How Has The Power Of The Presidency Changed Over Time

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How has the power of the presidency changed over time? Drawing upon some historical examples, explain how presidents have acted to secure more power. What can the modern president do to overcome congressional, judicial, or bureaucratic opposition? How is a more powerful president beneficial/detrimental? Reference course readings, lectures, and examples as appropriate.

The framers of the Constitution designed the office of president to be a rather weak one. Given the original government presented in the Articles of Confederation, an example was followed while writing the Constitution. Congress was given more power and influence over the nation, and dominated the executive branch until the 1930s. The president, while being granted some powers,
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Andrew Jackson, considered a people’s man during his time, was notorious for being the first practitioner of the spoils system. BY assigning federal positions to loyal followers, Jackson was able to strengthen his party, allowing for the still developing two-party system to grow. Jackson was also infamous for his merciless use of the veto. He further asserted executive power and federal supremacy after facing down South Carolina’s nullification of a federal tax law.

Similarly, Abraham Lincoln also expanded the office of president and its powers, though under different circumstances and in different ways. Lincoln was able to seize more control for the executive branch due to the ongoing Civil War crisis. In addition, Lincoln did away with habeas corpus temporarily and incarcerated people solely on the basis of accusations and suspicion. Lincoln showcased the power of the executive branch by expanding the army and ordering southern ports to be blocked, without Congress’
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Due to today’s growing nation and technology, some may argue that a strong presidency is important. How else is a country with over 300 million people and spanning an area of almost four million square miles to be run? In addition, in the case of a president who abuses power (which may be the case these next four years), the people can rest assured in the fact that a new president will be elected in four years. Conversely however, some argue that the presidency is too strong and fear its strength, citing it as bad for democracy. Why should one individual carry so much weight and power? Critics of the president’s power express their discontent at the president gaining power at the expense of Congress. Due to the vagueness of the powers outlined in the Constitution, many fear that the president can just run rampant and do as he wishes. When looking at the overall positives versus the negatives, the benefits of a strong presidency, namely unification of a country under an individual elected by the nation as a whole out, help rather than hinder our

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