Political Science 790: 306
The American Presidency
Mon. & Wed., 1:10-2:30
Prof. Irwin N. Gertzog
Van Dyke 211
Spring Term, 2009
Office Hours: Wed., 11:00-12:30,
and by arrangement, Room 11A,
lower level, Milledoler Hall
This course will begin with a discussion of the origin of the Presidency and the
development of presidential power over time.
The limits on that power, and the importance of
presidential personality in the uses of power will also be explored.
After the first examination,
we will turn to presidential decision making and the manner in which Presidents are selected.
Next, we will look at the relationships occupants of the office establish with their official
families, with the media, with Congress, with the public, and with the Supreme Court.
Concluding classes will be devoted to presidential accountability, tenure and removal.
Books containing the assigned reading are listed below.
All are available in the Ferren
Mall College bookstore.
“Related Reading” appearing in the body of the syllabus may be
consulted as time and interest allow.
Irving L. Janis, GROUPTHINK: PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES OF POLICY DECISIONS
AND FIASCOS (2
Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: ORIGIN AND
DEVELOPMENT, 1776-2007 (5
Joseph A. Pika and John Anthony Maltese, THE POLITICS OF THE PRESIDENCY (7
Three examinations are scheduled during the term, including the one administered during
The exams are of equal value.
Numerical equivalents of letter grades are as
follows: 90-100 = A; 88-89 = B+; 80-87 = B; 78-79 = C+; 70-77 = C; 60-69 = D; 0 - 59 = F.
Class attendance is required, except in case of illness, religious observance, or class conflict
caused by mandatory participation in University-sponsored academic or athletic events.
who miss an examination because of one of the reasons cited in the preceding sentence must
submit a written explanation signed by the Dean before they are eligible to take a make-up exam.
The make-up will be a take-home examination, and students will have 48 hours during which to
Unexcused absences on the date of an examination will result in a failing grade for
the missed examination.
Topics, Assignments, and Readings
Introduction to the Course