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The Presidency of the United States

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About this Course

About the Course

In this course, Dr Jon Herbert (University of Keele) thinks about the office of the Presidency of the United States, focusing in particular on the extent of the president’s powers. We begin in the first module by thinking about how the Founding Fathers set up the presidency in the Constitution as an office significantly constrained by checks and balances. Then, in the second module, we draw a distinction between the ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ powers of the presidency, thinking in particular about how these have been expanded in recent decades. In the third module, we think about Richard Neustadt’s important thesis that the president’s authority lies in his (someday her) ‘power to persuade’ the various political institutions that comprise the ‘separation of powers’. Finally, in the fourth module, we examine Arthur Schlesinger’s ‘imperial presidency’ thesis which argued that, contrary to Neustadt’s model, the president was capable of bypassing the democratic checks an balances of the Constitution and maintain a direct hold on power.

About the Lecturer

Jon Herbert is Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Keele. He specialises in the US Presidency, focusing in particular on the rhetoric of individual presidents and developments in US criminal justice policy.