What factors were considered the most important in determining the victory and the loser of the race? Did each candidate shape their campaigns to fit a particular state strategy, given the dictates of the Electoral College system? Did the victor have any coattails, meaning did his party perform well in the House and Senate races? More importantly, what was the meaning of the election in terms of American politics, both in the short and long term?
2. Choose any biographical or autobiographical book about any president of the United States and his time in office. The purpose of the book is to give you a detailed empirical understanding of a particular administration. Your selection does not have to be formally approved (although you might want to discuss it with me). Nevertheless, the more thorough the volume you read, the more prepared you will be to write a thoughtful, analytical essay. Before starting the assignment, make sure that the presidential biography or autobiography that you have selected actually contains enough detailed consideration of the topics to be addressed in the paper.
Once you have read the biography or autobiography, select any two (2) topics you find especially interesting with respect to that president (e.g., the media and foreign policy). Then, thinking and writing with care and precision, craft an essay that addresses what you believe to be the most analytically fruitful mix of the following questions: A. What is the significance of the two topics for the administration? Did issues relevant to them set the tone of the presidency or was their management by the president linked to the success or failure of the administration? B. Having established the contest for evaluating your president with respect to these two topics, how did the president respond to the political, technical, or managerial demands that these issues imposed? C.
Based on all that is relevant from the course, how well did the president meet the challenges introduced by issues in the two topical areas? What facilitated successful or appropriate presidential action, or what contributed to failed or inopportune presidential action? How free or constrained was the president to act and to achieve his intended objectives?