The Development of the American Presidency: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Development of the American Presidency

2nd Edition

By Richard J. Ellis


648 pages | 41 B/W Illus.

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A full understanding of the institution of the American presidency requires us to examine how it developed from the founding to the present. This developmental lens, analyzing how historical turns have shaped the modern institution, allows for a richer, more nuanced understanding beyond the current newspaper headlines. The Development of the American Presidency pays great attention to that historical weight but is organized by the topics and concepts relevant to political science, with the constitutional origins and political development of the presidency its central focus. Through comprehensive and in-depth coverage, this text looks at how the presidency has evolved in relation to the public, to Congress, to the Executive branch, and to the law, showing at every step how different aspects of the presidency have followed distinct trajectories of change. All the while, Ellis illustrates the institutional relationships and tensions through stories about particular individuals and specific political conflicts.

Ellis's own classroom pedagogy of promoting active learning and critical thinking is well reflected in these pages. Each chapter begins with a narrative account of some illustrative puzzle that brings to life a central concept. A wealth of photos, figures, and tables allow for the visual presentations of concepts. A companion website not only acts as a further resources base—directing students to primary documents, newspapers, and data sources—but also presents interactive timelines and practice quizzes to help students master the book's lessons. The second edition a new chapter on unilateral powers that brings greater attention to domestic policymaking.


"The Development of the American Presidency" is unique in treating presidential history topically and in paying extensive attention to the early presidents. New to the second edition of this text is a powerful chapter on "The Unilateral Presidency." Throughout, Richard Ellis integrates some familiar stories and many little-known ones into a comprehensive account of how today's presidency was constructed over time."Bruce Miroff, SUNY Albany

"For those interested in APD, Richard Ellis's Development of the American Presidency is the essential textbook for courses on the presidency. The new chapter on unilateral powers is especially good, and it fills an important gap in standard textbook accounts of presidential power. Again, this is stunning combination of historical and analytical material."Jeremy D. Bailey, University of Houston

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: 1. Envisioning the Presidency 2. Selecting the President 3. The Public Presidency 4. The Legislative Presidency 5. The War-Making Presidency 6. The Unilateral Presidency 7. Organizing the Presidency 8. The Removal Power, Party Patronage, and the Unitary Executive 9. The President and the Judiciary 10. Law and Executive Power 11. Evaluating Presidents

About the Author

Richard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of Politics at Willamette University. He has been awarded Oregon Teacher of the Year from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as well as numerous other awards for both scholarship and teaching. He is the author or editor of over 15 books, including Judging Executive Power: Sixteen Supreme Court Cases That Have Shaped the American Presidency, Debating the Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive, and Presidential Travel: The Journey from George Washington to George W. Bush.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / History & Theory
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Executive Branch