Presidential Power: Documents Decoded provides a thorough examination of the historical and political context of key, critical moments in constitutional history and presidential power that makes possible opportunities for students to explore American politics in an interesting, memorable, and dynamic way. Each of the case studies reveals important dimensions of the constitutional order in the United States—and enables readers to better grasp how executive power has shifted and expanded.
The book takes specific events, people, institutions, or ideas and places them in a broader context so that readers can observe patterns and make connections among seemingly disparate happenings and concepts relating to executive power. Accompanied by explanatory sidebars, the included primary sources let students examine actual documentary evidence of key elements of executive power—for example, the presidential memorandum, the National Security cable, and the prisoner’s petition—and reach their own judgment of the implications of that document for the American political system.
- Covers topics such as Operation Pastorius, the Watergate scandal, the Iran-Contra affair, and drone strikes to show how each presented tests of presidential power
- Utilizes events and developments throughout U.S. history—from the nation's founding to the contemporary era—to demonstrate how these singular, focusing events are often reflections of broader political, economic, and social forces