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The American Presidency
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The American Presidency
Origins and Development, 1776–2018

Eighth Edition


January 2019 | 720 pages | CQ Press
The American Presidency examines the constitutional foundation of the executive office and the social, economic, political, and international forces that have reshaped it. Authors Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson broadly examine the influence of each president, focusing on how these leaders have sought to navigate the complex and ever-changing terrain of the executive office and revealing the major developments that launched the modern presidency at the dawn of the twentieth century. By connecting presidential conduct to the defining eras of American history and the larger context of politics and government in the United States, this award-winning book offers vital perspective and insight on the limitations and possibilities of presidential power. The Eighth Edition examines recent events and developments including the latter part of the Obama presidency, the 2016 election, the first twenty months of the Trump presidency, and updated coverage of issues involving race and the presidency.
 
Preface
 
Chapter 1 The Constitutional Convention
Antecedents

 
The Constitutional Convention

 
 
Chapter 2 Creating the Presidency
The Making of the Presidency: An Overview

 
Number of the Executive

 
Selection and Succession

 
Term of Office

 
Removal

 
Institutional Separation from Congress

 
Enumerated Powers

 
The Vice Presidency

 
Ratifying the Constitution

 
 
Chapter 3 Bringing the Constitutional Presidency to Life: George Washington and John Adams
The Election of George Washington

 
Making the Presidency Safe for Democracy

 
Forming the Executive and Judicial Branches

 
Presidential “Supremacy” and the Conduct of the Executive Branch

 
Presidential Nonpartisanship and the Beginning of Party Conflict

 
Washington’s Retirement and the Jay Treaty: The Constitutional Crisis of 1796

 
The 1796 Election

 
The Embattled Presidency of John Adams

 
The Alien and Sedition Acts

 
 
Chapter 4 The Triumph of Jeffersonianism
The “Revolution” of 1800

 
Jefferson’s War with the Judiciary

 
The Democratic-Republican Program and the Adjustment to Power

 
The Limits of “Popular” Leadership

 
The Twelfth Amendment

 
Jefferson’s Mixed Legacy

 
The Presidency of James Madison and the Rise of the House of Representatives

 
The Presidency of James Monroe

 
 
Chapter 5 The Age of Jackson
Jacksonian Democracy

 
The Rise of the Party Convention

 
Jackson’s Struggle with Congress

 
The Aftermath of the Bank Veto

 
The Decline of the Cabinet

 
The Limits of the Jacksonian Presidency

 
Martin Van Buren and the Panic of 1837

 
The Jacksonian Presidency Sustained

 
John Tyler and the Problem of Presidential Succession

 
The Presidency of James K. Polk

 
The Slavery Controversy and the Twilight of the Jacksonian Presidency

 
 
Chapter 6 The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln and the Slavery Controversy

 
The Election of 1860

 
Lincoln and Secession

 
Lincoln’s Wartime Measures

 
The Emancipation Proclamation

 
The Election of 1864

 
Lincoln’s Legacy

 
 
Chapter 7 The Reaction against Presidential Power: Andrew Johnson to William McKinley
Reconstruction and the Assault on Executive Authority

 
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

 
Ulysses S. Grant and the Abdication of Executive Power

 
The Fight to Restore Presidential Power

 
Congressional Government and the Prelude to a More Active Presidency

 
 
Chapter 8 Progressive Politics and Executive Power: The Presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson
Theodore Roosevelt and the Expansion of Executive Power

 
The Troubled Presidency of William Howard Taft

 
Progressive Politics and the Elections of 1912

 
Woodrow Wilson’s Theory of Executive Leadership

 
Wilson and Party Reform

 
The Art of Popular Leadership

 
Wilson’s Relations with Congress

 
Wilson as World Leader

 
 
Chapter 9 The Triumph of Conservative Republicanism
The Harding Era

 
The “Silent” Politics of Calvin Coolidge

 
Herbert C. Hoover and the Great Depression

 
The Twentieth Amendment

 
 
Chapter 10 The Consolidation of the Modern Presidency: Franklin D. Roosevelt to Dwight D. Eisenhower
Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Modern Presidency

 
The Modern Presidency Sustained: Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower

 
 
Chapter 11 Personalizing the Presidency: John F. Kennedy to Jimmy Carter
John F. Kennedy and the Rise of the “Personal Presidency”

 
Lyndon B. Johnson and Presidential Government

 
The Twenty-Fifth Amendment

 
The Presidency of Richard Nixon

 
Gerald R. Ford and the Post-Watergate Era

 
A President Named Jimmy

 
 
Chapter 12 A Restoration of Presidential Power? Ronald Reagan and George Bush
The Reagan Revolution

 
A Reagan Court?

 
The Bush Presidency

 
 
Chapter 13 Bill Clinton and the Modern Presidency
The Election of 1992

 
The First Year of the Clinton Presidency

 
The 1994 Elections and the Restoration of Divided Government

 
The Comeback President

 
Balanced Budgets, Impeachment Politics, and the Limits of the Third Way

 
 
Chapter 14 George W. Bush and Unilateral Presidential Power
The 2000 Election

 
Bush v. Gore

 
The Early Months of the Bush Presidency

 
September 11 and the War on Terrorism

 
An Expanded Presidency

 
Bush and the Republican Party

 
Courts and Parties

 
Partisanship and Unilateralism at the Twilight of the Bush Presidency

 
 
Chapter 15 Barack Obama and Presidential Leadership in Polarized Times
The 2008 Elections

 
The New Foundation and Partisan Rancor

 
We Can’t Wait: Obama and the Administrative Presidency

 
Obama’s Reelection and the Perils of Partisanship

 
Obama, Partisanship, and the War on Terrorism

 
Barack Obama’s Fragile Legacy

 
 
Chapter 16 The Trump Presidency and Resilience of Constitutional Government
Taking Office

 
Forming the Administration

 
Trump’s Administrative Presidency

 
The Courts

 
Trump and Congress

 
The Rhetorical Presidency

 
Foreign Policy

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 17 The Vice Presidency
The Founding Period

 
The Vice Presidency in the Nineteenth Century

 
Theodore Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman

 
The Modern Vice Presidency

 
Conclusion

 
 
Appendix
Constitution of the United States

 
U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents

 
Summary of Presidential Elections, 1789–2016

 
 
Index

“Milkis and Nelson provide the gold standard for a political development approach to the American presidency.”

Jasmine Farrier
University of Louisville

“The American Presidency is a comprehensive view of the institutional development of the presidency. It provides a compelling narrative for the constitutional impetuses, debates, and interpretations for the presidency and how they persist and change throughout the 19th and early 20th century as well as apply to the presidential politics since FDR.”

Jeffrey W. Ladewig
University of Connecticut

“This textbook uses an outstanding political historical approach to understand the constitutional basis of the American presidency, key features of each president’s term/s and tenure, and broad trends in relationships between historical and modern presidents and Congress, and changing domestic and foreign policy issues and topics.”

Michael Petersen
Utah State University

“I would describe the book’s approach as historical and comprehensive; thorough but not intimidating for an undergraduate, introductory course.”

Ted Ritter
Virginia Union University

“I always recommend this book. The historical approach with its inclusion of the how the presidency has changed as an institution is unique.”

Kenneth R. Stevens
Texas Christian University

For instructors

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