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

Third Edition
Edited by:

Courses:
Presidency

February 2014 | 288 pages | CQ Press

The study of the presidency—the power of the office, the evolution of the institution, the men who have served—has generated a rich body of research and scholarship. What better way to get students to grapple with this literature than through conflicting perspectives on some of the most pivotal issues facing the modern presidency? Once again Ellis and Nelson have assembled a cadre of top scholars to offer pro/con essays that will inspire spirited debate beyond the pages of the book. Based on reviewers’ suggestions the authors have added new debate topics that include the presidential power to persuade, an up/down vote by Congress on legislation proposed by the president, presidential czars, the unitary executive, and the president’s war powers. Ellis and Nelson introduce each pair of essays, providing context and preparing students to read each argument critically, so they can decide for themselves which side of the debate they find most persuasive.


 
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 Resolved, the 22nd Amendment should be repealed.
Pro:

David Karol
Con:

Thomas E. Cronin
 
6. 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
 
7. Resolved, presidential power is (still) the power to persuade
Pro:

Matt Dickinson
Con:

George C. Edwards III
 
8. Resolved Congress should be required to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the president
Pro:

William G. Howell and Terry Moe
Con:

B.Dan Wood
 
9. Resolved, presidents have usurped the war power that rightfully belongs to Congress.
Pro:

Nancy Kassop
Con:

Richard M. Pious
 
10. Resolved, President Barack Obama has followed President George W. Bush's approach to the war on terror.
Pro:

Daniel Wirls
Con:

Daniel J. Tichenor
 
11. Resolved, presidential signing statements threaten the rule of law and the separation of powers.
Pro:

Peter M. Shane
Con:

Nelson Lund
 
12. Resolved, presidential “czars” undermine Congress and the Constitution
Pro:

Mitchel A. Sollenberger and Mark J. Rozell
Con:

Justin S. Vaughn and José D. Villalobos
 
13. Resolved, the president has too much power in the selection of judges.
Terri Bimes
Con: Resolved, the framers of the Constitution would approve of the modern presidency.
B. Wood
Con: Resolved Congress should have to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the president
Stephen Wirls
Con: Resolved, the people and their representatives should have the power to recall an unethical, corrupt, or ineffectual president.
Daniel Tichenor
Con: Resolved, Obama has followed Bush's approach to the war on terror.
Thomas Cronin
Con: Resolved, the 22nd Amendment should be repealed.
George Edwards
Con: Resolved, presidential power is (still) the power to persuade
Richard Pious
Con: Resolved, presidents have usurped the war power that rightfully belongs to Congress.
Fred Greenstein
Con: Resolved, success in the presidency has more to do with historical circumstances than the president’s character and leadership skills.
John Maltese
Con: Resolved, the president has too much power in the selection of judges.
Nelson Lund
Con: Resolved, presidential signing statements undermine the rule of law and the separation of powers.
Daniel Tichenor
Pro: Resolved, the people and their representatives should have the power to recall an unethical, corrupt, or ineffectual president.
Burdett Loomis
Pro: Resolved, the president should be elected directly by the people.
Justin Vaughn, Jose Villalobos
Con: Resolved, presidents have no authority to appoint executive branch “czars” without congressional consent.
Pro:

David A. Yalof
Con:

John Anthony Maltese

“This text is a great supplement to the main text I assign. The brief introduction in each chapter nicely frames the issue and the format of the text exposes students to both sides of the debate. My students have responded very positively to the text, particularly because the essays are relatively short and written appropriately for undergraduate students.”

Andrew H. Sidman
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

“This is one of my favorite books to use as a teaching tool—students respond well to the challenge to think critically about both sides of important arguments about the presidency. The chapter introductions are tremendously valuable and quite well done.”

Brendan Doherty
U.S. Naval Academy
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION:

 

  • Five new debate resolutions added:
    • Resolved, President Barack Obama has followed President George W. Bush's approach to the war on terror (Pro: Daniel Wirls, Con: Daniel Tichenor)
    • Resolved, Congress should have to vote up or down on legislation proposed by the president (Pro: Will Howell Con: B. Dan Wood)
    • Resolved, the unitary executive is a myth (Pro: Richard J. Ellis; Con: Saikrishna Prakash)
    • Resolved, presidential power is (still) the power to persuade (Pro: Matt Dickinson; Con: George Edwards)
    • Resolved, presidential “czars” undermine Congress and the Constitution (Pro: Mark Rozell and Mitchel Sollenberger; Con: Justin S. Vaughn and José D. Villalobos)

KEY FEATURES:

  • Brief chapter introductions provide context for each of the debate resolutions.
  • 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 3

Chapter 13


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