Political Science 321

POSC 321
The American Presidency

Catalog Entry

POSC 321. The American Presidency (AG)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisites: POSC 120

Development of the presidency since the founding of America. Institutional and political problems associated with the modern Chief Executive.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Topics may include:

I. The Creation of the Presidency

A.Executive Power Debated at the Constitutional Convention
B.Executive Power Defended in The Federalist
C.The Removal Debate

II. The Apparatus of the Presidency

A.Electoral College
B.Constitutional Powers & Limits

III. Administrative Chief

A.Removal Powers; Myers & Humphrey Cases
B.Executive Immunities
C.Executive Privilege
D.Presidential Cabinet
E.Budgetary Process

IV. Organization of Foreign Relations

A.President-Congressional Relations
B.Foreign Policy & Public Opinion
C.Commander-In-Chief of Armed Forces

V. Legislative Leader

A.Setting the Agenda
B.Presidential Leadership
C.The President and Congress

VI. Controversies and Problems

A.The Office & the Founders
B.The "Separation of Powers" in Its Modern Context


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Lectures based on assigned reading and classroom discussions of that reading form the core of how the course is conducted. Students are also assigned term papers requiring research on specific aspects of the presidency. Reserve material in the library is utilized, when appropriate, to keep students current on issues that may arise regarding the presidency as the semester progresses.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

The most fundamental goal is to introduce students to a systematic study and understanding of the American presidency. Students should be able to relate the formal aspects of such a study to the ongoing activities of the current president. The final objective is to help make students informed observers of the presidency as an institution.


Assessment Measures

Essay examinations given in-class, term papers, and class participation are the basic methods of examination and assessment. A comprehensive final examination may be given at the end of the course.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 1998 Reviewed M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair