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Vigorous Executive: The President in American Politics and Culture

This e- reader was compiled for the Wittenberg Summer School, Leucorea Foundation,
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U.S. Presidency


The Last Word: Presidential Power and the Role of Signing Statements. Christopher S Kelley and Bryan W Marshall. Presidential Studies Quarterly June 2008, 248-267
" Signing statements have become an important device that both protects and enhances presidential power by signaling how legislation is to be implemented, offering a mechanism of electoral reward, and protecting presidential prerogatives. We offer a first cut at explaining signing statements by applying William Howell's theory of unilateral action."
Christopher S. Kelley is a visiting assistant professor of political science at Miami University. Bryan W Marshall is an associate professor at Miami University.
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The Language of Freedom in the American Presidency, 1933-2006. Kevin Coe. Presidential Studies Quarterly September 2007, 375-398
"Freedom is the most familiar symbol in American political culture, but little is known about how presidents have employed this symbol in their discourse. This study uses quantitative and qualitative analysis to examine the language of freedom in more than seventy years worth of presidential speeches."
Kevin Coe is a graduate teaching and research assistant at the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign.
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The Contemporary Presidency: The Decline and Resurgence and Decline (and Resurgence?) of Congress: Charting a New Imperial Presidency. Andrew Rudalevige. Presidential Studies Quarterly September 2006, 506-524
"The presidency was designed to have limited power, suspended in a series of checks and balances. But executive authority expanded dramatically over time... Yet even before September 11, assertive presidents and fragmented Congresses had allowed the presidency to regain much of the initiative lost in the 1970s; and in the global war on terror, a "new" imperial presidency has been cemented, grounded in broad claims to a "unitary" executive branch. Will there be another legislative resurgence in response? The question goes to the legitimacy of representative government's responses to the crises that already define the twenty-first century."
Andrew Rudalevige is an associate professor of political science at Dickson College. From August 2007 through July 2009 he is serving as director of the Dickinson Humanities Program located in London and Norwich, England.
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Unilateral Powers: A Brief Overview. William Howell. Presidential Studies Quarterly September 2005, 417-439
"To advance their policy agenda, presidents have two options. They can submit proposals to Congress and hope that its members faithfully shepherd bills into laws; or they can exercise their unilateral powers-issuing such directives as executive orders, executive agreements, proclamations, national security directives, or memoranda-and thereby create policies that assume the weight of law without the formal endorsement of a sitting Congress. To pursue a unilateral strategy, of course, presidents must be able to justify their actions on some blend of statutory, treaty, or constitutional powers; and when they cannot, their only recourse is legislation. But given the ambiguity of Article II powers and the massive corpus of law that presidents can draw upon, as well as the well-documented travails of the legislative process, the appeal of unilateral powers is readily apparent."
William G. Howell is associate professor of government at Harvard University.
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Virtual Project

The American Presidency Project. University of California Santa Barbara
The site was established in 1999. It was developed by John Woolley, professor and chair of the UCSB Department of Political Science, and Gerhard Peters, a graduate student in the same department,at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The project contains 77 621 documents and more than 700 recordings related to the study of the Presidency.


American Presidency. Syllabus. Casey B.K. Dominguez. University of San Diego.
This is an introduction to the American presidency, including power point presentations, questions and recommended articles and essays.
Casey Dominguez is assistant professor at University of San Diego/political science department.

New Media



New Media as the Message. Alexis Simendinger. National Journal April 19, 2008, 40-44
"Internet videos, news, and citizen-generated media are having an impact, but it's not certain that they are powerful enough yet to be game-changers...In an around-the-clock media environment fixated on all things political, Obama has experimented with new tools for communication in a media climate so diffuse that it's difficult for any candidate to shape a message let alone hold it for a few hours. He and his team have exploited the elite media's enthusiasms for the history-making features of his campaign, while also making adroit use of technology to push information to supporters using a network that some describe as "offline.""
Alexis Simendinger is the national correspondent of the National Journal.
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The "Net Effect' on Political Campaign Strategy. Philipp Britt. Information Today June 2007, 1-3
"The 2008 presidential election and the preceding primaries could be the first political decisions largely influenced by the Internet and new media, much like the pivotal role television played in the 1960 election... While some say the "Net effect" will be little because the Internet is simply another communications channel, others say the Internet could influence enough undecided voters to tip the balance in a close race, much the same way as in the Kennedy-Nixon election."
Philipp Britt is freelance journalist.
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To '08 Hopefuls, Media Technology Can be Friend or Foe.Patrick Healy. New York Times January 31, 2007, A15
The article describes how new media technology is used by several candidates in the presidential campaigns.
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The Contemporary Presidency: The Presidency and Image Management: Discipline in Pursuit of Illusion. Jeremy Mayer. Presidential Studies Quarterly. September 2004, 620-631
"The exigencies of the modern media age require that presidents put great effort into the crafting and maintenance of a positive image with the American people. The power of the president to realize his agenda in Washington and indeed around the world is directly affected by his standing with the public. The presidential image has become more contested, personal, and malleable as it has become more central and puissant."
Jeremy Mayer is the director of the Master program for Public Policy at Mason University.
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The Internet and the 2008 Election. Report. Aaron Smith and Lee Rainie. Pew Internet & American Life Project June 15, 2008
This reports shows the impact of new media on voters. The following facts are from the summary of findings:
- "46% of all adults are using the internet, email, or phone text messaging for political purposes in this election"
- "40% of all Americans (internet users and non-users alike) have gotten news and information about this year’s campaign via the internet"
- " 23% of Americans say they receive emails urging them to support a candidate or discuss the campaign once a week or more"

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Women and Politics


Faith and Sex, President Under Pressure: Electoral Coalitions and Strategic Presidents. Barbara Morris and Noelle Norton. Congress & Presidency Spring 2008, 1-27
Moriss and Norton created the term " benign competence" to describe the motivation in presidential initiatives. In the article they analyze the office of Women's Initiatives and Outreach during the Clinton administration and the Office of Faith-Based and Commmunity Initiatives during the George W. Bush adminstration.
Barbara Morris is professor of political science at the University of Redlands. Noelle Norton is professor of political science and international relations at University of San Diego.
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Women for President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns. Book Review. Johns Hopkins University 2008
Erika Falk has written a book about female candidates for the White House from the past until today. Falk believes that female candidates do not get the same press coverage like their male counterparts. The article presents a list the gender bias in press coverage.
Erika Falk is the associate program chair for the master's degree program in communications at Johns Hopkins University and the former research director of the Washington office of the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Can a Woman Be Elected President? James Conroy. Pennsylvania State University. September 17, 2007
In the book " Paving the Way for Madam President" Nicola Gutgold, associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley she discusses opinions about a female president in the United States. Her point of view is that this has more to do with topics than gender.

Anticipating Madam President. Janet M Martin. Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Spring 2007. 170-174
Janet Martin reviews the book Anticipating Madam President by Robert P Watson and Ann Gordon. The publication is a collection of essays about a female president. Mostly political scientists discuss the topic from different positions.
Janet M Martin is professor of Government at Bowdoin College.
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Further Readings and Links

About USA . U.S. Government. The Constitution. U.S. Embassy in Germany

About USA. U.S. Government. Elections. U.S. Embassy in Germany The Presidency. Facts about the office of the U.S. presidency. Department of State Test Your Knowledge of the U.S. Presidency. Department of State

Infoalert. Presidency & Diplomacy. U.S. Embassy in Germany
InfoAlert highlights recent articles and reports from leading U.S. journals and policy sources and provides informed commentary on international and domestic issues. The InfoAlert is compiled by the staff of U.S. Embassy and Consulate Information Resource Centers in Germany.
( Some articles are password-protected and are available for professional and institutional audiences only. Copyright legislation prevents us from making articles available to users outside of Germany. Also, because of the Smith-Mundt Act, we cannot send articles to users in the United States.)
Recent articles:

The Long Campaign: U.S. Elections 2008. e-Journal. Department of State. October 2007.
This edition of e-Journal USA presents an introduction to the upcoming 2008 U.S. elections. In these elections, U.S. voters will have the opportunity to vote for president and vice president, congressional representatives, state and local officials, and ballot initiatives. The journal describes aspects of this election which make it different from most recent elections and includes a pro-con debate of the Electoral College.




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U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany /Public Affairs/ Information Resource Centers
July 2008