Political Science | The American Presidency
Y318 | 27231 | Holahan


Over the past two centuries the office of President has evolved into
a powerful branch of government, despite very few original
Constitutional powers.  Indeed most would argue that the framers of
the Constitution were fearful of a strong executive and
intentionally spread authority across various branches of government
to prevent the President from becoming too powerful.  How exactly
has the Presidency evolved?  What are the implications of this for
representative government?  What role does the modern President play
in shaping domestic and foreign policies?  What makes a “good”
President in the modern environment?

This course examines the evolution of the office of President from
the time of the Constitutional convention through the modern era.
We will focus on the office of the President and the executive
branch generally, rather than on specific individuals who have held
the office.  Nonetheless some discussion of individual Presidents
will be necessary in order to more fully comprehend the
transformations that have taken place.  In addition to examining the
powers of the President, we will look at how the President interacts
with the federal courts, bureaucracy and Congress.  We will examine
the role of the media in shaping the modern Presidency and the role
of foreign policy in defining the modern President’s role in world
affairs.  Finally, since we are in the midst of a Presidential
election, some time will be spent discussing the selection process
generally and on the 2008 election specifically.