Washington Center

Presidency/Executive Branch Seminar / Quarter and Semester

Core Seminar
Conference 210

Quarter: September 21 to November 30, 2012      Semester: September 10 to December 3, 2012

The White House, located in the heart of downtown Washington and just a ten minute walk from UCDC, is an international symbol that simultaneously highlights the lofty promise of American democracy and reflects the significant flaws in the American experiment. The research seminar will examine the strengths and drawbacks of presidential leadership, the evolving role of the presidency in American culture, and introduce students to some major thematic debates that define presidential politics. The seminar will draw on the city of Washington as an experience through visits to current and former White House aides, news correspondents, and political and policy experts. Seminar topics include how presidents have sought to enact their reform agendas from the New Deal to Reagan’s economic program to President Obama’s health reform law; how they have struggled to manage foreign affairs while leading the U.S. in wartime; why Congress, the Supreme Court, and the news media thwart and assist presidential agendas at different moments; how presidents have harnessed the “bully pulpit” in the modern age to rally voters to their ideas, push their policies, and position themselves for re-election; and how they have pursued various strategies for manipulating a highly volatile, increasingly hostile Washington media climate. 

Syllabus: SsylDallekExec042.pdf  

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