The Atlantic

Where to Begin?

Coming into this research project, I knew it would be a daunting task since the project would entail many different layers. I would first need to define some key terms, like what exactly an imperial presidency is. I also knew that throughout this process that my own partisan views could not limit the sources I use. Obtaining a well-rounded understanding of how Mr. Trump’s presidency would deal with the courts would be essential in gaining the trust of my audience and for them to seriously consider my research.

To begin, I thought it would be helpful to read some pieces from publications like the New York Times, the National Review, and the Atlantic, before I really dug deep into more scholarly works and take on a narrower approach to my project. Not only was this a great way to explore how other authors have approached the subject, but they have been great sources of information regarding other imperial presidencies and how much power such executives can wield. Jonathan Mahler’s New York Times piece, while very George W. Bush-centric, gave me an idea of where to start my research. A good starting point seems to be the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose expansive four terms in office led to the creation of the 22nd Amendment.

The other articles gave me a sense of the importance the incumbent has on the incoming president’s administration. As Conor Friedersdorf explains in his piece in the Atlantic, much of the power that many feared would fall into the hands of then-candidate Trump began with George W. Bush and were continued under Obama. The issue of the surveillance state and the treatment of prisoners of war were significant issues of discussion in the articles I have accessed so far, especially in the courts, which leads me to believe that this will be an important topic area to explore. Now that I have a clear picture of where to begin, I hope the rest of this process will go smoothly.