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SAGE Publications

Cover Image: Debating the Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive, Third Edition
  • Date: 02/18/2014
  • Format: Print Paperback
  • Price: $54.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-4833-0776-3
  • Pages: 224
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Debating the Presidency: Conflicting Perspectives on the American Executive, Third Edition
Richard J. Ellis, Willamette University
Michael Nelson, Rhodes College


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.

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.
New to this Edition

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)

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Table of Contents
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.
     Pro: David A. Yalof
     Con: John Anthony Maltese
Reviews
“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
Bio(s)
Richard J. Ellis, Willamette University
Richard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Professor of Politics at Willamette University. Among his recent books are Judging the Boy Scouts of America: Gay Rights, Freedom of Association, and the Dale Case; The Development of the American Presidency; Presidential Travel: The Journey from George Washington to George W. Bush; Judging Executive Power: Sixteen Supreme Court Cases that have Shaped the American Presidency, and Debating Reform: Conflicting Perspectives on How to Fix the American Political System, 2nd Ed. In 2008 he was named the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching Oregon Professor of the Year.

Michael Nelson, Rhodes College

Michael Nelson is the Fulmer Professor of Political Science at Rhodes College and a Senior Fellow of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. His recent books include: The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776–2011, 6th Ed., The Presidency and the Political System, 9th Ed., The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents, 1787-2010, 4th Ed, and Debating Reform: Conflicting Perspectives on How to Fix the American Political System, 2nd Ed. More than fifty of his articles have been reprinted in anthologies of political science, history, music, and English composition, including articles on subjects as varied as baseball, C. S. Lewis, and Frank Sinatra.

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