Political Science 308
The American Chief Executive
Professor Mikel Wyckoff
Office: Zulauf 403 753-7056
Hours: MW 11:00-12:00 & by appointment
This course provides a broad introduction to the American Presidency. We begin by examining the processes through which Presidents are selected and the historical evolution of the office. The second part of the course considers the emergence of the modern Presidency with its emphases on the President as legislative leader and national security leader.
The following books are required for the course and are available for purchase at the campus bookstores:
Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and
Development (4th Edition, 2003, CQ Press).
James P. Pfiffner, The Modern Presidency (4th Edition, 2005, Thomson-Wadsworth Press).
Glenn Greenwald, How Would a Patriot Act? (2006, Working Assets Publishing).
Other required readings
must be located online. I also encourage you to keep track of: (1) this
years midterm Congressional Elections; and (2) Presidents Bushs
ongoing efforts to maintain congressional, judicial, and popular support for
his various policies. Several good news agencies that follow
III. COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND RULES OF THE GAME
Exams. One midterm and a final exam will be given. Each exam will contribute 50% toward your final grade. Both will have a significant long essay component plus some multiple choice, identification, and/or matching questions.
Attendance and Proper Decorum. Attendance is not formally computed into your grade but I expect you to come to class regularly, to be on time when at all possible, to exhibit proper decorum in the classroom, and to do the assigned readings on schedule. To encourage you in this regard I reserve the right to increase a final course grade by up to one-third of a letter as a reward for good class participation. To help me learn your names I will set up a seating chart next week and from then on keep a daily record of attendance.
Cell Phones, etc. Cell phones, iPods and other electronic devices are generally forbidden and should be turned off upon entering the classroom. Any exceptions to this policy must be explicitly negotiated, in advance, with the instructor. First time violators will receive a friendly rebuke. Repeat violators will be asked to leave the classroom.
Makeup exams and grades of incomplete will be provided cheerfully when needed, but only for reasons of significant illness, personal tragedy, or other similarly extraordinary circumstances, and documentary evidence of the extraordinary circumstances normally must be provided by the student.
Students with Disabilities. NIU abides by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandates reasonable accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of accommodation, please let me know. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with NIUs Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR). The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303). I look forward to working with you.
IV. WEEKLY TOPICS AND
Part I: Setting the Stage
Aug. 29 Introduction to the course
Sept. 5 Presidential Nominations and Elections
Milkis and Nelson, pp. 30-34.
Pfiffner, pp. 6-11 and
V.O. Key, A Theory of Critical Elections, Journal of Politics (1955), pp. 3-11 only.
(Locate at www.jstor.org using an NIU Internet connection).
Sept. 12 Party Realignment and Presidential Leadership
Bibby, "The Party Battle in
Skowronek, Presidential Leadership in Political Time. (e-reserves)
Part II: The Presidency in the 18th and 19th Centuries
Sept. 19 The Presidency in the Constitution
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 1-2.
Federalist Papers #48 (paragraphs 1-3), #51 (paragraphs 1-5) and #69 (all).
Charlie Savage, Bush Could Bypass New Torture Ban, Boston Globe article at:
Sept. 26 Implementing the Presidency: The Federalists and the Jeffersonians
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 3-4.
Oct. 3 Presidential Leadership in the Jacksonian Era; The Rise of Lincoln and the Republican Party
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 5-6.
Skowronek, review pp. 127-133 (
Oct. 10 The 19th Century Reaction Against Presidential Power and the Re-emergence of Strong
Presidential Leadership in the Progressive Era
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 7-9.
Oct. 17 Midterm Exam
Part III: The Modern Presidency
Oct. 24 Last Gasps of the Deferential Presidency; The Rise of the New Deal and the Modern Presidency
Milkis and Nelson, Ch 10 and
Skowronek, review pp. 127-129, 134-137 (FDR).
Oct. 31 Organizing the Presidency in the Post-WW II, New Deal Era
Pfiffner, Ch. 4-5.
Skowronek, review pp. 137-139, 145-151 (JFK), and pp. 151-153, 157-163 (Carter).
Nov. 7 The President as Legislative Leader; Going Public
Nov. 14 The President and National Security I
Milkis and Nelson, review pp. 282-304 (HST and Eisenhower confront the Cold War); and
pp. 322-323 (LBJ and
Youngstown Co. v. Sawyer (1952). Locate at www.findlaw.com/casecode/supreme.html using
the Party Name Search box. Read the opinion of the Court by Justice Black and give a close
reading to the concurring opinion by Justice Jackson (scroll down to find it).
Peter W. Galbraith, Mindless in
Nov. 21 The President and National Security II: The War on Terror
Erwin Chemerinsky, Speakers Cornered, at www.slate.com/id/2146477
Akhil Reed Amar, Stealing First, at www.slate.com/id/2146007
George F. Will, No Checks, Many Imbalances, (e-reserves)
Erwin Chemerinsky, Every Executive Needs a Limit, at www.slate.com/id/2147955
Stuart Taylor, Wiretap: How To Fix FISA, locate at www.nationaljournal.com
Nov. 28 The President and National Security III: The War on Terror
Greenwald, Ch. 2-3 in How Would a Patriot Act?
Excerpt from Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004). (e-reserves)
David Cole, Why the Court Said No [in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 2006].
Locate at www.nybooks.com/articles/19212
John Sifton, Criminal, Immunize Thyself, at www.slate.com/id/2147585
Harvey Mansfield, The Law and the President, locate online at:
Dec. 5 Abuse of Power and Reputation
Dec. 12 FINAL EXAM In this classroom from 6:00 7:50.