Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
government masthead
Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2010

GOV 381L • The American Presidency

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39020 TH
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BAT 5.102
Buchanan, B

Course Description

The purpose of this course (which is cross-listed with the LBJ School as PA 388K) is to analyze the theory and practice of modern presidential leadership. Among the topics to be examined are a) constitutional debates about/ historical explanations for the unintended growth of presidential power; b) the contemporary "operational" presidency (e.g., managing the White House, presidential budgeting, exerting presidential influence in Congress, shaping media relations, coping with crises); c) recent presidential strategies for advancing political and policy agendas ( in domestic, economic and foreign policy/national security arenas); d) the presidency-public relationship (e.g., campaigns and elections, public opinion and performance evaluation, presidential accountability, interest group politics); and e) major theoretical and practical perspectives on the nature of presidential power and its uses and the importance of presidential character to effective leadership; and f) the ongoing performance of the Obama Administration.

Grading Policy

1. Six 'reaction' papers. (30%) 3-5 pages, topics assigned. 2. Two brief readings presentations (20%) of outside readings 3. Final paper. (15%) Topic depends on student objectives. 4. Final paper presentation (15%) 5. Verbal participation (20%) in seminar discussions.


Greenstein, F.2009. The Presidential Difference, 3rd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Nelson, M. 2010. The Presidency and the Political System. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 9th ed. Jones, Charles O. 2005. The Presidency In A Separated System, 2d ed. Washington, D.C.: Brookings. Brody, Richard A. 1991. Assessing The President. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Neustadt, R.E. 1990. Presidential Power. New York: Free Press, 4th ed Additional required readings, some in a hardcopy packet, others via e-links, will be available.


bottom border