You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

The Presidency of Barack Obama, 2009-2017

5. The Obama Presidential Legacy

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we evaluate the presidential legacy of Obama, focusing in particular on: (i) the distinction between his ‘being’ legacy – i.e. the historic significance of his mixed-heritage identity – and his ‘doing’ legacy – i.e. his practical and legislative contribution to US political life; (ii) the persistence of fraught race relations during the Obama administration, but also the galvanisation of large social movements such as Black Lives Matter; (iii) his policy contributions in such realms as climate change, economic stabilisation, international affairs, and LGBTQ+ rights; and (iv) his performance according to scholar Fred Greenstein’s six criteria for presidential greatness.


In this course, Dr Clodagh Harrington (De Montfort University) examines the presidency of Barack Obama. We begin in the first module with Obama’s strategy and performance in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries and then the presidential election itself. In the second module, we think about President Obama’s relationship with Congress from his ‘honeymoon’ period in which the Democrats enjoyed majorities in both the House and the Senate through to the aftermath of the 2010 midterm elections which saw the party lose control of the House. In the third module, we move on to think about the relationship between Obama and the Supreme Court, focusing on his appointments and some landmark decisions made by the court during his presidency. In the fourth module, we think about Barack Obama in relation to the institution of the Presidency and consider how his time in office fares against other presidents of the modern era. In the fifth and final module, we evaluate Obama’s legacy, including his historic status as the first African-American president and his major legislative contributions to the United States.


Dr Clodagh Harrington is Senior Lecturer in Politics at De Montfort University. Her academic background is in American politics and international relations, and her most recent publication is Obama’s Washington: Political Leadership in a Partisan Era (2015), which brings together essays from both sides of the Atlantic to dissect policy decisions and challenges facing the current administration.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Harrington, C. (2019, September 29). The Presidency of Barack Obama, 2009-2017 - The Obama Presidential Legacy [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Harrington, C. "The Presidency of Barack Obama, 2009-2017 – The Obama Presidential Legacy ." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 29 Sep 2019,

Get instant access to over 7,200 lectures