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Presidents and the American Presidency

Third Edition

Lori Cox Han and Diane J. Heith

Publication Date - May 2022

ISBN: 9780197643457

558 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

Retail Price to Students: $94.99

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


Presidents and the American Presidency, Third 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. Now available in an enhanced ebook format, the text incorporates chapter Learning Objectives, section reviews, videos and web activities, within the narrative offering a digitally enhanced learning experience.

New to this Edition

  • Diversifying the Presidency: considers both recent progress and future challenges in bringing more diverse representation to the institution of the presidency.
  • Full coverage of the 2020 election and aftermath
  • Key events and decisions in the Trump and Biden administrations
  • Changes to the president-media relationship


  • Then and Now: takes a specific issue and compares an historical approach to a contemporary view to analyze how presidents have dealt with challenges while in office.
  • In Their Own Words: highlights one archival document that helps to illustrate a specific topic of each chapter.
  • Researching the Presidency: provides a brief look at recent and innovative empirical research on a key topic.
  • 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 and Doy B. Henley Endowed Chair in American Presidential Studies. Her research and teaching expertise include the presidency, women and politics, media and politics, and political leadership.

Diane J. Heith is Professor of Government and Politics. She is the author of several works on the presidency, public opinion, campaigns and elections, and the media.

Table of Contents

    Chapter 1. Introduction: Studying Presidents and the Presidency
    Historical Context
    Theories and Methodologies
    Sources for Researching the Presidency

    Chapter 2. Presidents and the Constitution
    The Framers' Plan and the Constitutional Convention
    Powers of the Office
    Expansion of Presidential Powers

    Chapter 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

    Chapter 4. The Public Presidency: Communication and Mass Media
    The Evolving Rhetorical Presidency
    Presidential Communication: Strategies and Resources
    The President and the Press

    Chapter 5. The Public Presidency: 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

    Chapter 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

    Chapter 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

    Chapter 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

    Chapter 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

    Chapter 10. Presidents and Foreign Policy
    Foreign Policy Defined
    Presidents and Foreign Policymaking
    The Evolution of U.S. Foreign Policy
    Implementing the Foreign-Policy Agenda

    Appendix A. Conducting Research at Presidential Libraries
    Appendix B. Presidential Election Results, 1789-2020
    Selected Bibliography