To develop your analysis, I would like you to use your own words and paraphrase the ideas of the authors we have been reading. The use of some direct quotes to develop your analysis is also welcome. Please cite specific pages from the readings to support your work, and you should do this even when you are not directly quoting.
Part A. Identify and discuss the significance (2 paragraphs for each answer) of two of the following terms (35 points each, 70 points total). Your answers should draw on the readings and focus on how these terms relate to our understanding of the presidency (including reference to the particular presidents we have focused on in the last modules). Note here that you should also reference the frameworks we have explored rather than just describing the policy. For instance, is it helpful to think about Neustadt’s ideas when discussing Lyndon Johnson and how how he helped pass the Civil Rights Act? Does Skowronek’s theory help us understand Reagan’s policies? How does Grover see OSHA fitting into his ‘structural’ or political economy approach to the presidency?
- Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 (Reagan)
- Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Johnson)
- Disjunctive (regime decline) presidents (this could potentially include Carter and Trump)
- Carter’s energy bill of 1977
Part B. Among the presidents we focused on in the second half of class, which one is most interesting to you and why? Write a short (at least 1 full paragraph) discussion of this question that references at least one example from the readings of a particular policy, political issue, or skill associated with that president. (10 points – there is no wrong answer here, so don’t worry too much about points.)
Answer 1 question (170 points). Please write a 3-4 page (suggested length) work You should write this as clearly as possible and use page citations to support your analysis, but the writing style can be a little more informal than the paper assignments. I might suggest typing it out as if you were in class taking the work, and then going back and adding extra details and page citations (and possibly direct quotes) to strengthen your work:
1. “Political and economic context creates more opportunity for some presidents than for others. But skill determines how well or poorly presidents respond to those opportunities.”
Write work that explores the two sides of this argument while discussing the domestic policy efforts of at least two of the presidents focused on in recent class readings (Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Trump). In other words, please explore how context shapes the possibilities for different presidents, and also consider how their political skills then influence what they accomplish. Make sure you use class frameworks (theories) in your argument. Your work should also provide specific policy examples in relation to each president you are discussing (these can be “successes” and/or “failures” in terms of a given president’s ability to achieve their own policy agenda and related goals).
2. “No one model fully explains the presidency. Instead, we need to combine and contrast insights from multiple models to understand the actions and results of any particular president.”
Is this statement convincing? Write work exploring this argument, assessing the value of applying the different frameworks we have studied to understanding presidential behavior and results. You should focus on the domestic policy of modern presidents, giving concrete examples that support your argument and drawing on a range of perspectives (bargaining /persuasion, going public, political time, structuralism, administrative strategies, etc.). You should discuss in detail at least two modern presidents from among those covered in the last two modules (Johnson, Carter, Reagan, Trump — and also feel free to reference any other examples you find helpful, such as those relating to FDR).