The president, more than any other office of government, has changed dramatically during the last 200 years. The balance of power between the president and Congress continued to change throughout the decades, despite the fact that the founders did not give the office many powers and George Washington strove to preserve it that way.
The demands of the United States have evolved as well. The danger of terrorism has transformed the political influence of the executive branch in the United States on a global scale.
The system of checks and balances between the parts of government is a good one, but the administration must make judgments quickly rather than waiting for Congress to act on a matter.
This is especially evident these days, since the current government has a President who is behaving in ways that his predecessors did not, causing widespread consternation throughout the country.
Those who study the presidency often refer to Abraham Lincoln as a President who dramatically enlarged the scope of the office, with one notable example being Lincoln’s Executive Order suspending the writ of habeus corpus – a constitutional privilege – during the Civil War.
Some claim that Presidents Lincoln, T. Roosevelt, Wilson, and FDR overstepped their constitutional bounds, and that by doing so, they left a legacy of precedent for future administrations.
It does not change back, the Executive Power does not return, and it does not reduce after it has been extended. As President, George Washington had significantly less authority than past presidents.
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
It’s not much more than the authority to control the military after a war has been declared, the obligation to keep Congress informed of the situation, and the ability to designate ambassadors and Supreme Court Justices.
When you compare it to today’s very strong Presidents, you can see that something has definitely changed. One such development was the War Powers Act, which gave the President the authority to order military action. Previously, only Congress had the authority to send the troops into combat, and the President was only in command after they were on the ground.
It’s as if Congress could turn the key, but only the President could get behind the wheel. The War Powers Act also gives the President the power to turn the vehicle on and off, which I believe is a horrible thing.
Because we now have loopholes and other legal gimmicks where the President can order assassinations and use drones to drop bombs in any country he wants (Bush did the same), which is clearly not what the Founders had in mind when they drafted the Constitution.
Another example is executive orders, which have been abused by presidents for a long time. Initially, they were nothing more than special remarks attached to bills by the President when he signed them into law.
They are now effectively laws, undermining the whole system of checks and balances. The President was never intended to legislate, but Executive Orders have given him that power.
The tendency is constantly moving toward greater centralization of power. Most Americans have no understanding what the Constitution says or why it matters, and the belief that “the government would never do anything wrong” blinds them to the unconstitutional things that the government puts in our faces every day.
People essentially argue, “The government can’t do something unconstitutional, yet they did it, thus it MUST be constitutional.” Obviously, this ignores the reality that the government can do anything it wants with the Constitution if we don’t compel them to follow it (I’m not a Constitutionalist, by the way).
I’ve heard individuals honestly argue that Congress should be eliminated, and I just saw a Salon writer make that point. People often claim that the Constitution is no longer valid.
If you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile, and the Executive Branch has done just that with rules that have been in place for more than a century. The President is intended to be more of a lame, sitting duck figurehead—a face for the rest of the world, as it were, while Congress and the Supreme Court are supposed to be the brain.
The President is now the brain, Congress is more like the circulatory system, and unelected, unaccountable, appointed posts and Three Letter Agencies are the norm. It was Thomas Paine, I think, who said that having several tyrannies is still tyranny (see the NSA, EPA, FBI, Fed, IRS). All of this is a consequence of Congress either naively relinquishing authority or having its power seized entirely.
The earlier attempt with the Articles of Confederation (1776) went too far in the other way… the Articles established a very weak Federal government, with no genuine focal point of power and no legislative. The Articles of Confederation failed horribly, particularly after the American Revolutionary War ended, which offered its own kind of focal point, when geographical and philosophical differences began to produce political disparities among the states.
The missing focal point was restored in the form of a President in the “fix” that became the United States Constitution of 1787, albeit with a number of substantial “checks and balances” on Presidential authority.
Despite the “checks and balances,” the position of President has been exploited as a “bully pulpit” by its occupants. The President has been able to talk to the people and drive their agenda from that position, in a manner that the 535 ‘Prima Donna’ politicians in the US Congress only dream they could…
No, the Presidency’s constitutional powers have not altered… The state of society and the capacities of mass communication have both increased significantly.
Presidents have extended their authority throughout time by interpreting the Constitution’s implied powers.
The president’s influence has risen dramatically over time. One of the key reasons for this is that people have turned to the president for leadership as the federal government’s role has risen and the nation has faced wars and other big crises.
Presidents have traditionally grown their authority via three methods: party, public mobilization, and administration.
Although all presidents depend on their own party’s members and leaders to carry out their legislative goals, the president does not have complete authority over his own party; party members retain some autonomy.
The president has specific authority to sign or veto legislation, command the military forces, request the written opinion of their Cabinet, convene or adjourn Congress, award reprieves and pardons, and welcome ambassadors, according to the Constitution.
https://bowie1983book.com/ will answer how has the power of the president changed over the years answers