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Presidents and the American Presidency

Second Edition

Lori Cox Han and Diane J. Heith

Publication Date - July 2017

ISBN: 9780190611460

488 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $69.99

Shows the real-life inner workings of the presidency by balancing historical, empirical, and archival approaches


Presidents and the American Presidency, Second Edition, engages students in the study of the presidency through an exploration of both the political institution and the men who have held the office. Considering both the strengths and the weaknesses of the office, authors Lori Cox Han and Diane J. Heith move beyond purely theoretical analysis to examine the real-life, day-to-day responsibilities and challenges of the presidency. They incorporate archival documents from multiple administrations, offer extensive coverage of methodology, and integrate both institutional and president-centered approaches.

New to this Edition

  • Updated to reflect the first days of the Trump presidency
  • A new feature, "Researching the Presidency," which provides a brief look at innovative empirical research
  • A new selected bibliography of some of the most important historical and contemporary works on the presidency
  • New online resources for each chapter


  • Incorporates archival documents from multiple administrations in a--"Then and Now" format--that reveal the inner workings of the White House and animate the discussions from the perspective of the presidents and other political actors
  • Offers extensive coverage of methodology, teaching students how to analyze the institution
  • Develops critical-thinking skills by integrating both institutional and president-centered approaches
  • Includes an in-depth discussion of campaign finance as an essential part of electing presidents

About the Author(s)

Lori Cox Han is Professor of Political Science at Chapman University.

Diane J. Heith is Professor of Government and Politics at St. John's University.


"Presidents and the American Presidency is a model of the perfect text. It reviews presidential scholarship and the basics that any presidency text should cover. In addition, it invites students to conduct research using primary sources by exploring the vast array of available presidential documents and the presidential library system."--Margaret E. Scranton, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

"The organization of this book is spot-on. I like having the public presidency broken into the rhetoric and staffing sections, followed by a section on the public's reaction. I also like the introductory chapter, which focuses students' minds from the beginning on the fact that this is a topic to be approached with intellectual rigor."--Rebecca E. Deen, University of Texas

"This is a comprehensive text that informs students and gives them opportunities to pursue independent study of subjects of interest."--Michael Kanner, University of Colorado, Boulder

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with a Conclusion.
    Tables and Figures
    1. Introduction: Studying Presidents and the Presidency
    Historical Context
    Theories and Methodologies
    Sources for Researching the Presidency
    2. Presidents and the Constitution
    The Framers' Plan and the Constitutional Convention
    Powers of the Office
    Expansion of Presidential Powers
    3. The Presidential Selection Process
    The Nominating Process in Historical Perspective
    The Pre-Nomination Period
    Primaries and Caucuses
    Financing Presidential Campaigns
    National Party Conventions
    The General Election
    The Consequences of Winning
    4. The Public Presidency: Communication and Mass Media
    The Evolving Rhetorical Presidency
    Presidential Communication: Strategies and Resources
    The President and the Press
    5. Presidents and Public Opinion
    The Evolving View of the Public
    Evaluating the President
    Popularity as a Source of Presidential Power
    Presidential Polling as a Source of Power
    Other Ways to Gather Opinion
    6. Presidents and the Legislative Branch
    The President's Formal Role in the Legislative Process
    Creating the Chief Legislator
    Achieving Legislative Success
    The Challenges of Sharing Powers
    7. Presidents and the Judicial Branch
    Nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court
    Nominations to Lower Federal Courts
    The President's Relationship with the Judicial Branch
    8. Presidents and the Executive Branch
    The Job of the Chief Executive
    The Executive Office of the President
    Presidential Control of the Bureaucracy
    Vice Presidents
    First Ladies
    9. Presidents and Domestic/Economic Policy
    The Political Environment
    Domestic and Economic Policymaking
    Actors in the Policymaking Process
    Economic Policy
    Domestic Policy
    Health Care: A Case Study
    10. Presidents and Foreign Policy
    Foreign Policy Defined
    Presidents and Foreign Policymaking
    The Evolution of American Foreign Policy
    Implementing the Foreign Policy Agenda
    Appendix A. Conducting Research at Presidential Libraries
    Appendix B. Presidential Election Results, 1789-2016