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Democracy in America
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Executive Power — United States
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1.

The Constitution [electronic resource]: Fixed or Flexible?

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Examines the search for balance between the original Constitution and the need to interpret and adjust it to meet the needs of changing times. Details the original Jeffersonian-Madisonian debate, the concept of checks and balances, and the stringent procedures for amending the Constitution. Case studies include legislative decisions about capital punishment for mentally retarded individuals, President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley Bill, and the fight for women's suffrage in the United States.
Online
2003
2.

The Modern Presidency [electronic resource]: Tools of Power

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Traces the changes in the Presidency from the 1930's to today. Shows how Presidents today are overtly active in the legislative process, use the media to appeal directly to the people and exercise leadership over an "institutional presidency" with thousands of aides. Cases studies include Johnson's personal campaign to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Nixon's use of the publicity from his attempted assassination to pass his tax cuts legislation and an introduction to President Clinton's "West Wing" support team.
Online
2003
3.

Political Parties [electronic resource]: Mobilizing Agents

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Explains how political parties perform important functions that link the public to the institutions of American government. Parties create coalitions of citizens who share political goals, elect candidates to public office to achieve those goals, and organize the legislative and executive branches of government. Examples include the political advancement of Cindy Montañez, Mayor of the city of San Fernando; the 1993 mayorial race in New York City as a revelation of the differences between Democrats and Republican, and how Senator Jim Jefford's 1991 decision to change his allegiance shifted the balance of power in the Congress and directly influenced the investigation of Enron.
Online
2003
4.

Federalism [electronic resource]: U.S. V. The States

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Explores federalism as a Constitutional compromise, especially in terms of present-day conflicts between people who believe that power should reside primarily in the national government and those who want government authority retained within the states. Case studies include the conflict between Idaho and the federal government when wolves were re-introduced to public lands; the use of federal incentives to influence blood-alcohol standards for drunk drivers in South Carolina, and the devolution of welfare programs in the United States.
Online
2003