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Many argue that the presidency has been fundamentally changed by the tenure of Donald Trump. Is this right? To study the presidency is to study human nature and individual personality, constitution and institution, strategy and contingency. This course will examine the problems and paradoxes that attend the exercise of the most powerful political office in the world’s oldest democracy: Can an executive office be constructed with sufficient energy to govern and also be democratically accountable? How much do we attribute the shaping of politics to the agency of the individual in the office and to what extent are politics the result of structural, cultural, and institutional factors? Are the politics of the presidency different in foreign and domestic policy? How are national security concerns balanced with domestic priorities such as the protection of civil liberties? How is the office and purpose of the presidency affected by an economic order predicated on private capital? Exploration of these questions will lead us to examine topics such as presidential selection, the bases of presidential power, character and leadership issues, congressional-executive relations, the media, and emergency powers. Attention will focus largely on the modern presidency, though older historical examples will also be used to help us gain perspective on these problems.
Format: lecture; discussion
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
three short to medium length papers, small group projects, and class participation
Political Science majors and Leadership studies concentrators
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: