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POLSC332: The Presidency and the Executive Branch

Unit 1: Foundations of the Presidency   *To fully understand the institution of the modern presidency, it is crucial that you study the origins of the institution. In their earliest discussions and debates over what the presidency should look like, the Founding Fathers considered topics such as the duration of the president’s term, the characteristics that make an effective executive, and the presidential election process. Largely as a result of their experience under the tyrannical King George III, the Constitution granted very few powers explicitly to the president. Over time, presidents have pushed the limits of their power and created an office that has changed dramatically from the office envisioned by the Founders.

This unit will open with a discussion of the very beginning of the American presidency by focusing on the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. These early debates on what the presidency should look like reveal the concerns that the Framers of the Constitution had with regard to the executive. You will then focus on Article II of the Constitution, as well as the amendments to the Constitution that pertain to the executive branch. Finally, to understand how presidents have tested the limits of their office over time, we will study several Supreme Court cases dealing with executive power, particularly during times of war. As you will learn, historically, presidents tend to have the most success in expanding their powers in times of war.*

Unit 1 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: Completing this unit should take approximately 14.25 hours.

☐   Subunit 1.1: 4.5 hours

☐   Subunit 1.2: 1 hour

☐   Subunit 1.3: 0.5 hours

☐   Subunit 1.4: 2.75 hours

☐   Subunit 1.5: 5.5 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- analyze the early debates and discussions regarding the role of the presidency; - explain the concept of separation of powers and checks and balances; - analyze the debate between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists vis-à-vis the presidency; - discuss the constitutional foundations of the presidency and the executive branch; - describe the formal and informal roles of the president; - analyze the general constraints on presidential power; and - discuss the historical expansion of presidential power.

1.1 The Early Debates over the Executive   - Reading: The Library of Congress: “About the Federalist Papers” and The Federalist Papers: “No. 51,” “No. 68,” “No. 70,” “No. 71,” and “No. 72” Link: The Library of Congress: “About the Federalist Papers” (PDF) and Federalist Papers: “No. 51”, “No. 68”, “No. 70”, “No. 71”, and “No. 72” (PDF)

 Instructions: First, read the background information about the
*Federalist Papers* at the Library of Congress’s website linked
here. Then, read *Federalist Papers* No. 51, No. 68, and Nos. 70 to
72.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 2
hours and 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.
  • Reading: The Federalist Papers: “The Anti-Federalist Papers 67 to 74” Link: The Federalist Papers: “The Anti-Federalist Papers 67 to 74” (PDF)
    Instructions: Read the Anti-Federalist Papers 67 to 74 by opening the relevant links on the site. The Anti-Federalist Papers warn against the dangers of the executive branch and the presidency.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 2 hours.

    Terms of Use: The material is in the public domain and the original can be found here.

1.2 Chief Executives Comopared   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Chief Executives Compared” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Chief Executives Compared” (PDF)

 Instructions: Complete the linked assessment in order to test your
mastery of the early debates and discussions regarding the role of
the presidency in addition to the constitutional foundations of the
presidency and the executive branch.  

 When you are done, please check your work against The Saylor
Foundation’s [“Answer Key: Chief Executives
Compared”](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/POLSC332-Assessment1-AnswerKey-FINAL.pdf)
(PDF)  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.

1.3 The Constitution and the Presidency   - Reading: United States Constitution: “Article II” and “Amendments 12, 20, 22, and 25” Link: FindLaw’s annotated version of the United States Constitution’s “Article II” (HTML) and “Amendments 12, 20, 22, and 25” (HTML)

 Also available in:  

[PDF](http://ratify.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/index_no_flash.php)  

 Instructions: Please read Article II of the US Constitution, as
well as Amendments 12, 20, 22, and 25. To further enhance your
reading, also read the annotations accompanying Article II and the
amendments listed above by clicking on the hyperlink titled
“Annotations” next to each amendment. This additional reading is
optional. To view in PDF format, please follow the PDF link above;
the appropriate link is at the bottom right of the page.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately
30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

1.4 Presidential Powers   - Lecture: YouTube: Missouri State University: Dr. Patrick Scott’s “The Presidency I” Link: YouTube: Missouri State University: Dr. Patrick Scott’s “The Presidency I” (YouTube)

 Also available in:  
 [iTunes
U](http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/pls-101-american-democracy/id416088286)
(Lecture 20)  

 Instructions: Watch this lecture, which provides general
information about the roles of the American president. Many terms
and concepts will be relevant for the remainder of the course. Pause
as needed to take notes.  

 Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1
hour.  

 Terms of Use: The material above has been reposted with the kind
permission of Dr. Patrick Scott from Missouri State University, and
can be viewed in its original form
[here](http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/pls-101-american-democracy/id416088286).
Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be
reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the
copyright holder.
  • Reading: US Department of State: Outline of US Government: “The Executive Branch: Powers of the Presidency” Link: US Department of State: Outline of US Government: “The Executive Branch: Powers of the Presidency” (PDF)

    Instructions: Read the introduction and the sections titled “Presidential Powers” and “Constraints on Presidential Power” in this source. While the president is vested with a number of constitutional powers, this reading shows that, in a system of checks and balances, the president can often be frustrated, especially by Congress, in trying to promote and implement his legislative agenda. This information provides a general introduction to terms and concepts relevant for other sections of the course.

    Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

  • Web Media: The Regents of the University of California: *US Government and Politics: Lesson 20—Presidential Roles* Link: The Regents of the University of California: US Government and Politics: “Lesson 20—Presidential Roles(HTML)

    Instructions: Watch both topics of this two-part presentation to learn more about the different roles and powers of the president. Click Play to begin each presentation. In addition, click on the picture links under the Explore heading to learn more about presidential powers. Finally, feel free to use the glossary to highlight and review important terms discussed in the presentations.

    Watching this presentation and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. It is attributed to The Regents of the University of California, and the original version can be found here.

1.5 The Historical Development of Presidential Powers   - Reading: Boston University Law Review: William P. Marshall’s “Eleven Reasons Why Presidential Power Inevitably Expands and Why It Matters” Link: Boston University Law Review: William P. Marshall’s “Eleven Reasons Why Presidential Power Inevitably Expands and Why It Matters” (PDF)

 Instructions: Read this article. This reading gives a theoretical
and historical overview of why presidential power expands. Please
take notes as you read.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 1
hour and 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: YouTube: Ludwig von Mises Institute: Dr. Thomas Woods’s “The American Presidency: Critical Episodes in its Growth, Part I” and “Part II” Link: YouTube: Ludwig von Mises Institute:Dr. Thomas Woods’s “The American Presidency: Critical Episodes in its Growth, Part I” (YouTube) and “Part II” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Watch the specified lectures online. Please pause to take notes as needed.

    Watching this selection and taking notes should take approximately 3 hours to complete

    Terms of Use: These resources are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. They are attributed to Dr. Thomas Woods and the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and may be viewed in their original form here.

  • Lecture: The University of Virginia: Dr. Sidney Milkis’s “Theodore Roosevelt” Link: University of Virginia: Dr. Sidney Milkis’s “Theodore Roosevelt” (Adobe Flash)

    Instructions: Click on the link above to listen to the lecture about Theodore Roosevelt. Please pause to take notes as needed.

    Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.