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12 Presidency - PS 110 12 The Presidency 12-1 1 Formation...

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PS 110 12: The Presidency 12-1 1. Formation of the Modern Presidency A—Powers of the President 1. Framers’ Idea of the Presidency a. constitutional formation of the office: i. powers of the presidency outlined in Article II, which is less specific than Article I ii. Framers did not see the presidency as the true national leader, and thus the powers of the presidency have expanded far beyond original intentions b. Washington carried out the Framers’ idea of the presidency, only limitedly using his legislative influence (3 proposals and 2 vetoes in 8 years) 2. Constitutional and Expanded Powers a. commander-in-chief of the armed forces—president now plays much larger role in military policy than Framers anticipated when they gave ability to declare war to Congress b. diplomatic leadership i. diplomatic leadership expanded from power to appoint ambassadors and having the Senate ratify treaties; now the president serves as the main head-of-state ii. in 1937 the Supreme Court upheld the president’s right to sign executive agreements with leaders of other nations c. executive power—power to carry out (execute) laws of the legislative branch i. appointive capacity (power to appoint officials)—outlined by Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 76 ii. administrations vary in implementing certain policies (for example, Reagan and Clinton used executive power to prohibit and permit, respectively, federal funding for abortion counseling despite acting under the same piece of legislation) d. legislative influence: i. ability to veto bills ii. ability to recommend proposals to Congress 3. Empowering Characteristics of the Presidency a. national election of the president gives a sense of mandate to a president, claiming to represent the interests of all (especially since Jackson) b. singular authority of the president allows for decisive action, which has become more and more critical as the US becomes a more complex and powerful nation B—Development of Presidential Power 1. Whig theory : view of the presidency as limited to authorities expressly granted in the Constitution (predominant in Jackson’s time) a. Andrew Jackson (elected in 1828) claimed a popular mandate from the people and sought to govern more strongly b. criticism of Jackson: i. most presidents after Jackson subscribed to the Whig theory; known as “do-nothing” presidents ii. Jackson’s contemporaries criticized his strengthened view of the presidency as despotic
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c. fit with US conditions: i. smaller economy did not require as decisive leadership or large government ii. focus of US foreign policy on westward expansion did not require strong head of state as in Europe 2. stewardship theory : theory of the presidency as assertive and limited only where expressly limited by law; forwarded by Teddy Roosevelt a. subscribed to amid rise of US as a global power: i. Roosevelt (1901-1909) advocated stewardship as US became an economic empire with territories in the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere ii.
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