Political Science | The American Presidency
Y318 | 28474 | Bower-Bir

POLS Y318	The American Presidency

The President of the United States is widely considered one of the
most powerful individuals in the world.  We would struggle to discuss
any relevant contemporary issue in American politics without
mentioning the President, his issue positions, and his actions.  This
has not always been the case; the presidency has undergone a
tremendous evolution over time.  America’s founders entrusted to the
office few explicit Constitutional powers for fear of creating too
dominant an executive, yet much of what they feared is reflected in
the vast influence of the modern president.  How did this evolution
occur, and what are its implications for core American values and
everyday politics?

This course provides a thorough and substantive understanding of the
American presidency, which is essential to understanding politics at
the national level.  The course will focus on the institution of the
presidency and less so on the individuals who have held the office,
though analysis of specific historical and contemporary presidents
will aid in our understanding of relevant concepts.  Our main foci
will be:  the origins of the presidency; the growth of its powers;
formal and informal responsibilities of the office; its relationship
with the other branches; interactions between the officeholder, the
media, and the public; and theories about the factors that determine
the character of a given president’s tenure in office.  As an
upper-level political science course, the material will be demanding
and aimed at introducing you to the work of practicing scholars.
Expect a fair amount of writing and rigorous grading standards.
Seriously, y’all… this is serious.