Full course description
The focus of this course is primarily to consider the presidential style, character and motivation of US presidents since F.D. Roosevelt, and the extent to which they are considered to be great leaders. What constitutes presidential ‘greatness’ and who decides the criteria? Why isn’t the smartest president always the most successful? What makes for a happy presidential marriage? Why is emotional intelligence so crucial to the job? We will examine the reasoning behind modern presidential aspiration.From the childhood experiences to their marriage and professional lives, what motivates these individuals to run for the most stressful job in the world. From FDR’s 1930s imperial reign to the monarchical desires of Richard Nixon and the contracted executive powers that came in his wake, we will consider how perceptions of greatness have evolved through the century. From the charisma of Ronald Reagan to the legal boundary pushing of Bush43 and Donald Trump, this course will provide athematic historical journey through the best and worst of the nation’s modern presidential history. Participants can have fun ranking these modern leaders based on presidential greatness scores as well as drawing their own conclusions.
This course will take place for 8-weeks, between 1 Febuary to 22 March 2023
Location: Western Gateway Building, UCC. Room G14
Closing date for applications Monday 23 January 2023
Week 1 – Introduction to the Imperial Presidency. Imperial fun facts - a potted US history. Franklin D. Roosevelt – setting the imperial bar
Week 2 – From the ‘Little Man from Missouri’ to the ‘Bland Leading the Bland’ Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenshower – unappreciated in their lifetimes
Week 3 – The Imperial Imperative – JFK to LBJ. The Kennedy complexity and Lyndon Johnson’s imperial urges
Week 4 – From High Imperial to highly imperilled Nixon, Watergate and the Presidential fall from grace. The very decent presidency of Gerald Ford.
Week 5 – The folly of ‘I will never lie to you’ and ‘Morning in America’ From the underappreciated Jimmy Carter to Reagan’s presidential renaissance
Week 6 – The most popular president ever (for a moment) and the flawed saxophone player Buttoned-down conservative to sweat-pants wearing liberal. The presidential handover from GHW Bush to Bill Clinton.
Week 7 – Revisiting then transcending the imperial in the C21. Texan George W Bush pushes the presidential boundaries and Barack Obama redraws them.
Week 8 – Imperial rhetoric and a yearning for ‘dull’ politics. Donald Trump as US CEO and the relief of ‘Sleepy Joe'.
Clodagh Harrington worked as Associate Professor of American Politics at De Montfort University, Leicester until October 2022 and has recently relocated to Cork. Her latest book was Obama V Trump: the Politics of Presidential Legacy and Rollback (2021). The sequel is currently underway. Clodagh is a regular contributor to national and international news media and teaches US Politics at UCC.
Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.
Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.
Closing Date for Applications
Monday 23 January 2023
Contact Details for Further Information