American Presidency PoliticalScience 18-355 

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    Course description:
    This course focuses on the modern presidency.  We study how the office has  evolved from the  limited role the constitutional framers envisioned for this office to the awesome responsibilities and authority the president has today. We examine how presidential authority and leadership have grown during the 20th century. 

    The presidency is the center of American government today.  When there is a crisis, the public, the media, Congress, and state and local governments look to the president for direction.  When policy is successful and the economy is good the president usually enjoys high ratings.  Conversely, when things go wrong the president is blamed.  Since we do not live under a presidential system of government,  the presidency is a paradox with high expectations for success but with constitutional and cultural limits. 

    Since ours is a system of separation of powers, checks and balances, and shared responsibilities the president operates with limited powers.  To solve crises and address national problems for which he will be held accountable, the president must use the powers of his office effectively. This is our focus of attention.  How the president transforms  the formal and informal resources of his office into the power that enables him to dominate the rest of the government.

    In the first part of this course we analyze the formal, personal, and institutional sources of power. We study how power is exerted through an analysis of the roles and functions of the presidency. Next, we consider the relationship of the president to Congress, the public, the media, interest groups, and the bureaucracy in the policy making processes. This is followed by an examination of the differences between domestic and foreign policy making by the president. Finally, we end by examining recommendations to reform the presidency. I should add that  since we are in the mist of a presidential impeachment trial, we will discuss impeachment frequently throughout the course. 

    Assigned Reading:
    Shirley Anne Warshaw, The Keys to Power, Pearson Longman, 2nd dition, 2005.  In addition to the text, students will read articles that we will discuss in class.  Most of these are short pieces that have appeared in newspapers and magazines and cover current issues involving the presidency. 

    Three exams will be given.  All tests are essay tests.  An exam will be given after completion of each major section of the readings. 

    Grades are based on three in-class essay exams (each 30% of the grade), and participation (10%). The participation component comes from in-class discussions and participation in the listserv discussions. 

    Use of the Internet with this Course
    The Internet will serve the following purposes:

    1. Provide distribution of class handouts, review outlines and sample tests
    2. Identify links to sites on the Internet that will be useful to students
    3. Offer a way for students to comment on the contents of the course including the readings, lectures and class discussions
    4. Provide a electronic method to post announcements, reminders and grades
    5. Present an opportunity for students to participate in electronic discussions with students and the instructor
    Office Hours:

    Office Location:  Room 206, McNamara Hall 
    Hours:    Monday        1100 to 12:00 
                  Wednesday   11:00 to 12:00 
                  Friday           11:00 to 12:00 
    Other times by appointment 

    You can also reach me by using email either at Lewis or at home.  At Lewis send to: 
               At home send to:
    For the fastest results use the Lewis address on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and my home address on Tuesday and Thursday. 

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  Questions: Joe Gaziano
Lewis University, One University Parkway Romeoville, Il.,60446