In 1885, the American political scientist Woodrow Wilson wrote a book titled “Congressional Government”. He might have been surprised that in the course of less than a century, scholars started to talk of the “Imperial Presidency”, a phrase coined by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in 1973. In the meantime a lot has happened in the US political system: with every crisis, it seems, the President gained power in relation to the other branches of government. Political scientists and historians usually identify major changes in the polity since the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The modern American presidency, thus, began.
In this course, we will approach the phenomenon of the modern American presidency from a structural as well as from a biographical point of view. We are going to identify the challenges each of the “modern” Presidents faced, the following shifts of presidential power, and the expansion of the executive branch.
Neustadt, Richard E. (1991). Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents. The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan. New York: Free Press.
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. (2004). The Imperial Presidency. Boston: Mariner Books.