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What was the president’s attitude toward domestic policymaking? What did he feel was the appropriate role of the president in domestic policymaking? What did he think the president’s role was in interacting with Congress

We have examined several presidents and their contributions to the development of the American presidency. In this paper, you must choose one of the following Presidents: James Monroe, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, Ulysses Grant, or Benjamin Harrison and explore his impact on the office of the presidency.

 

You are not writing a short biography of this President. You are specifically interested in your President’s contributions to the development of the presidency as an institution. I am not interested in facts about your President’s childhood, his family life, or his favorite hobbies. Your focus is on how the presidency changed during the course of his time in office. In introducing your president, you should explain which president you are analyzing and place him in historical context (when did he serve, what was going on in the country – i.e. economic crises, wars, etc. – during his presidency). This should take one page or less.

 

Next, your paper will focus on your chosen president and three aspects of the presidential institution.

 

Domestic Policy: What was the president’s attitude toward domestic policymaking? What did he feel was the appropriate role of the president in domestic policymaking? What did he think the president’s role was in interacting with Congress (this could include his views on communicating with Congress, using the veto, State of the Union messages, speeches or other communication with the public)? Did he ever cite any role models (previous presidents, for example) on whom he based his own approach? If so, who and what did he take from them? Did your president discuss the Constitution or the public as influences? If so, how/what? How did his various audiences react to his domestic policymaking (or lack thereof)? Audiences include the public, the media, Congress, the courts. Did his actions seem to be in line with his professed beliefs about the appropriate role of the president in domestic policy, or did he diverge from his professed views? If so, how? This discussion must include some concrete examples to illustrate your points.

 

Foreign Policy: This should be different from the president’s views on domestic policy. What were his views about the role of presidents in foreign policymaking? What influenced those views and how did they influence them? (for example: world events, previous presidents, etc.) Did his actions seem in line with his professed beliefs about the appropriate role of the president in foreign policy, or did he diverge from those professed views? If so, how? What was the reaction of his various audiences to his foreign policy actions? Audiences include the public, the media, other countries, Congress, and the courts.

 

The Institution: What effect did your president have on the institution of the presidency? Was this a short-term or long-lasting effect? How did the presidency change as a result of his actions? What remained the same? How did your president’s actions affect the institution’s relations with: Congress, the media, the public? What offices and policies created by your president remained after he left office? In other words: In what way(s) did this president have a lasting impact on how the presidency functions and how it fits into the American system of government?

 

For this paper, you may want to check out biographies about your chosen president. Since other students may be looking for the same biographies, you should get started early on this. You may also use your lecture notes (make sure you cite the lecture if you want to use it), textbooks, political science and history journals (e.g. Presidential Studies Quarterly).

 

A Note about Sources and Plagiarism: You absolutely, positively MAY NOT use encyclopedias (on-line or otherwise), or blogs, or left- and right-leaning media websites, or websites of political groups as a source for this paper. I know what they say, I’ll be looking for them, and any use of them will severely (in the most severe way) affect your grade. I will also randomly screen papers for plagiarism. It is an unfortunate reality in this day and age that the temptations to cheat are great and it is relatively easy to do so. It is also relatively easy to catch it, and I will be doing so. If you are caught, you will receive a failing grade for the course may be subject to the University’s disciplinary process for academic dishonesty.

 


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