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Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies

American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies (CCPS) serves scholars, students, policymakers and the public by propelling actionable research, providing public education and promoting a more reasonable democratic square.

James A. Thurber Dialogues on American Democracy

Head shots of speakers

January 29, February 24 and March 24, 2021 | 6 p.m. ET
Via Zoom

­To celebrate the illustrious career of Distinguished University Professor James A. Thurber, American University will host the James A. Thurber Dialogues on American Democracy. In these public conversations, Professor Thurber will partner with leading experts/authorities on democratic vitality to examine the grave dangers that threaten the American Experiment, and to examine the precarious-yet-possible pathways to achieving a “more perfect union.”

The first conversation on Friday, January 29 will feature U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who is also the author of United: Thoughts on Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good. Watch the recording here.

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The second conversation in this series on Wednesday, February 24 will feature Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Historian, author of Twilight of Democracy and GULAG: A History. Watch the recording here.

The third and final conversation on Wednesday, March 24 will feature Robert Putnam (renowned political scientist, author of The Upswing and Bowling Alone)and Shaylyn Romney Garrett (co-author with Robert Putnam of The Upswing).

This event series is sponsored by American University’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, the Kennedy Political Union, and the United States Capitol Historical Society.

RSVP today for one or all of the Dialogues here. 
Zoom link will be sent the day of the event.

The Future of the GOP

February 3, 2021 | 4:30 p.m. ET
Via Zoom

The Future of the GOP

Where does the Republican Party go now that Trump has lost? Does it reclaim the mantle of conservatism? Does it continue its populist march? Does it remain in Trump’s grip? CCPS Director David Barker explored these questions with three prominent thought leaders within the GOP:

  • Sara Fagen (CEO of Deep Root Analytics, contributor to ABC News and former White House Political Director)
  • Henry Olsen (Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and columnist for the Washington Post)
  • Tevi Troy (Presidential historian, former Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, former Senior White House aide)

YouTube recording of the event is available here or above.

Correspondence of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore Project

This project will locate and publish letters, from 1844–53, of the twelfth and thirteenth U.S. presidents.
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2019-2020 Understanding Legislative Negotiation Grant Recipients

We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2019-2020 Understanding Legislative Negotiation grants.

2019 Gill Family Foundation Scholarship

Simon Heuberger Headshot.CCPS is pleased to announce that Simon Heuberger is the recipient of this year's award. Learn more about Simon.

Professor James A. Thurber testifies before Congress

Read Prof. Thurber’s testimony on the topic of unauthorized appropriations.

American University Launches Program on Legislative Negotiation

Launch Event for Program on Legislative Negotiation The Program on Legislative Negotiation addresses the gridlock in Congress and in state legislatures.
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Read the program's latest Request for Proposals: Understanding Legislative Negotiation Research Grants.

David Barker on One Nation, Two Realities

CCPS Director David Barker talked about his book, One Nation, Two Realities: Dueling Facts in American Democracy, and the current political stalemate between Congress and the White House.

Madison Prize Honors Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray

Vicky Wilkins, Sen. Lamar Alexander, and David ScaggsU.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have been named as the inaugural recipients of the Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence by American University School of Public Affairs. The new award recognizes lawmakers who strive for legislative compromise in the same spirit outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10. In an era of extreme polarization in American politics, the Madison Prize is an effort to draw attention to legislators who work across the aisle to resolve difficult issues.
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Congress & the Presidency Journal

Congress and the Presidency: A Journal of Capital StudiesThis publication is an interdisciplinary journal of political science and history, published by American University, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies since 1984. The journal is now being published three times a year. Congress & the Presidency features articles on Congress, the President, the interaction between the two institutions, and national policy-making.
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James A. Thurber Dialogue Featuring Senator Cory Booker

Government & Politics ·

James Thurber Discusses State of American Democracy with Sen. Cory Booker

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Donald Trump's Re-election Prospects

Read Professor John E. Owens’ newest article “Donald Trump’s Re-election Prospects” in the September 2020 issue of Political Insight where he examines polling data that shows the odds stacked against a Trump victory.

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David Barker

Research ·

Research Traces the Roots of Conservative and Liberal Thinking

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Campaign banner for Whig Party candidates in the national election of 1848, promoting Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore

Research ·

Grants Will Support Publication of Presidential Letters of Taylor and Fillmore

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European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute students

European Public Affairs & Advocacy Institute

This unique course will introduce students to the art and craft of lobbying in the European Union.

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political signs

American University Magazine American

My Favorites: Rising Political Stars

Top 10 up-and-coming politicians

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Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute

The Institute features a two-week intensive course in major aspects of lobbying and political influence.

More about PAAI

James Thurber, middle, sits in the Campaign Management Institute classroom.

A Winning Strategy

The Campaign Management Institute has become an internationally recognized curriculum in the art and science of campaigning.

More about CMI

CCPS Video & Audio Clips

  • Setting Limits on Presidential Power Under the Trump Administration

    Watch the video

  • The Transition and the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

    Watch the video

Thurber Scholarship Endowment students

Thurber Scholarship Endowment

The James and Claudia Thurber Scholarship Endowment, established by former AU students and colleagues.

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