Political Science | The American Presidency
Y318 | 3367 | Bickers
This course is designed to provide an examination of the American
presidency. Key issues and themes will include the following: the
development of the current form of presidential campaigns and elections; the
emergence of the presidency as the central political institution within the
American political arena; the relationship between the president and the
executive branch, Congress, and the judiciary; and the role of the president
in the policy process.
Along the way we will examine several questions: Does the process by which
we select presidents give us qualified, capable people to run the
government? Are the powers of the presidency adequate to permit the
president to meet the responsibilities of the office? How well does the
institution of the presidency work? What reforms, if any, might improve the
functioning of the presidency and the U.S. government, more generally?
These and related questions will be our primary focus during the semester.
We will seek to answer them in the context of both the historical
foundations of the presidency, as well as the experience of recent
The format of the course will be largely lecture in style, but will be kept
sufficiently informal that questions and discussions will be possible. The
grade for the course will be determined on the basis of three exams, a term
paper of 5 to 8 pages in length, and a variety of in-class assignments.