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The Evolving Presidency

The Evolving Presidency
Landmark Documents, 1787-2015

Fifth Edition
Edited by:

Other Titles in:
Political History | Presidency

June 2015 | 328 pages | CQ Press
In the Fifth Edition of The Evolving Presidency, more than 50 documents—speeches, debates, letters and Supreme Court decisions—show readers the ways that presidents have shaped U.S. history through both word and deed. Editor Michael Nelson carefully crafts a headnote for each selection to place it in historical context and convey the document’s significance during its own time as well as its lasting effects on the office of the presidency. This edition offers eight all-new selections including James Madison’s Notes of the Federal Convention, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order on Japanese-American Internment, and Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address.

Preface: A User's Guide to The Evolving Presidency
Topical Guide to the Documents
Chapter 1: James Madison’s Notes of the Federal Convention (1787)
Chapter 2: The Constitution (1787)
Chapter 3: Anti-Federalist Essays: George Mason’s Objections to This Constitution of Government and Cato’s Letter No. 4 (1787)
Chapter 4: The Federalist Papers, Nos. 69–73 (1788)
Chapter 5: George Washington’s First Inaugural Address (1789)
Chapter 6: James Madison’s Defense of the President’s Removal Power (1789)
Chapter 7: The Pacificus-Helvidius Letters (1793)
Chapter 8: George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)
Chapter 9: Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address (1801)
Chapter 10: Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Vermont Legislature (1807)
Chapter 11: The Monroe Doctrine (1823)
Chapter 12: The Tennessee General Assembly’s Protest against the Caucus System (1823)
Chapter 13: Andrew Jackson’s First Message to Congress (1829)
Chapter 14: Andrew Jackson’s Veto of the Bank Bill (1832)
Chapter 15: Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session (1861)
Chapter 16: Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Albert G. Hodges (1864)
Chapter 17: The Gettysburg Address (1863)
Chapter 18: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865)
Chapter 19: Ex parte Milligan (1866)
Chapter 20: Articles of Impeachment against Andrew Johnson (1868)
Chapter 21: The Pendleton Act (1883)
Chapter 22: Lord James Bryce, Why Great Men Are Not Chosen President (1888)
Chapter 23: Theodore Roosevelt’s and William Howard Taft’s Theories of Presidential Power (1913, 1916)
Chapter 24: Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points (1918)
Chapter 25: Myers v. United States (1926)
Chapter 26: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address (1933)
Chapter 27: Humphrey’s Executor v. United States (1935)
Chapter 28: United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936)
Chapter 29: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Court-Packing” Address (1937)
Chapter 30: Report of the Brownlow Committee (1937)
Chapter 31: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order on Japanese American Internment (1942)
Chapter 32: The Truman Doctrine (1947)
Chapter 33: Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952)
Chapter 34: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Little Rock Executive Order (1957)
Chapter 35: John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (1961)
Chapter 36: The Cuban Missile Crisis: John F. Kennedy’s Letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (1962)
Chapter 37: Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” Speech (1964)
Chapter 38: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin Message (1964)
Chapter 39: Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Equality of Result” Speech (1965)
Chapter 40: Richard Nixon’s China Trip Announcement (1971)
Chapter 41: The McGovern–Fraser Commission Report (1971)
Chapter 42: The War Powers Resolution (1973)
Chapter 43: Proposed Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon (1974)
Chapter 44: United States v. Nixon (1974)
Chapter 45: Gerald R. Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon (1974)
Chapter 46: Walter F. Mondale’s Memo to Jimmy Carter on the Role of the Vice President (1976)
Chapter 47: Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” Speech (1979)
Chapter 48: Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address (1981)
Chapter 49: Clinton v. City of New York (1998)
Chapter 50: Articles of Impeachment against Bill Clinton (1998)
Chapter 51: Bush v. Gore (2000)
Chapter 52: George W. Bush’s War on Terrorism Address (2001)
Chapter 53: The Bush Doctrine (2002)
Chapter 54: George W. Bush’s Signing Statement for the Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act (2005)
Chapter 55: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)
Chapter 56: Barack Obama’s Campaign Speech on Race in America (2008)
Chapter 57: Barack Obama’s Health Care Address (2009)
Chapter 58: National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Channing et al. (2014)
Chapter 59: Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address (2015)

The Evolving Presidency features almost perfect organization and editing of primary documents. The brief summaries that precede each section are very informative and provide important social and political context.  The topical guide to the documents is also extremely helpful in organizing the course and placing selected readings in the appropriate sections. It is a concise text, yet critically important.” 

Brad Clark
Fort Lewis College

“I have always been impressed with this book, since I first used it over 10 years (and 3 editions) ago. At the time, it was the only one like it on the market.  Its chief strength is in the selection of documents and how closely it adheres to the theme of the constitutional development of the presidency.”

Andrew Moore
Saint Anselm College

“The most important aspect of this book is its focus on primary documents.  Such a focus allows me as faculty to craft critical analytical thought questions focusing on development and changes in the presidency.  Student comments range from ‘Awesome!’ to ‘Incredibly helpful.’”

Gary Donato
Bentley University

"This book is a great source of primary documents.  I also like that each document is preceded by background information which provides context and meaning for students."

Ronald Lee, Rockford University
Ronald Lee

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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: 9781483368566