American Presidency PoliticalScience 18-355
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.
Use of the Internet with this Course
Office Location: Room 206, McNamara Hall
You can also reach me by using email either at Lewis or at home.
At Lewis send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lewis University, One University Parkway Romeoville, Il.,60446