American Presidency
Political Science 347, section 01
Fall 2000


Professor:  Dr. Dave Rausch, Ph.D.
Office:  404C Old Main
Phone:  651-2423
Email:  jrausch@mail.wtamu.edu
Webpage:  http://wtfaculty.wtamu.edu/~jrausch
Office hours:  M-F 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon; other times by appointment

Table of Contents
Course Description
Course Goals
Texts
Recommended Reading
Semester Project
    The Topics
Exams and Grading
Class Participation
Attendance Policy
Academic Dishonesty
Student ADA Policy Statement
Your Responsibilities
Course Outline and Schedule

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Course Description
This course examines the primary relationships and responsibilities of the American presidency.  By studying the president's relationships and responsibilities we will gain a greater understanding of the opportunities and limitations for presidential leadership in the contemporary political system.  In addition, we will better understand why presidents and those associated with presidents act the way they do and why these actions have the consequences they have.

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Course Goals
This course has four goals:

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Texts
 
DiClerico and Davis. 2000. Choosing Our Choices; Debating the Presidential Nominating Process. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
DiClerico. 2000. The American President, 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Scott and Garrison. 2000. The Political Science Student Writer's Manual, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (Optional, but highly recommended).

Additional readings will be distributed in class or made available on reserve in Cornette Library.

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Recommended Reading
I recommend that you follow the activities of the current president (a lame duck) in the news media.  You also should follow the campaign of the men who would like to be the next President.  Although, as we will discuss, the media may not be the optimal filter through which to view the activities of the president, it is far easier than gaining access to the President yourself.  The library subscribes to the Washington Post.  The Post is available on the web.  Another interesting source of news about the presidency is Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, which also is available in the library.  Several news sources have websites; particularly useful is the one for the Associated Press.  There are numerous sites on the Web that report on the activities of President Clinton, and the candidates for president.

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Semester Project
You have the opportunity to choose from five options for your semester project.  The finished paper should be from 8 to 12 pages (typed, double-spaced) in length.  The paper will be due on Thursday, November 30.

The paper must be well-written, ideas and quotes borrowed from other authors must be cited and the paper must include a list of sources (failure to comply  with these requirements will be construed as plagiarism and will be rewarded with a failing grade - for the course! - no excuses).

All papers must contain some proper form of citation - students should obtain an appropriate style manual, one which applies to social science.  I recommend the styles discussed in The Political Science Student Writer's Manual.

Generally speaking, any of the following three forms is acceptable: footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations.  For the last of these the most appropriate form is: (Rausch 1999).  If there is a page number involved - only when you are making a direct quote - it should be about like this: (Rausch 993, 23).  For two authors: (Copeland and Rausch 1993).  For multiple authors: (Rausch, et al. 1993).  Get the picture?  For the other forms it is not necessary to use all the Latin terms you may have used or seen (op cit, supra, ibid.).   A simple reference to the author's name is fine (with any accompanying date and page info for an author whose name appears more than once).

Additionally, this is a 300-level class.  As such, it is inappropriate to use only one or two sources, the encyclopedia, or just the assigned course readings.  Students should make an effort to link their research to the materials they have read for class.

There will be NO EXTENSIONS without a written medical excuse from a bonafide phy-sician  - YOUR PROCRASTINATION IS NOT MY PROBLEM!  Further, please comply with the following guidelines:

  1. Absolutely no plastic covers or covers of any kind!!!
  2. One staple in the upper left-hand corner.
  3. 3) Please use an appropriate sized font - one that is neither too small nor too large.
  4. Use your spell checker!!  For those without a computer-based word processor, please minimize misspellings and typos.
Please remember to avoid using contractions in your writing and to make proper use of the possessive ("its" is a possessive; "it's" is a contraction).

You will want to start your project early enough to allow for any possible inter-library loan activities.

If you need help in clarifying the requirements or the topics please do not hesitate to ask.

The Topics

  1. Choose at least two biographies of one president from Truman through Clinton.  Compare and contrast these works, particularly with respect to some theory, con-cept, or idea covered in the course materials.  Your task will be made easier if you identify a biography which was written to correct errors or misjudgements in an earlier biography.
  2. Research and write a legislative history and analysis of one of the following pieces of legislation:
    a. Presidential Succession Act of 1947
    b. 22nd Amendment
    c. 25th Amendment
     
  1. Research a significant question relating to the presidency.  You should frame your paper as an answer to the question.  Examples include: "Should the War Powers Resolution be repealed?"  "Should presidential term limits be changed?"  "Should a national presidential primary be instituted?"  "Do we still need the Electoral College?"
  2. Examine one former president's term in office.  You will answer the question:  How did President X change the presidency?
  3. A Barber-style analysis of either George W. Bush or Al Gore.  You will want to consult Chapter 9 in the DiClerico book before choosing this topic.
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Exams and Grading
Your primary responsibility is keeping up with the reading.  Only by doing so will you gain from class discussion.  I will freely call on students to contribute thoughts about the reading.  The reading assignments are listed below.  You will be graded on (1) a mid-term exam, (2) a final exam, and (3) the semester project.  The final exam will cover only the last half of the course.  The exams will consist of "short answer," or identification questions, and essay questions.

Points will be distributed as follows:
 
Mid-term exam 100 points
Final exam 100 points
Semester project 100 points

The mid-term exam is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10.  The final exam is sched-uled for Thursday, December 7, at 8:00 a.m.  The final exam will be similar in format to the mid-term.

I will provide study terms and concepts well before the exams (in fact, I probably will dis-tribute these as we work through each topic).  These guides should assist you in orga-nizing your thoughts and notes.

The last day to drop or withdraw with an automatic "X" grade is October 13, 2000.

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Class Participation
I expect some discussion in this class:  someone raises an issue presented in the text and we discuss the issue.  Certainly with the campaign and the eventual transition, we should have some "current events" to relate to what we are reading about.

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Attendance Policy
I do not take attendance at the beginning of each class.  I do, however, note who is here, who habitually comes in late, and who leaves early.  Please be aware that you are responsible for any material discussed during missed class sessions.  If you miss an exam, you must arrange to make it up.

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Academic Dishonesty
I enforce the policies on Academic Dishonesty listed in the student handbook.

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Student ADA Policy Statement
West Texas A&M University seeks to provide reasonable accommodations for all qualified persons with disabilities.  This University will adhere to all applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accom-modations as required to afford equal educational opportunity.  It is the studentís responsibility to register with Disabled Student Services and to contact the faculty member in a timely fashion to arrange for suitable accommodations.

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Your Responsibilities
To get the most out of this course, treat it as a job (standard college advice).  Be here on time for every class.  READ THE TEXTBOOKS.  Ask questions of material you do not understand.  If you have difficulty reading or writing, tell me (outside of class if you wish) and I will help you find the appropriate resources to improve those skills.

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Course Outline and Schedule
[This schedule is subject to change; you will be notified of changes]

August 29:
    Introduction to Course Objectives and Procedures

August 31:
    Library Assignment

September 5-7:
    The Presidency: Creation and Development
    Read:
        DiClerico, Preface, pp. xi-xv
        Handouts

September 12-21
    Presidential Selection Process
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 1
    DiClerico and Davis, All
    Handouts

I will identify the readings for each day.  You will find Chapter 1 of DiClerico summarizes the arguments in DiClerico and Davis (go figure!).  The second half of DiClerico and Davis are documents.
September 26-28
    Foreign Affairs
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 2

October 3-5
    First Branch v. Second Branch
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 3

October 10
    Mid-term exam
    Please bring blue books

October 12-17
    Presidential Approval and Press Relations
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 4

October 19-24
    President as Chief Executive I: Working with the Bureaucracy
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 5

October 26-31
    President as Chief Executive II: Making Decisions
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 6

November 2
    Case Studies in Presidential Decision Making
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 7

November 7-9
    Emergency Powers
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 8

November 14-16
    Barber's Presidential Personality
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 9

November 21
    Rating the President
    Read:
    Handouts and Webpages

November 28-30
    Leadership
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 10

December 5
    The Veep
    Read:
    DiClerico, Chapter 11

Thursday, December 7, at 8:00 a.m.
    Final Exam
    Please bring blue books

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