The past five years have forced a national reexamination of the institution of the American presidency. And the effect has been traumatic. Allies of former President Trump celebrated the disruption of presidential “norms” in support of populist ideals. Supporters of President Biden bemoaned the disappearance of those “norms” and saw, especially on January 6th 2021, the threat that a resurgent “Imperial Presidency” posed to American democracy and its constitutional system. This course will introduce students to the evolution of the presidency, especially its phases in the modern era. Besides providing an historical context for the 45th and 46th presidencies, the class will examine the nuts and bolts of the most powerful executive position in the World. What role have modern presidents played in shaping our economy, our institutions, our environment and the global system? Are there any limits on presidential power at home and abroad? How were these limits established and, under our constitutional system, can they be undone? How have the nuclear and digital ages and this extremely partisan moment affected those powers? What role does the character or personality of the incumbent play in the functioning or effectiveness of a presidency? More specifically, to what extent have modern presidents added to, lessened or simply ignored the racial, social and environmental injustices and economic disparities that tarnish and contradict the promise of this country’s founding documents. The core objective of this course is to assist students in acquiring the knowledge and analytical skills to assess any American presidency and understand its role in shaping the United States and the wider world.