Political Science 308 (Main Campus)
The American Chief Executive
Professor Wyckoff, Spring 2005
Hours: MW 11:00-12:00 & by appointment
This course provides a broad introduction to the American Presidency. We begin by examining the historical evolution of the office and the processes through which Presidents are selected. The second part of the course considers the modern Presidency with a particular emphasis on the role of the President as legislative leader.
II. REQUIRED READINGS
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).
Other readings, in the form of handouts or articles located online, will also be assigned from time to time. All students are also expected to keep track of Presidents Bushs efforts to steer his policy agenda through the Congress this year. One of the essay questions on the final exam will deal with this issue. Several good newspapers that follow Washington politics closely and regularly are available online, free of charge, including washingtonpost.com, and nytimes.com. In addition, a very useful specialty publication, nationaljournal.com, is available free if you have an NIU account. Please take advantage of one or more of these news sources as you take this course.
III. COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND RULES OF THE GAME
Exams. Two midterms and a final exam will be given. Each exam will contribute 33.3% toward your final grade. All will have a significant long essay component plus a few additional items such as multiple choice and/or identification questions.
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 must be provided by the student.
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, 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 be setting up a seating chart about one week from today, and from then on will keep a daily record of attendance.
Cell Phones. Cell phones are generally forbidden and should be turned off upon entering the classroom. First time violators will receive a friendly rebuke. Repeat violators will be asked to leave the classroom. Any exceptions to this general policy must be explicitly negotiated, in advance, with the instructor.
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 instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can help you obtain needed assistance. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services for students with disabilities. The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303). I look forward to working with you to enhance your academic success in this course.
IV. WEEKLY TOPICS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
PART I: SETING THE STAGE
Jan. 19 Introduction to the course
Jan. 26 Presidential Nominations and Elections
Milkis and Nelson, pp. 30-34.
Pfiffner, pp. 6-11 and Ch. 2, pp. 16-42.
Feb. 2 The Partisan Structure of Presidential Politics
*Bibby, "The Party Battle in America," Ch. 2 in John Bibby, Politics, Parties and Elections in America (Wadsworth, 4th Edition, 2000). (e-reserves)
*Campbell, "A Classification of the Presidential Elections." (e-reserves)
*Skowronek, "Presidential Leadership in Political Time." (e-reserves)
PART II: THE PRESIDENCY IN THE 18th AND 19th CENTURIES
Feb. 9 The Presidency in the Constitution
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 1-2.
Federalist Papers #48 (paragraphs 1-3) and #51 (paragraphs 1-5) in documents located at: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/federal/fed.htm
Feb. 16 Implementing the Presidency: The Federalists and the Jeffersonians
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 3-4.
Feb. 23 EXAM I
Mar. 2 Jackson, Lincoln and the 19th Century Reaction Against Presidential Power
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 5-7.
Mar. 9 Transitional Presidents: T.R., Wilson and F.D.R.
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 8-9, Ch. 10 (esp. pp. 261-265) and Ch. 11 (esp. pp. 270-286).
SPRING BREAK: Week of March 14
PART III: THE MODERN PRESIDENCY
Mar. 23 Organizing the Modern Presidency
Pfiffner, Ch. 3-5.
Mar. 30 The President and National Security
Pfiffner, Ch. 7.
Milkis and Nelson, review pp. 286-304 in Ch. 11 (Truman and Eisenhower).
April 6 Exam II
April 13 The President as Legislative Leader; Going Public
Pfiffner, Ch. 6 and pp. 43-52.
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 12.
April 20 The President and the Budget Process
Milkis and Nelson, Ch. 13-15.
April 27 Abuse of Power and Reputation I
Pfiffner, Ch. 8.
Milkis and Nelson, review relevant material for Grant, Harding, Nixon, Reagan and Clinton.
May 4 Abuse of Power and Reputation II
Pfiffner, Ch. 8 (finish).
May 11 FINAL EXAM In this classroom from 6:00 7:50.