidency
Burke in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 12
Feb. 28 Presidential Time
Skowronek in Nelson
March 2 Imperial or Imperiled Presidency?
March 5 First Midterm
March 7 The Nomination Process
Pious in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 2
March 9 Presidential Elections
March 12 Presidential Transitions
March 14 Organizing the Presidency: EOP
March 15 No Class – Southwestern Political Science Association
March 19 Organizing the Presidency: Executive Branch
Rudalevige in Nelson
March 21 The Media: Campaign
March 23 The Media: Governing
Hetherington and Globetti and Jacobs in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 5
March 26 Public Opinion: Going Public
Jacobs in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 4
March 28 Public Opinion: Presidential Approval
Miroff in Nelson
March 30 Second Mid-Term
April 2-9 Spring Break – No class
April 11 Presidential Decision Making
April 13 Presidential Decision Making
Allison “Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis” (on reserve)
April 16 President and Congress: Agenda Setting
April 18 President and Congress: Making Laws
Dickinson and Milkis in Nelson
April 20 Presidential Advisory Simulation
April 23 Presidential Advisory Simulation
April 25 President and Congress: Divided Government
Quirk and Nesmith in Nelson
April 27 President and Bureaucracy: Administrative Presidency
Lewis in Nelson; Edwards and
April 30 President and the Courts: Policy Change
Yalof in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 11
May 2 Foreign Policy: The NSC
Polsky in Nelson; Edwards and Wayne ch. 14-15
May 4 Foreign Policy: The
May 7The Bush Presidency – An Assessment
May 9 Reforming the Presidency
Edwards and Wayne, ch. 15
May 11 Catch-up and Review
May 16 Final Exam 9am