Political Science 350
Fall, 2006

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Instructor:  Dr. William Harbour                                                                         Office Phone: 395-2219
Office: East Ruffner 228                                                                                      Home Phone: 315-0352
Office Hours: MWF 11:00-12:00                                                       E-Mail: 
                        TR 9:30-10:30

Table of Contents
COURSE DESCRIPTION                                                                                    COURSE OBJECTIVES
EVALUATION METHOD                                                                                REQUIRED READINGS
GRADES                                                                                                                   CLASS DISCUSSION

HONOR CODE                                                                                                             TAKING EXAMS
ATTENDANCE POLICY                                                                                          COURSE OUTLINE

The modern presidency and its role in contemporary politics, emphasizing the constitutional background of the office, the evolution of presidential powers, relationships between the presidency and Congress and the bureaucracy, the presidential election process, and the role of the presidency in policy making.
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 Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate a capacity for critical and analytical thought about the Presidency.

2. Demonstrate an ability to communicate their knowledge and beliefs about the Presidency both orally and in writing.

3. Describe the essential features of the American Presidency.

4. Discuss the roles played by the Presidency in the American political system.

5. Identify information regarding the Presidency that is necessary for useful and responsible citizenship.

6. Discuss important philosophical and ethical issues associated with the exercise of Presidential power and leadership.

7. Describe the major ways in which political scientists have tried to understand the Presidency.

8. Discuss how the presidency has shaped and been shaped by dynamic social forces in the 20th and 21st century.

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The attainment of the course objectives by the students will be evaluated by examining student performance in class discussion and on the essay exams and critical thinking writing exercises required for the course.

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George C. Edwards III.  Readings in Presidential Politics. Belmont, CA.: Thompson Wadsworth, 2006.  ISBN 0-495-00670-X


George C. Edwards III and Stephen J. Wayne.  Presidential Leadership.  Seventh Edition.  Belmont, CA.: Thompson Wadsworth, 2006.  ISBN 0-534-60402-1


Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson.  The American Presidency.  Fourth Edition.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2003.  ISBN 1-56802-739-7.


James C. Pffifner and Roger H. Davidson.  Understanding the Presidency.  Fourth Edition.  New York: Longman, 2007 (available 7/7/06).  ISBN 0-321-43435-8

Students will also be required to purchase a discounted subscription to the New York Times from the Bookstore.  Being aware of current political developments is important to good citizenship.  Each exam will have at least one question requiring students to reflect on current political news regarding the presidency.

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Your grade will be based upon three tests given during the course of the semester, the combined score on ten critical thinking writing exercises, your contribution to class discussion, and a final examination. Each of these will count for 1/6 of your semester grade. All of the tests and the final examination will involve an essay format.

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Students are expected to make contributions to class discussion. Your grade in this regard will be based upon daily participation during the semester.  Students should be prepared to relate the material being studied to current political developments.

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There will be 10 critical thinking writing exercises. These assignments will be three pages in length. They will be done in Microsoft Word with a Font size 12 and double spaced. Any documentation for these exercises will be done according to the Turabian format for a research paper. A shorter version of that style manual can be found on the History style manual at the following web address: <>
The essays must demonstrate reading beyond the class assignments and reflect knowledge of current political events. 

These assignments are found in the course outline and are due by 4:00 each Friday of the week assigned.  Later papers will lose points.

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Students are expected to live by the Longwood University Honor Code. All work done for the class must be pledged.  Your instructor will not tolerate any form of cheating.

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All tests and exams must be taken on time. You are expected to provide proof for any legitimate reason (illness, participation in a University-sponsored activity, or recognizable emergency) you may have for missing a test or exam. Work not handed in on time will lose points.  Each exam will also have at least one question dealing with current political developments regarding the presidency.

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The attendance policy for the course is the same as the University policy found in the University Catalog and the Student Handbook.

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Week 1 Introduction to the study of the Presidency
Aug. 28 – Sept. 1   The Constitution and the Presidency
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 1, Readings 1-5
           Edwards & Wayne, Chpt.1, Appendix A and C
           Milkis & Nelson, Preface, Chpts. 1, 2, 3
The Constitution
Special Topics:
M: Introduction to the study of the Presidency
W: Creating the Presidency
     What are the principal approaches to studying the Presidency?
F:  What does the Constitution have to say about the Presidency?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #1 Identify the most important debates that surrounded the creation of the Presidency.  Explain how some of today’s controversies surrounding the office reflect the concerns raised in those original debates. 

Week 2     Perspectives on Presidential Power and Leadership
Sept. 4-8   Presidential Leadership Roles
 Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 2, Readings 6-11; Section 7, Readings 36, 37
            Edwards, Chpts. 1, 4, 6
Special Topics:
M: No classes on Labor Day
W: How have Presidential powers evolved? What have been some of the principal positions regarding the valid scope of Presidential powers? What dynamic social, economic, political and military forces have shaped the emergence of the modern presidency?
F:  What are the major leadership roles (or jobs) belonging to the modern Presidency?
     What are the most important characteristics of Presidential leadership?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #2 Explain the advantages and disadvantages of the principal models of presidential leadership.  

Week 3     The Selection Process and Political Parties
Sept. 11-15     Read: Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 2, 3, Appendix B and D
                                  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 3, Readings 12-19
                                  Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 4, 5
                                  Edwards, Chpt. 2
Special Topics
M:  How does one go about becoming President?  How do Presidential candidates get nominated?
       What factors shape the conduct and results of Presidential elections?
W:  Case Study: What can be learned from Election 2004?
F:    Is this nation served well by the manner in which it selects Presidents? Should the process be changed?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #3 Explain and evaluate what you regard as the five most important criticisms of the current presidential selection process.  

Week 4        Evaluating Presidential Performance
Sept. 18-22  Presidential Greatness
Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 9, Readings 44-46; Section 7, Reading 35
          Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 6, 11
Special Topics:
M: What makes for Presidential greatness? Case Study: Lincoln
W:  Case Study: FDR
F:   Note:  Your first test for the semester will be on Friday, Sept. 22 and will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 5   Cycles in the Struggle for Power between the President and Congress
Sept. 25-29

Read:  Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 10
           Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 7, Reading 35; Section 6, Readings 31-33
           Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
           Edwards, Chpts. 3, 11
Special Topics:
M: The Era of Congressional Dominance
W:  The Progressives and the Presidency
F:  The Modern Presidency and FDR

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #4  What forces contributed to the rise of the modern Presidency?  How do these forces continue to shape the presidency?

Week 6                The Presidency and Congress
Oct. 2-6                

Read:  Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 10
           Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Readings 31-33; Section 7, Reading, 35
Special Topics:
M: What does the President have going for him in dealing with the Congress?
      What resources are available to Congress in trying to resist presidents?
W:  Case Study: LBJ
F:   What forces limit Presidential influence with Congress?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #5 Why are some presidents more successful in getting their domestic agenda enacted by Congress than others? What makes for Presidential success in dealing with Congress? 

Week 7      Domestic Policy; Economic and Budget Policy       
Oct. 9-13
Read:  Pfifnner & Davidson, Section 7, Readings 35-38
                               Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 12, 13, 14
                               Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 12, 13 
Special Topics:
M:  What factors dominate domestic policy and economic and budget policy?
W:  What resources do Presidents have in these areas? 
F:  What limitations do they face in these areas? 

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #6 What has been the role of ideology in the Bush administration?  


Week 8      The Presidency and the Bureaucracy
Oct. 18-20  Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Readings 29, 30
Special Topics:
W: What have some recent Presidents tried to do in trying to get greater control of the federal bureaucracy? Why are Presidents so often frustrated when it comes to dealing with the federal bureaucracy?
F:  Note:  You will have your second test on Friday, Oct. 20.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Week 9     The Presidential Office, the Cabinet, and Decision Making
Oct. 23-27 Read:  Edwards, Chpt. 12
                             Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 6, 7,  9
                             Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 5, Readings 25-28
Special Topics:
M:  What are the principal offices and agencies which Presidents have at their disposal for decision making?
W:  What is the role of the cabinet in the Executive Branch?
F: What are the problems of coordinating the offices serving the President?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #7 Write a position paper in which you advise a new President on the most important principles he or she should follow in organizing the work of the White House. Also explain the main sorts of problems he should try to avoid. 

Week 10 The Presidency and Foreign Policy
Oct. 30-Nov. 3   
Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 8, Readings 39-43
                           Edwards, Chpt. 10
                           Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 14, 15
                           The War Powers Act, 1973 at:
                Optional:  CRS report on War Powers Act after 30 years:  
Special Topics:
M: What is the extent of the President’s powers in making foreign policy?
      What limits a President’s powers in making foreign policy?
W: What institutional resources do President’s have in this area?
F:  Case Study: The Cuban Missile Crises

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise # 8  Have presidents carried their war making powers too far?  Or are such powers necessary for the security of the country?

Week 11   The Presidency, the Public, the Press, and Political Parties
Nov. 6-10  Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 4, Readings 20-23
                             Edwards, Chpts. 7, 8, 9
                             Edwards & Wayne, Chpts. 4, 5
Special Topics:
M: What are some of the primary factors that influence Presidential popularity?
W:  How do Presidents try to shape public opinion?
F:   Why is the relationship between the President and the press often strained?

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #9 Explain the main factors that influence Presidential popularity.  

Week 12    Presidential Personality and Scandals
Nov. 13-17  Read:  Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 4, Reading 24; Section 8, Reading 42; Section 9, Reading 44
                               Milkis & Nelson, Chpts. 12, 13, 14
                               Edwards, Chpt. 5
                               Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 8
Special Topics:
M: Case Study: Nixon and Watergate
W: Case Study: Reagan and Iran-Contra
F:  Case Study: Clinton, Lewinski and Impeachment

Critical Thinking Writing Exercise #10 What should be learned from the Iran-Contra scandal? What are the lessons about presidential leadership that should be learned from this scandal?.

Week 13     
Nov. 20-21  
M: Note:  You will have your third test on Monday, November 20.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester grade.

Thanksgiving Vacation   November 22-26

Week 14      The Presidency and the Courts, The Vice Presidency, Leadership and Democracy
Nov. 27 - Dec. 1
Read: Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 6, Reading 34; Section 9, Readings 46, 48
          Milkis & Nelson, Chpt.16
          Edwards, Chpt. 13
          Edwards & Wayne, Chpt. 11
Special Topics:
M: What is the impact of the Presidency upon the courts? What impact have the courts had on the Presidency?
W:  How has the office of the Vice President evolved in the past half century?
F:  Are strong presidential leadership and democracy compatible?

Week 15    Recent Presidencies
Dec. 4-8    Read:  Milkis & Nelson, Chpt. 13, 14, 15
                              Pfiffner & Davidson, Section 9, Readings 47, 48
                             Edwards, Chpt. 5
Special Topics:
M: Case Study: Ronald Reagan and George Bush
W:  Case Study: Bill Clinton
F:   Case Study: George W. Bush

Dec. 8            Last Day of Classes
Dec. 9            Reading Day
Dec. 11-15     Final Examinations
                       Your final examination will be a comprehensive essay exam.  It will count for 1/6 of your semester
                       grade.  It will be given on Monday, Dec. 11 at 3:00 P.M. – 5:30 P.M.

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POSC 350
Class Texts:

Thomas E. Cronin and Michael A. Genovese.  The Paradoxes of the American Presidency.  Second Edition.   New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 


Colin Campbell & Bert A. Rockman.  The George W. Bush Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2004. 


James Pfiffner and Roger H. Davidson.  Editors. Understanding the Presidency.  Third Edition.  New York:  Longman Publishing Group, 2003.


Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson.  The American Presidency.  Fourth Edition.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2003. 


Suggested Readings:

Colin Campbell & Bert A. Rockman.  Editors.  The Clinton Legacy.  New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2000.
James David Barber. The Presidential Character. 4th Edition. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1992. 
James MacGregor Burns. Presidential Government. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.
James MacGregor Burns. Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1956.
Lou Cannon. Reagan. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1982.
Jimmy Carter. Keeping the Faith: Memoirs of a President. New York: Bantam Books, 1982.
Jeffrey Cohen & David Nice.  The Presidency.  New York:  McGraw Hill, 2003.
Jeffrey Cohen & David Nice.  The Presidency: Classics and Contemporary Readings.  New York:  McGraw Hill, 2003.
Byron W. Daynes & Glen Sussman.  The American Presidency and the Social Agenda.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2001.
Robert E. DiClerico.  The American President.  Fifth Edition.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000.
George C. Edwards III & Philip John Davies.  New Challenges for the American Presidency.  New York: Longman, 2004.                                                                    
George C. Edwards III & Stephen J. Wayne. Presidential Leadership. Sixth Edition. Belmont, California: Thomson Wadsworth, 2003.
Edward Paul Fuchs. Presidents, Management, and Regulation. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1988.
Alexander L. George and Juliette L. George. Woodrow Wison and Colonel House: A Personality Study. New York: Dover Publications, 1956, 1964.
John Hart. The Presidential Branch: From Washington to Clinton. Second Edition. Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham House, 1995.
John S. Jackson III & William Crotty.  The Politics of Presidential Selection. Second Edition.  New York:  Longman, 2001.
Irving L. Janis. Victims of Groupthink. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1972.
Doris Kearns. Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.
Louis K. Koenig. The Chief Executive. 5th edition. New York: Harcourt Brace Jonavich Publishers, 1986.
William W. Lammers & Michael A. Genovese. The Presidency and Domestic Policy. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2000.
Lance T. LeLoup & Steven A. Shull. Congress and the President: The Policy Connection. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Pub., 1993.
Richard Neustadt. Presidential Power. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley, 1980.
Richard Nixon. The Memoirs of Richard Nixon. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1978.
Willard M. Oliver The Law & Order Presidency.  Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2003.
Gerald M. Pomper  et. al. The Election of 2000.  New York: Chatham House Publishers, 2001.
George Reedy. The Twilight of the Presidency. New York: New American Library, 1970.
Clinton Rossiter. The American Presidency. New York: New American Library, 1956.
Larry Sabato.  Editor.  Overtime: The 2000 Election Thriller.  New York: Longman, 2002.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. The Imperial Presidency. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973.
Lester G. Seligman and Cary R. Covington. The Coalitional Presidency. Chicago: The Dorsey Press, 1989.
Robert J. Spitzer. President and Congress: Executive Hegemony at the Crossroads of American Government. New York: Mc-Graw Hill, Inc., 1993.
Tower Commission. Report of the President's Special Review Board. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1987.
Shirley Anne Warshaw. The Domestic Presidency: Policy Making in the White House. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1997.
Shirley Anne Warshaw.  The Keys to Power: Managing the Presidency.  New York: Longwman, 2000.
Stephen P. Wayne. The Road to the White House 1996: The Politics of Presidential Elections. New York: St. Martins’s Press,1997.
Theodore White. Breach of Faith. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975.
Theodore White. The Making of the President 1960. New York: New American Library, 1961.
Marcia Lynn Wicker and Raymond A. Moore. When Presidents Are Great. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1988.
Aaron Wildavsky. Editor. Perspectives on The Presidency. Boston: Little,Brown, and Company, 1975.

Academic Journals:
American Political Science Review
Presidential Studies Quarterly

Video Series: The American Experience (view films on 20th century presidents)

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