The Growth of Presidential Power

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The Growth of Presidential Power In The Federalist No.51, James Madison held that he worried that the “balance of powers” tilted toward the legislative branch; he believed in a bicameral legislature for Congress so that it would not overwhelm or narrow the powers of the other branches. Over the course of the nineteenth century, however, a number of presidents have worked to protect and expand the autonomy of the executive branch. Andrew Jackson, for example, was the first president ever to make extensive use of the veto, and Abraham Lincoln broadened the scope of his wartime powers with his role as commander-in-chief. Even in recent years, the president’s unilateral power has grown with the implementation of policies such as the Bush Doctrine and the Patriot Act which have demonstrated the tremendous expansion of executive privilege and power. With the turn of a more complex century, where presidential power continues to grow with each term, it becomes crucial to analyze the actions of past presidents to prevent an imbalance within American government. Part of this growth in the presidency might be explained as the inevitable result of progression. As the United States increased in international presence, the federal government needed to simultaneously expand its diplomatic presence, a role best suited for the President himself. However, the best explanation underlying the growth of presidential power is that the constitutional text on the subject is largely unspecific. Whereas, in Article I there consists specific powers granted to Congress, Article II grants authority to the President in such verses as “executive power,” or “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed” – terms that are for the most part indefinite and inconclusive. Thus, recognized powers such as emergency powers in times of crisis, or the right to withhold information from public,
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