The Presidency - Essay Example

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This position dominates American politics. The president is the head of executive and commander-in- chief of the armed forces. In the 1800’s until the 1930’s, the Congress was the dominant arm…
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The Presidency
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Political Science number: The American presidency is arguably the world’s most powerful political leader. This position dominates American politics. The president is the head of executive and commander-in- chief of the armed forces. In the 1800’s until the 1930’s, the Congress was the dominant arm of the national government as the early presidency was limited by constitutional provisions. However, in the past seventy years there has been a dramatic shift of the balance of power so that the executive and the legislative have at least equal powers. Over the course of America’s history the nature of presidency has evolved considerably, from the limited role the writers of the constitution had in mind to the emergence of the president-centered government of the twentieth century. This paper will therefore discuss the contributions the most transformative American presidents, and how their presidential powers and the roles expanded over the years.
Article II of the America’s constitution provides for the powers, qualifications and benefits of the presidency. Presidential power falls under three categories namely constitutional, delegated and inherent forms of power. Delegated and constitutional powers make up the expressed powers since they are clearly outlined in the constitution. Inherent powers however, have been interpreted differently, in which at times make the president to have great power. The powers of the president have always been controversial. Judiciary and the congress have clashed with both Clinton and Bush administration over matters of executive privilege, the war on terror and impeachment. The constitution assigned military, diplomatic and appointment powers to the president. Almost all modern presidents have expanded their powers. Given the foreign policy challenges of Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Korea together with the disruption involving domestic economy of the credit crisis, president Obama will soon have to use his executive power as his predecessors have.
Executive order is a form of inherent power in which is a regulation or rule issued by the president that has the force of law. Reasons for issuing such an order may be to enforce statutes, to modify or establish how executive agencies operate and to enforce treaties or the constitution. For example, on September 24, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower issued an executive order 10730 dispatching several troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to stop local angry mobs from interfering with Central High School’s integration.
Until the 1930s congress dominated the executive branch as the constitution gave the president limited powers, and for many years presidents played second fiddle to Congress. With only a few exemptions, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt provided the basis of the turning point in the 1930s that came with presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.
Andrew Jackson used his personal power and image to strengthen the developing party system by rewarding loyal followers with presidential appointments. Jackson also asserted national power by facing down South Carolina’s nullification of a federal tariff law and made excessive use of the veto. He vetoed more bills than the six previous presidents combined. The emergency created by the Civil War (1861-1865) made Abraham Lincoln to assume powers that no president before him had claimed. Lincoln jailed people suspected of disloyalty and suspended habeas corpus (the right to an appearance in court).He also ordered blockades of southern port and expanded the size of the army without the consent of the Congress. (Okyere 133)
Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt each expanded the power of the presidency. Roosevelt worked with the Congress closely defining his legislative powers by sending messages to it. He also played a crucial role in developing the international power of the United States. Roosevelt also introduced the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine which gave the United States the police power needed to interfere in the Western Hemisphere if need arises. The doctrine gave the United States a power that they never had. This was an example o the need to update the laws of the nation as needs arises. Wilson formulated bills that Congress considered, regulating the national economy, passing new antitrust laws, putting a graduated income tax in place and setting up the Federal Reserve Banking System. He had to take a leading role in international affair with emergence of World War 1. (William 105)
Franklin Roosevelt, elected for times to the presidency led the nation through the crisis of World War II and the crisis of the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s new deal in programs to regulate the economy made him to gain power.
In conclusion, we can say that the powers of the modern presidency have been shaped by a combination of evolutionary and constitutional powers. The personalities of forceful presidents have expanded the roles far beyond the greatest fears of the antifederalists of the late 1700s.
Work Cited
Okyere, Bonna. Presidents of the United States of America Workbook. Bloomington: Xlibris Corporation, 2007. Print
William, A. DeGregorio. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. New Jersey: Barricade Books Incorporated, 2013. Print. Read More
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