The Development of the American Presidency  book cover
3rd Edition

The Development of the American Presidency

ISBN 9781138039247
Published February 26, 2018 by Routledge
626 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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. 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, Richard Ellis 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. Each chapter promotes active learning, beginning 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.

New to the Third Edition

  • Analysis of the 2016 election, including the role of the Electoral College and implications of Trump’s nomination for the "party decides" thesis;
  • Exploration of Trump’s Twitter presidency and the effectiveness of using social media to bypass the Washington press corps;
  • In-depth coverage of the development of twentieth-century president–press relations, including a new section on broadcasting the presidency that explores the development of the presidential press conference and presidents’ use of radio and television;
  • Study of national security policy in the Obama administration, with a special focus on the targeted killing of American citizens and Obama’s legacy for presidential war powers;
  • Examination of the original understanding and contemporary relevance of impeachment as well as updated discussion of the president’s pardon power;
  • Discussion of recent developments in the legislative and legal realms, including Trump’s first hundred days, the Garland–Gorsuch episode, and abolition of the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments;

  • Preliminary assessment of Trump’s place in historical time.

Table of Contents

1. Envisioning the Presidency

2. Selecting the President

3. The Public Presidency

4. Legislative Presidency

5. War-Making Presidency

6. The Unilateral Presidency

7. Organizing the Presidency

8. Removal Power and the Unitary Executive

9. The President and the Judiciary

10. Law and Executive Power

11. Evaluating Presidents

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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 more than  fifteen 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.


Praise for the Third Edition

Richard Ellis’ The Development of the American Presidency is a unique and easy-to-use text for a standard presidency course. Because it is organized topically and not chronologically, the political development content is delivered in a framework organized around the institutional and behavior issues examined in most courses, resulting in a comprehensive text that provides the valuable historical context necessary to understand the institution of the presidency.

Karen S. Hoffman, Marquette University

The Development of the American Presidency is an outstanding text and will significantly enhance any student’s understanding of the presidency. It is thorough and authoritative but accessible, and its intuitive organization makes it easy to find information on virtually any topic. By demonstrating that the contemporary presidency is determined by what has come before, it will help students get beyond the headlines to appreciate the nature of the office and its ever-evolving role in American politics and governance.

Graham G. Dodds, Concordia University

Combining engaging prose with innovative, puzzle-based pedagogy, Richard Ellis’ book continues to provide the perfect option for those looking for an overview of the presidency without sacrificing deep historical understanding. Careful readers will come away with not only a thorough understanding of the powers and politics of the American president today, but also great insight into the historical moments that caused the institution to develop as it has.

Justin S. Vaughn, Boise State University; Director, Center for Idaho History & Politics