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The American Presidency

The American Presidency
Origins and Development, 1776–2018

Eighth Edition

February 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.
Chapter 1 The Constitutional Convention
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  
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  
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  
Constitution of the United States  
U.S. Presidents and Vice Presidents  
Summary of Presidential Elections, 1789–2016  

“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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