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POLSC332: The Presidency and the Executive Branch

Unit 7: Presidential Leadership, Character, and Rhetoric   United States presidents are influential, in part, because they embody an office that is unique to each occupant. A president’s leadership style, character, and rhetoric can make the difference between an effective or failed presidency. These attributes are not found in the Constitution, but rather in the man or woman occupying the oval office. Leadership can make the difference between a new law and a dead bill; a powerful and moral character can give a president the political capital to lead the American people and represent them in the world; and influential rhetoric can rally the American electorate behind a president’s agenda. These attributes, while difficult to study, provide a roadmap of historically successful presidencies and a template for aspiring presidential candidates to emulate

Unit 7 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: Completing this unit should take you approximately 8.75 hours.

☐    Subunit 7.1: 3.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 7.3: 3.75 hours

Unit7 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - explain the “politics of leadership”; - discuss the difference between a US president that is a clerk or a leader; - analyze the defining features of effective presidential leadership; - explain what is involved in the “presidential character”; and - discuss how presidential rhetoric be used as a source of power and influence.

7.1 Presidential Leadership   - Reading: Richard Neustadt’s Presidential Power: *The Politics of Leadership* Link: Richard Neustadt’s Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership (PDF)

 Instructions: Please read Chapters One and Three of Richard
Neustadt’s Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership. Note that
you have to scroll or “jump to” Chapter One to begin reading.  

 Reading this selection and taking notes should take approximately 3
hours.  

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

7.2 Presidential Character   - Reading: The Virginia Quarterly Review: Michael Nelson’s “James David Barber and the Psychological Presidency” Link: The Virginia Quarterly Review: Michael Nelson’s “James David Barber and the Psychological Presidency” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please click on the link provided to read an analysis
and summary of Dr. Barber’s famous book on presidential character.
You only need to read sections I to III, but feel free to read the
whole article if you want.  

 Dr. Barber’s book has become one of the better-known psychological
analyses on presidential power. Originally writing in the late
1960s, Dr. Barber made predictions about President Nixon’s term in
office that were quite accurate, especially the events of the
Watergate scandal. His argument that presidential personalities
affect presidential leadership styles is fleshed out in this summary
of his book.  

 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.

7.3 Presidential Rhetoric   - Reading: American Rhetoric: Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message”; Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “The Four Freedoms”; and Harry Truman’s “Truman Doctrine” Link: American Rhetoric: Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message” (HTML); Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “The Four Freedoms” (HTML); and Harry S. Truman’s “The Truman Doctrine” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read these transcripts and/or listen to the
A/V recordings. In each speech, notice how presidents utilize
rhetoric as a method of persuasion and power maximization toward a
particular policy end. The ability to use the “bully pulpit” to
persuade government or the public is one of the most effective
informal powers of the president.  

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

 Terms of Use: A/V material is in the public domain; otherwise,
please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the
webpage above.
  • Web Media: Dwight Eisenhower’s “Farewell Address”; Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” and “Speech to the Muslim World in Cairo” Link: Dwight Eisenhower’s “Farwell Address” (YouTube); Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” (YouTube) and “Speech to the Muslim World in Cairo” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please listen to these speeches in their entirety.

    Watching these videos and taking notes should take approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.

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