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Debating the Presidency
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Debating the Presidency
Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive

Fourth Edition
Edited by:

Courses:
Presidency

January 2017 | 312 pages | CQ Press
Editors Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson have once again assembled a cadre of top presidential scholars in the new Fourth Edition of Debating the Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive. Each essay offers a compelling yet concise view of topics relevant to the American executive. Ellis and Nelson offer brief chapter introductions that provide context for each debate-resolution style essay to prepare students to read each argument critically and decide which side of the debate they find most persuasive.

Contributions are written specifically for this volume, and give students the opportunity to grapple with contemporary pivotal issues through conflicting perspectives facing the modern presidency. Several new arguments are offered in this new edition, including:
  • Executive orders and other unilateral presidential directives undermine democracy Pro: Gene Healy, Con: Andrew Rudalevige;
  • The vice presidency should be abolished Pro: Douglas L. Kriner, Con: Joel K. Goldstein; and
  • The new media have brought the president closer to the people. Pro: Matthew R. Kerbel, Con: Jeffrey E. Cohen.

 
Preface
 
Contributors
 
1. Resolved, The framers of the Constitution would approve of the modern presidency
Pro: David Nichols
Con: Terri Bimes
 
2. Resolved, The unitary executive is a myth
Pro: Richard J. Ellis
Con: Saikrishna Prakash
 
3. Resolved, Political parties should nominate candidates for the presidency through a national primary
Pro: Michael Nelson
Con: Andrew E. Busch
 
4. Resolved, The president should be elected directly by the people
Pro: Burdett Loomis
Con: Byron E. Shafer
 
5. Resolved, The Twenty-second Amendment should be repealed
Pro: David Karol
Con: Thomas E. Cronin
 
6. Resolved, The new media have brought the president closer to the people
Pro: Matthew R. Kerbel
Con: Jeffrey E. Cohen
 
7. Resolved, Presidential success and failure have more to do with political time than with a president's character and leadership qualities
Pro: Stephen Skowronek
Con: Fred I. Greenstein
 
8. Resolved, Presidential power is (still) the power to persuade
Pro: Matthew J. Dickinson
Con: George C. Edwards III
 
9. Resolved, Congress should be required to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the president
Pro: William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe
Con: B. Dan Wood
 
10. Resolved, Presidents have usurped the war power that rightfully belongs to Congress
Pro: Nancy Kassop
Con: Richard M. Pious
 
11. Resolved, Presidential signing statements threaten the rule of law and the separation of powers
Pro: Peter M. Shane
Con: Nelson Lund
 
12. Resolved, Executive orders and other unilateral presidential directives undermine democracy
Pro: Gene Healy
Con: Andrew Rudalevige
 
13. Resolved, The president has too much power in the selection of judges
Pro: David A. Yalof
Con: John Anthony Maltese
 
14. Resolved, The vice presidency should be abolished
Pro: Douglas L. Kriner
Con: Joel K. Goldstein

“Among the books I use for this course, Debating the Presidency is the students’ favorite...There is no alternative that I have found to be worth substituting.”

Barry L. Tadlock
Ohio University

“Richard J. Ellis and Michael Nelson’s edited volume, Debating the Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on the Presidency, is a tour de force. It mightily enhanced my 2015 course on the executive process. Political science students engaged in spirited arguments over topics as classic as the direct election of the president and as prescient as whether the president has too much power in the selection of judges. Particularly given the plethora of U.S. presidential debates in 2016, such a volume promises to be even more pedagogically powerful in coming years.”  

Henry Sirgo
McNeese State University

“A tried and true teaching tool, provocative topics, and an outstanding group of scholars. Debating the Presidency delivers it all. Discussing critical issues helps people to learn different angles and how to construct winning arguments. This useful supplement is easy to read and useful in the classroom. It contains historical and current events, giving readers a broad range of information about the presidency, American politics, and global affairs.”

Sean Foreman
Barry University
Key features
NEW AND KEY FEATURES:
  • Based on reviewers’ suggestions the authors have added new debate topics that include:
    • Executive orders and other unilateral presidential directives undermine democracy Pro: Gene Healy, Con: Andrew Rudalevige;
    • The vice presidency should be abolished Pro: Douglas L. Kriner, Con: Joel K. Goldstein; and
    • The new media have brought the president closer to the people. Pro: Matthew R. Kerbel, Con: Jeffrey E. Cohen.
  • Extensive updating to the debate on presidential power to select judges.
  • Contributions are written specifically for the volume: essays are both well-suited to undergraduates and are in dialogue with one another.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 6

Chapter 12


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