U.S. Government - Cigler 11.2 Summary

U.S. Government - Cigler 11.2 Summary - Casey Dynan...

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Casey Dynan POL-110-001 Cigler Chapter Synopsis: 11.2 - Myth of the Presidential Mandate In this article Robert A. Dahl, a professor emeritus of political science at Yale University, explores the myth of the presidential mandate and changing degree of influence the president has had over the Congress and overall lawmaking process throughout U.S. history. The central argument to thesis of this article is that the theory of the presidential mandate not only cannot be found in the Framers conception of the Constitution, but that it is a constitutionally incorrect view of the presidency. Dahl first launches into the origins and development of the myth and confidently suggests Andrew Jackson to be the original engineer of such a mandate (although Jackson never used the word mandate). Along with Jackson, James Polk is identified as sharing the same view that the president, both constitutionally and as a representative, is on par with Congress. Although the two never claimed superiority over the Congress, it would eventually be Woodrow Wilson who would further the step in the evolution of the theory by asserting that in representing the people the president is not merely equal to Congress but actually superior to it Dahl then attempts to show how different the idea of presidential mandate is from the earlier presidents. He notes that the Framers designed the presidential election process for electing a “national” figure who would enjoy majority support. Also noted is the Framers fear of factions and “the popular arts” as the determining factor in elections. In response the solution of an electoral college was adopted, however, the Framers seriously underestimated the extent to which the strong impulse
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U.S. Government - Cigler 11.2 Summary - Casey Dynan...

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