Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Farnsworth, Stephen

Second Advisor

Cooperman, Rosalyn

Department Chair or Program Director

Kramer, Jack

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration

Political Science

Department or Program

Political Science and International Affairs


What is the nature of presidential power? What are its limits, and what recognizable forms does it take? These were the questions the late Richard Neustadt attempted to answer in his seminal work Presidential Power and the Modern American Presidents. Neustadt’s prescience and the eloquence he brought to discussions of the presidency inform much of the contemporary literature on the subject. That said, his book was published at a decidedly different moment in American politics, necessitating a reevaluation of many of his core arguments. This paper explores the modern presidential-congressional dynamic, focusing on the development of the legislative presidency and how presidents attempt to push forward their legislative agenda. Neustadt’s insights will be applied to two recent case studies to shed light on the extent to which his model of presidential power is still applicable in the modern age.