American University of Central Asia
Fall Semester 2009
J. Otto Pohl, Ph.D.
Course Description: This course will cover the history of the executive branch of the US government and focus on the person of the president from George Washington to Bill Clinton. Among the topic covered will be the relationship between the president and other branches of the federal government in particular Congress, the role of the presidency in the US rise to global power and lasting legacy of particular presidential policies.
Requirements: The course will consist of assigned readings, lectures, discussion, short writing assignments, an oral report and a research paper. Students will be required to write two 600 to 800 word reflection papers. The first reflection paper will be on the relative historical importance of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln to the US presidency. The second one will be on the lasting importance of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and its subsequent influence, both positive and negative on later presidential administrations. Students will also have to write a 1400 to 2000 word research essay on the enduring legacy of one US president since World War II. The paper is due the last week of class. In the four weeks prior to this deadline each student will be required to give a short oral presentation on the subject of their paper followed by a short question and answer session. Late papers will lose ten percent each day they are late. Students must come to class on time. Being more than fifteen minutes late will count as an absence. Students will lose one letter grade after four unexcused absences and fail the course after seven. Written proof of an emergency from a doctor or other appropriate authority is required for an absence to be excused. No mobile phones are to be visible during class. They are to be out of sight and turned off. I will eject any student from class that has a visible cell phone or whose cell phone rings during class. This will count as an unexcused absence. Finally, I have a significant hearing loss and may have to ask people to repeat their questions or statements from time to time. You can minimize this by speaking loudly and clearly. This syllabus is tentative and subject to change.
Readings: All the readings are contained in the course Packet. The main text for the class is Sidney M. Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776-1993 (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2nd edition, 1994). Supplementary readings will be taken from Richard A. Watson and Norman C. Thomas, The Politics of the Presidency (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 2nd edition, 1988) and Michael Nelson, ed., The Presidency and the Political System (Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly Press, 4th edition, 1995).
Policy on Plagiarism and Citations: I have a zero tolerance policy regarding plagiarism. If I catch any student plagiarizing once I will fail them for the assignment. If I catch them a second time I will fail them from the class. Plagiarism includes any verbatim copying from a source without using quotation marks or setting the text up as an indented single spaced block quotation. If I find that more than five words in a row in your paper show up in the same order in a Google search and you do not have the words in quotation marks or set up as a block quotation I will fail you. Putting a footnote, endnote or other citation after the copied words without the quotation marks or block quotation form is still plagiarism, you are claiming to have paraphrased verbatim text, and you will still receive an F. Taking text from a source without citing it and rearranging the words so that it does not show up in a verbatim Google search is also plagiarism. I will also do Google searches to see if you have taken text and merely rearranged the words. You must either paraphrase the sentence by putting it completely in your own words and citing it with the proper footnote, endnote or in text citation or quote the actual text verbatim complete with the proper citation. Completely paraphrasing sentences in your own words, but neglecting to cite the source of the information is also plagiarism. All information that would not be known to the average person on the street with no university education must be cited. When in doubt always cite a legitimate source. Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. Books published by university presses and academic journal articles found on JSTOR are legitimate sources. Other sources may or may not be legitimate. If you have questions about whether a particular source is legitimate you can ask me. Using Wikipedia or other illegitimate sources will result in a reduction of one letter grade for each citation in a paper.
Two short papers – 30% (15% each)
Written research paper – 30% (Due last week of class)
Oral report on research – 15%
Class participation – 25%
100-96 = A
95-91 = A-
90-86 = B+
85-81 = B
80-76 = B-
75-71 = C+
70-66 = C
65-61 = C-
60-56 = D+
55-51 = D
50-46 = D-
45 and lower = F
Week One: Introduction to the course and review of the syllabus.
Week Two: The Constitution and Historical Overview
Milkis and Nelson chapter 2, Watson and Thomas chapters 2 and 5, and Nelson chapter 7
Week Three: George Washington
Milkis chapter 3
Week Four: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Quincy Adams.
Milkis chapter 4
Week Five: Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan.
Milkis chapter 5
Week Six: Abraham Lincoln
Milkis chapter 6
The first paper is due at the end of the week.
Week Seven: Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin A. Harrison, Grover Cleveland again, and William L. Mckinley.
Milkis chapter 7
Week Eight: Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft
Milkis chapter 8
Week Nine: Woodrow Wilson
Milkis chapter 9
Week Ten: Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover
Milkis chapter 10
Week Eleven: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower
Milkis chapter 11
The second paper is due at the end of the week.
Week Twelve: John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, and Jimmy Carter
Milkis chapter 12
Week Thirteen: Ronald Reagan and George Bush the elder
Milkis chapter 13
Week Fourteen: Bill Clinton
Milkis chapter 14
Week Fifteen: Wrap up and conclusion. The final paper is due at the end of the week.