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. EllisO 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.
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. -- Andrew Busch, University of Denver 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. -- Michael Nelson, Rhodes College