Washington Center

The Presidency and Executive Branch

Day and Time: 
Fridays, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 10 - March 13, 2014
Semester Dates: 
January 10 - April 17, 2014
Core Seminar

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 strategies to manipulate a highly volatile, increasingly hostile Washington media climate.  

Course Syllabus

Course ID: