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Debating the Presidency

Debating the Presidency
Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive

Third Edition
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February 2014 | 288 pages | CQ Press

The study of the presidency—the power of the office, the evolution of the institution, the men who have served—has generated a rich body of research and scholarship. What better way to get students to grapple with this literature than through conflicting perspectives on some of the most pivotal issues facing the modern presidency? Once again Ellis and Nelson have assembled a cadre of top scholars to offer pro/con essays that will inspire spirited debate beyond the pages of the book. Based on reviewers’ suggestions the authors have added new debate topics that include the presidential power to persuade, an up/down vote by Congress on legislation proposed by the president, presidential czars, the unitary executive, and the president’s war powers. Ellis and Nelson introduce each pair of essays, providing context and preparing students to read each argument critically, so they can decide for themselves which side of the debate they find most persuasive.

1. Resolved, the framers of the Constitution would approve of the modern presidency

David Nichols

Terri Bimes
2. Resolved, the unitary executive is a myth

Richard J. Ellis

Saikrishna Prakash
3. Resolved, political parties should nominate candidates for the presidency through a national primary.

Michael Nelson

Andrew E. Busch
4. Resolved, the president should be elected directly by the people.

Burdett Loomis

Byron E. Shafer
5. Resolved, the 22nd Amendment should be repealed.

David Karol

Thomas E. Cronin
6. Resolved, presidential success and failure have more to do with political time than with a president’s character and leadership qualities.

Stephen Skowronek

Fred I. Greenstein
7. Resolved, presidential power is (still) the power to persuade

Matt Dickinson

George C. Edwards III
8. Resolved Congress should be required to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the president

William G. Howell and Terry Moe

B.Dan Wood
9. Resolved, presidents have usurped the war power that rightfully belongs to Congress.

Nancy Kassop

Richard M. Pious
10. Resolved, President Barack Obama has followed President George W. Bush's approach to the war on terror.

Daniel Wirls

Daniel J. Tichenor
11. Resolved, presidential signing statements threaten the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Peter M. Shane

Nelson Lund
12. Resolved, presidential “czars” undermine Congress and the Constitution

Mitchel A. Sollenberger and Mark J. Rozell

Justin S. Vaughn and José D. Villalobos
13. Resolved, the president has too much power in the selection of judges.

David A. Yalof

John Anthony Maltese

“This text is a great supplement to the main text I assign. The brief introduction in each chapter nicely frames the issue and the format of the text exposes students to both sides of the debate. My students have responded very positively to the text, particularly because the essays are relatively short and written appropriately for undergraduate students.”

Andrew H. Sidman
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“This is one of my favorite books to use as a teaching tool—students respond well to the challenge to think critically about both sides of important arguments about the presidency. The chapter introductions are tremendously valuable and quite well done.”

Brendan Doherty
U.S. Naval Academy

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 13

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Richard John Ellis

Richard J. Ellis is Mark O. Hatfield Professor of Politics at Willamette University. His books include The Development of the American Presidency (2015; 2nd ed.); Debating Reform: Conflicting Perspectives on How to Fix the American Political System (with Michael Nelson, 3nd ed., 2016); Judging the Boy Scouts of America: Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case (2014); Judging Executive Power: Sixteen Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped the American Presidency (2009); and Presidential Travel: The Journey from George Washington to George W. Bush (2008). In 2008 he was named the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of... More About Author

Michael C. Nelson

Michael Nelson is Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College and a senior fellow at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. A former editor of the Washington Monthly, his most recent books include Trump’s First Year (2018); The Elections of 2016 (2018); The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents (2019); The American Presidency: Origins and Development (with Sidney M. Milkis, 2011); and Governing at Home: The White House and Domestic Policymaking (with Russell B. Riley, 2011). Nelson has contributed to numerous journals, including the Journal of Policy History, Journal of Politics, and Political Science Quarterly. He also... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781483307763

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