Founding The American Presidency

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At a time when the institution of the presidency seems in a state of almost permanent crisis, it is particularly important to understand what sort of an institution the framers of the Constitution thought they were creating. "Founding the American Presidency" offers a first-hand view of the minds of the founders by bringing together extensive selections from the constitutional convention in Philadelphia as well as representative selections from the subsequent debates over ratification. Organized topically, the book focuses on those issues of executive power that most deeply concerned and often sharply divided the founders, including the electoral college and impeachment, the presidential term and reeligibility, the veto power and war powers, the power of appointment and the power of pardon. Ellis' judicious selections mean that teachers and students no longer need to settle for the meager rations of a "Federalist" paper or two supplemented by a quick summary of the founders' thoughts before being fast-forwarded to the contemporary presidency. Pointed discussion questions provoke students to consider new perspectives on the presidency. Ideal for all courses on the presidency, the book is also important for all citizens who want to understand not only the past but the future of the American presidency.

Author Biography: Richard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Chair in Politics at Willamette University.

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Editorial Reviews

Andrew Busch
The author has done an excellent job of conveying the fact that there was a real debate over the presidency specifically and the Constitution in general in which reasonable arguments could be found on both sides. Few texts accomplish this feat.
Michael Nelson
Absolutely first rate—Richard Ellis is a superb writer and a thorough and original scholar. Founding the American Presidency is well conceived and well executed, perfect for any course on the presidency.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847694983
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/31/1999
  • Pages: 330
  • Product dimensions: 0.88 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard J. Ellis is the Mark O. Hatfield Chair in Politics at Willamette University.

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Table of Contents

Notes on Reading the Text
Introduction: Prelude to the Presidency 1
Pt. I Constituting the Executive
Ch. 1 One President or Many? 31
Ch. 2 An Executive Council? 44
Pt. II Selecting the President
Ch. 3 The Long and Tortuous Debate 63
Ch. 4 Term of Office and Reeligibility 97
Ch. 5 The Electoral College 110
Pt. III Empowering the President
Ch. 6 To Veto or Not to Veto 129
Ch. 7 War and Peace 154
Ch. 8 The Power of Appointment 181
Ch. 9 Pardon Power 219
Pt. IV Removing the President
Ch. 10 Impeachment 233
Pt. V Debating Presidential Power
Ch. 11 Goldilocks and the Three Branches: A President Too Strong, Too Weak, or Just Right? 257
App. 1 Chronology 280
App. 2 Delegates to the Constitutional Convention 281
App. 3 Convention Reports and Resolutions 282
App. 4 The Constitution of 1787 285
App. 5 Amendments to the Constitution 288
References 292
Index 299
About the Editor 305
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