New Exhibit Examines Historic Challenges of the Executive Branch

As a part of the Fall 2021 Buchanan Library Fellowship The American Presidency: Challenges of the Executive Branch undergraduate fellows explored the opportunities and challenges of the American Executive Branch. Fellows selected books, manuscripts, government publications, and news broadcasts from the Vanderbilt libraries collections to uncover historic decisions and dilemmas of the federal government’s executive branch. Working with librarians and faculty, they conducted background research for each of their themes, selected objects and wrote original label copy to describe in historical context their case themes and objects for an exhibit in the lobby of Central Library.  This exhibit now also has an online component, to further amplify their findings.

Buchanan Fellows viewing primary sources in Special Collections L to R: Claire Reber, Maeghan Grady, Shravya Vasireddy, Davis Recht, Anton Kozyrev and Clara Jiang

The power of the executive branch of the U.S. government has grown substantially since its inception, continuing and expanding its influence on all facets of American political life. The impact of the U.S. presidency has evolved particularly in relation to civil rights, foreign relations and the handling of war and peace. The influence of the media has altered presidential policy. In this Vanderbilt University Special Collections and Archives exhibit, Fellows use artifacts to convey the challenges and triumphs of the American presidency and its extensive role in American politics.

Vanderbilt faculty, staff and students are encouraged to come into Central Library to experience the in-person exhibit. Community members not yet able to come to campus, we hope you will enjoy the new online exhibit.

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