Marcus M. Witcher, 20th Century U.S. History
Department of History, University of Central Arkansas 

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Part 1: The Origins and Evolution of the Presidency, 1787-1920


1.The Constitutional Convention

James Madison’s Notes of the Federal Convention

The Constitution 


2. Making the Presidency

Anti-Federalist Essays:

George Mason's "Objections to This Constitution of Government"

Cato's "Letter No. 4"

Federalist Papers: Nos. 69-73


3. Bringing the Presidency to Life: Washington and Adams

George Washington’s First Inaugural Address

James Madison’s Defense of the President’s Removal Power

The Pacificus-Helvidius Letters

George Washington’s Farewell Address


4. The Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, 1800-1808

Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address

Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Vermont Legislature


5. The Triumph of Jeffersonianism, 1808-1828

The Monroe Doctrine

The Tennessee General Assembly’s Protest Against the Caucus System


6. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson, 1828-1836

Andrew Jackson’s First Message to Congress

Andrew Jackson Veto of the Bank Bill; Nullification?


7. The Age of Jackson, 1828-1852


8. The Coming of the Civil War and the Constitutional Crisis, 1852-1860


9. The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln 

Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session

Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Albert G. Hodges

The Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address


10. The Reaction Against Presidential Power

Ex parte Milligan

Articles of Impeachment against Andrew Johnson

The Pendleton Act

Lord James Bryce’s ‘Why Great Men Are Not Chosen President’


11. Progressive Politics and Executive Power: Teddy Roosevelt and Howard Taft

Theodore Roosevelt’s Theory of Presidential Power 

William Howard Taft's Theory of Presidential Power


12. Progressive Politics and Executive Power: Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points



Part 2: The Emergence of the Modern Presidency, 1920-2018


13. The Triumph of Conservative Republicanism

Myers v. United States


14. The Consolidation of the Modern Presidency: Franklin Delano Roosevelt 

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address

Humphrey’s Executor v. United States

United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Court Packing” Address

Report of the Brownlow Committee

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order on Japanese American Internment


15. The Consolidation of the Modern Presidency: Truman and Eisenhower

The Truman Doctrine

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co v. Sawyer

Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Little Rock Executive Order


16. Personalizing the Presidency: John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson

John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address

The Cuban Missile Crisis: John F. Kennedy’s Letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev

Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” Speech

LBJ’s Gulf of Tonkin Message

LBJ’s “Equality of Result” Speech


17. Personalizing the Presidency: Richard Nixon 

Richard Nixon’s China Trip Announcement

The McGovern-Fraser Commission Report

The War Powers Resolution

Proposed Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon

United States v. Nixon


18. The Presidency in the Wake of Watergate: Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter

Gerald R. Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon

Walter F. Mondale’s Memo to Jimmy Carter on the Role of the Vice President

Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence Speech”


19. A Restoration of Presidential Power? Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush

Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address


20. Bill Clinton and the Art of Presidential Survival 

Clinton v. City of New York

Articles of Impeachment against Bill Clinton


21. George W. Bush and Unilateral Presidential Power

Bush v. Gore

George W. Bush’s War on Terrorism Address

The Bush Doctrine

George W. Bush’s Signing Statement for the Defense of Supplemental Appropriations Act

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld


22. Barack Obama and Presidential Leadership

Barack Obama’s Campaign Speech on Race in America

Barack Obama’s Health Care Address

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning et al.


23. The Trump Presidency and the Resilience of Constitutional Government

Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address; Donald Trump’s Tweets