° Renka's Home Page
° PS103 Syllabus - Summer 2009
° Self Study from Thomas Patterson's The American Democracy Companion Website
° OIS: Drop Box; Utest; Forum; Gradebook

Exam No. 4 (optional) Essay
PS103 Summer 2009
Professor Russell Renka

Answer one question with 2 to 3 pages.  In citations, give the author or authors their due by naming them as the source.  When using Patterson as source, cite the specific page or pages.  With any website source, cite its filename as well as the URL and date of access.  When you quote or closely paraphrase the words of others, enclose all direct uses of their words in quotes.  Essay section value is 100 points.

Due date is by or before noon Monday, August 10 in the Drop Box under "Essay 4" heading.  *This Essay is optional.*  You should do this essay only if:  1) you've been doing better on essays than on the in-class exams, and 2) your current course average is close or very close to a grade borderline (high B or low A, high C or low B).  If you don't do better on these, or have a middle-letter grade now that's unlikely to change by a letter from doing this Essay, then bypass this one.  I grade all essays "blind," meaning it's evaluated and posted without me knowing what effect that has on your final course average or letter grade.

1.  The modern American presidency of 1933-to-present is significantly more powerful than the historical presidency of 1789 to 1933.  What factors have contributed to this change?  What actions have been taken since 1933 to improve the handling of presidential succession (transition from one president to another one) outside the normal path of periodic elections?

2.  Presidential job performance ratings (approval and disapproval) are the standard indicator of how a sitting president fares with his fellow citizens at one point in time.  What are the major factors that contribute to high or low approval ratings?  Why was former President George W. Bush rated highly at one time but quite low ever since early 2006?  And finally, what in your judgment makes someone a successful president?

3.  Presidential powers on national security and foreign policy exceed presidential power to handle domestic policy.  The foreign policy responsibilities include response to the threat of major adversaries like the former Soviet Union and current international terrorist organizations.  What evidence confirms that presidential power is heightened where foreign policy is concerned?  What are the primary factors that account for this discrepancy in power?