Investigating American Presidents

Watch Investigating American Presidents

  • 2018
  • 1 Season

Investigating American Presidents from The Great Courses Signature Collection is an engaging and enlightening historical series that digs deep into the lives and legacies of the men who have held the highest office in the land. Hosted by renowned legal expert and former prosecutor Paul Rosenzweig, the show explores the personalities, policies, scandals, and achievements of each president, weaving together a rich tapestry of American history that spans more than two centuries.

Through a combination of expert analysis, insightful interviews, and compelling archival footage, Investigating American Presidents provides a nuanced and multifaceted portrait of the individuals who have shaped the course of the nation. From the early days of George Washington and John Adams, to the more recent presidencies of Barack Obama and Donald Trump, the show examines the highs and lows of each administration, shedding light on the political, social, and cultural forces that shaped their policies and decisions.

One of the strengths of Investigating American Presidents is its attention to detail and its commitment to historical accuracy. Rather than simplifying or whitewashing the past, the show confronts the complex realities of each presidency, exploring both the successes and failures of America's leaders. Whether discussing the role of Thomas Jefferson in the Louisiana Purchase or the challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, the show provides a nuanced and thoughtful analysis that brings each president to life in vivid detail.

Another hallmark of the series is its emphasis on context and perspective. Instead of simply recounting the facts of each presidency, Investigating American Presidents places each leader in the broader historical and societal context of their time. This allows viewers to see how each president was both shaped by and instrumental in shaping the events and issues of his era. From the emergence of party politics in the 19th century to the rise of globalization in the 21st century, the show places each presidency in its rightful place in the ongoing American story.

Throughout the series, host Paul Rosenzweig proves to be an adept and engaging guide, leading viewers through the intricate and often surprising depths of American history. A former prosecutor and legal scholar, Rosenzweig brings a keen-eyed intellect and a wealth of knowledge to each episode, illuminating the intricacies of law, politics, and presidential power with clarity and insight. His interviews with guest experts and historians provide additional perspectives and insights, creating a rich and multi-layered exploration of each presidency.

In terms of production values, Investigating American Presidents is top-notch. The show features a rich array of archival footage, photographs, documents, and other materials that help bring each president's story to life. The use of modern graphics and visual effects also adds a fresh and dynamic energy to the series, making it accessible and engaging for viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

Overall, Investigating American Presidents from The Great Courses Signature Collection is a must-watch for anyone with a passion for American history, politics, or law. With its detailed and nuanced approach, the series offers a fresh and insightful look at the individuals who have shaped American democracy, providing a rich and multifaceted perspective on our nation's past, present, and future. Whether you're a student, a scholar, or just a curious citizen, this show is a thought-provoking and illuminating exploration of the individuals who have played a pivotal role in the story of America.

Investigating American Presidents is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (12 episodes). The series first aired on November 30, 2018.

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The Law and Politics of Impeachment
12. The Law and Politics of Impeachment
November 30, 2018
Conclude this series with a study of the "nuclear option" in presidential investigations: impeachment. Learn why impeachment is inevitably as much a political event as a legal one - and why, when a presidency is on the line, public opinion is at least as powerful a determinant of the outcome as the laws that are on the books.
The Value of Investigative Reports
11. The Value of Investigative Reports
November 30, 2018
Even if formally cleared of wrongdoing, a president or a presidential aide may live with the stigma of investigation forever thanks to an independent counsel's report. First, explore why many investigations typically happen behind closed doors. Then, turn to how the rules are different for presidents and their senior staff (and whether or not that's a good idea).
Presidential Lies and Cover-Ups
10. Presidential Lies and Cover-Ups
November 30, 2018
Presidential lies can undermine our belief in the fairness of our system of government and our faith in its legitimacy. In this episode, focus on how the president isn't special when it comes to certain matters of law and evidence (lying under oath, obstruction of justice, and grand jury subpoenas) - as well as some key caveats to this view.
The Pardon Power and Its Limits
9. The Pardon Power and Its Limits
November 30, 2018
Investigate the use of presidential pardons. Start by looking at two general types of pardons in American history: the "justice and mercy" pardon and the "peacefulness" pardon. Then, focus on key questions about the presidential pardon power: Can American presidents pardon co-conspirators for crimes they've committed, thereby frustrating an investigation? Can they pardon themselves?
Presidents, Prosecutors, and Public Opinion
8. Presidents, Prosecutors, and Public Opinion
November 30, 2018
The most significant confrontation between a president and a president's investigators happens not in a court of law but in the court of public opinion. Often, the "storyline" is the deciding factor in how an investigation will be seen by future historians. Examine four different tactics used by President Bill Clinton and his team that helped them achieve a public relations victory.
Presidential Use and Abuse of Privileges
7. Presidential Use and Abuse of Privileges
November 30, 2018
Depending on where you sit, testimonial privileges are either barriers to the truth or limitations on the disclosure of sensitive information. Using the Whitewater and Lewinsky scandals that swirled around President Bill Clinton and his lawyer, Bruce Lindsey, in the late 1990s, explore the topics of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.
Can a Sitting President Be Indicted?
6. Can a Sitting President Be Indicted?
November 30, 2018
Assume for a moment that there exists convincing evidence of a president's criminality. What does that do to the country's management? Is it legal to indict a sitting president? Or does the president in question just "get away" with it? Ponder these and other intriguing questions about whether or not a president is in a class of his/her own when it comes to indictments.
Rise and Fall of the Independent Counsel
5. Rise and Fall of the Independent Counsel
November 30, 2018
After the Nixon presidency, Congress and the American public became convinced that an independent investigator function was essential. Twenty years later, they let that function expire. Follow the swing from the Nixon era to the independent counsel of the Reagan and Clinton eras back to the special counsel leading the investigation of Russian election hacking and the 2016 Trump campaign.
Watergate and the Special Prosecutor
4. Watergate and the Special Prosecutor
November 30, 2018
The names of the Watergate burglars are mostly forgotten - but the consequences of their arrest brought down President Richard Nixon. Topics in this episode include two important Supreme Court cases that shaped a president's power to dismiss personnel, as well as the Independent Counsel Act, which established a truly independent form of investigative authority.
Separation of Powers and the Presidency
3. Separation of Powers and the Presidency
November 30, 2018
Today, legislative and judicial oversight of the presidency are a permanent part of American government and critical to limiting and restraining the possibility of executive abuse. In this episode, learn how our system of checks and balances came to exist - with, among other things, a close look at the landmark judicial review case, Marbury v. Madison.
Presidential Investigations through History
2. Presidential Investigations through History
November 30, 2018
Presidential crises and abuses of power aren't just features of modern times. Early executive scandals have had significant long-term effects that resonate down the corridors of time. Learn how we're still dealing with the fallout of famous investigations into abuses of presidential power, including Ulysses S. Grant's Whiskey Ring and Warren G. Harding's Teapot Dome scandal.
American Presidents and the Rule of Law
1. American Presidents and the Rule of Law
November 30, 2018
After exploring the roots of the presidency and presidential power as outlined in the Constitution, consider the advantages and disadvantages a president has during an investigation. Then, Professor Rosenzweig explains why this subject is essential knowledge for any American citizen. #History
Where to Watch Investigating American Presidents
Investigating American Presidents is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Investigating American Presidents on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon and Kanopy.
  • Premiere Date
    November 30, 2018