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The Evolving Presidency

The Evolving Presidency
Landmark Documents

Sixth Edition
Edited by:

Other Titles in:
Political History | Presidency

June 2018 | 360 pages | CQ Press

The Evolving Presidency selects primary sources useful for tracing the development of the presidency and places them in a single reader, making it a vital resource for students and instructors.”

—Robert Robinson, California State University Fullerton


Remind your students that primary sources are an essential part of today's information-rich age. In Michael Nelson’s Sixth Edition of The Evolving Presidency, 60 documents help to anchor the ever-changing presidency in historical context. Students encounter a range of documents—from speeches and debates to letters, landmark Supreme Court decisions, and even tweets—that demonstrate how the presidency is shaped through both word and deed. Every selection has its own headnote that is carefully crafted to convey the significance of the document during its own time and its lasting effects on the office of the presidency.


New to the Sixth Edition:

  • This edition contains sixty documents, more than in any previous edition, including additions that reflect historically significant recent events, notably Donald Trump’s inaugural address and his employment of Twitter as a form of presidential communication.
  • Two brand-new additions from the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency:
    • The text of his pessimistic and populist inauguration speech, in which he promised a focus on “America first”;
    • A compilation of 68 tweets from one week in July 2017, providing students with a context to analyze his unprecedented  use of the social network to directly engage with citizens, colleagues in the government, and even other world leaders.
Topical Guide to the Documents
Chapter 1: James Madison’s Notes of the Federal Convention (1787)
Chapter 2: The Constitution (1787)
Chapter 3: Anti-Federalist Essays: George Mason’s "Objections to This Constitution of Government" and Cato’s "Letter No. 4" (1787)
Chapter 4: The Federalist Papers, Nos. 69–73 (1788)
Chapter 5: George Washington’s First Inaugural Address (1789)
Chapter 6: James Madison’s Defense of the President’s Removal Power (1789)
Chapter 7: The Pacificus-Helvidius Letters (1793)
Chapter 8: George Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)
Chapter 9: Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address (1801)
Chapter 10: Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Vermont Legislature (1807)
Chapter 11: The Monroe Doctrine (1823)
Chapter 12: The Tennessee General Assembly’s Protest against the Caucus System (1823)
Chapter 13: Andrew Jackson’s First Message to Congress (1829)
Chapter 14: Andrew Jackson’s Veto of the Bank Bill (1832)
Chapter 15: Abraham Lincoln’s Message to Congress in Special Session (1861)
Chapter 16: Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to Albert G. Hodges (1864)
Chapter 17: The Gettysburg Address (1863)
Chapter 18: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address (1865)
Chapter 19: Ex parte Milligan (1866)
Chapter 20: Articles of Impeachment against Andrew Johnson (1868)
Chapter 21: The Pendleton Act (1883)
Chapter 22: Lord James Bryce's "Why Great Men Are Not Chosen President" (1888)
Chapter 23: Theodore Roosevelt’s (1913) and William Howard Taft’s Theories of Presidential Power (1916)
Chapter 24: Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points (1918)
Chapter 25: Myers v. United States (1926)
Chapter 26: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address (1933)
Chapter 27: Humphrey’s Executor v. United States (1935)
Chapter 28: United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936)
Chapter 29: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Court-Packing” Address (1937)
Chapter 30: Report of the Brownlow Committee (1937)
Chapter 31: Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order on Japanese-American Internment (1942)
Chapter 32: The Truman Doctrine (1947)
Chapter 33: Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952)
Chapter 34: Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Little Rock Executive Order (1957)
Chapter 35: John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address (1961)
Chapter 36: The Cuban Missile Crisis: John F. Kennedy’s Letter to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev (1962)
Chapter 37: Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” Speech (1964)
Chapter 38: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Gulf of Tonkin Message (1964)
Chapter 39: Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Equality of Result” Speech (1965)
Chapter 40: Richard Nixon’s China Trip Announcement (1971)
Chapter 41: The McGovern–Fraser Commission Report (1971)
Chapter 42: The War Powers Resolution (1973)
Chapter 43: Proposed Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon (1974)
Chapter 44: United States v. Nixon (1974)
Chapter 45: Gerald R. Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon (1974)
Chapter 46: Walter F. Mondale’s Memo to Jimmy Carter on the Role of the Vice President (1976)
Chapter 47: Jimmy Carter’s “Crisis of Confidence” Speech (1979)
Chapter 48: Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address (1981)
Chapter 49: Clinton v. City of New York (1998)
Chapter 50: Articles of Impeachment against Bill Clinton (1998)
Chapter 51: Bush v. Gore (2000)
Chapter 52: George W. Bush’s War on Terrorism Address (2001)
Chapter 53: The Bush Doctrine (2002)
Chapter 54: George W. Bush’s Signing Statement for the Defense Supplemental Appropriations Act (2005)
Chapter 55: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)
Chapter 56: Barack Obama’s Campaign Speech on Race in America (2008)
Chapter 57: Barack Obama’s Health Care Address (2009)
Chapter 58: National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning et al. (2014)
Chapter 59: Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address (2017)
Chapter 60: Donald Trump’s Tweets (2017)

The Evolving Presidency selects primary sources useful for tracing the development of the presidency and places them in a single reader, making it a vital resource for students and instructors.”

Robert Robinson
California State University Fullerton

“A good book for exposing students to the original documents. The introductions by Nelson for each document are helpful and insightful.”

Kendra Stewart
College of Charleston

“A nicely-edited series of readings that I use to quickly get my class through large chunks of history. The short introductions to each document are great context, and the documents themselves are just the right length.”

Shauna L. Shames

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ISBN: 9781544323169