Presidential scholars increasingly turn to science to address the fundamental issues in the field, but undergraduates are rarely taught the skills to do the same. The American Presidency introduces students to new insights produced by the scientific study of the presidency and the scientific endeavor itself. After chapters on the scientific study of the presidency and background information on the presidency, the text discusses prominent theories of presidential power. Chapters on presidential elections, the president's relationship with other political actors (such as Congress and the Supreme Court), the president's role in foreign and economic policy, and presidential greatness include guided research exercises that provide students with the opportunity to apply the scientific method to empirical questions with significant theoretical content. The American Presidency provides students with the opportunity to learn about the presidency and enables them to draw their own reasoned conclusions about the nature of presidential power.
"Irwin Morris' The American Presidency is smart, thoughtfully organized, and well written; it covers the main substantive areas of presidency research, doing so with impressive fidelity to the intellectual debates and current findings in each. Yet the book's core strength comes not from summarizing prevailing political science scholarship, but rather from leading students from the research question that motivated different studies, to the theses that have sought to answer them, and ultimately through the evidence that rendered a verdict. Indeed, Morris models for students how to weigh competing ideas about the modern presidency with critical thinking and systematic evidence. There is no other presidency textbook like this, which is why The American Presidency is such a valuable contribution."
- Matthew N. Beckmann, University of California, Irvine
"No other textbook on the presidency engages students so closely with the research enterprise. Morris innovatively combines solid substantive backgrounds on aspects of the presidency with appropriately guided research exercises."
- James E. Campbell, University at Buffalo, SUNY
"Morris's sharp focus on the epistemological foundations of presidency research and integrative analysis provide a cogent and intellectually challenging framework for a new generation of scholars of executive politics in the US."
- Richard S. Conley, University of Florida
"Irwin Morris has written a valuable volume on the scientific study of the presidency that should stimulate advanced undergraduates and graduate students alike to think seriously about theoretical approaches to pressing questions about the presidency and the ways in which theory can be objectively and empirically tested. This book clearly demonstrates how to conduct political science research and challenges readers to tackle political puzzles about the presidency themselves."
- Brendan J. Doherty, United States Naval Academy
"This is a terrific and frankly much-needed book. Morris argues that we need to develop and test rigorous theories of the presidency, but he also provides practical guidance and insightful research ideas. This is a must read for all undergraduate and graduate classes."
- Richard W. Waterman, University of Kentucky