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Actions And Behavior Of The President

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Actions and Behavior of the President

The broad language of the second article of the Constitution left many questions about the power and authority of the President and the Executive branch of the Federal Government. Since George Washington, each Chief Executive has come to the position with different beliefs on the responsibility and power of the President. However the performance of the president is often shaped by outside factors which control how he must act as a Chief Executive. The behavior of presidents come from a number of different criteria. A president's personal character, his approach to the position and circumstances during his term all contribute to presidential behavior.

Presidents have approached the office from two vague positions. They have believed, to varying degrees, that either the president has a strong leadership position and broad powers to direct the nation in one direction, or that the president has very limited powers dictated by the Constitution and should act like a chief administrator for the Federal Government. These beliefs were reflected in their behavior while in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt believed that the Federal Government had an obligation and interest in bringing the nation out of the depression. In order to do this he initiated a number of agencies and projects to employ people. In the first "Hundred Days" of
Roosevelt's first term he initiated a number of programs which increased the size of the Federal Government and the power of the President. He did all that he could to see that his proposals were put into place. This included a failed court packing scheme to have a more friendly Supreme Court to find his programs constitutional (Lowi and Ginsberg

230.) In contrast to this belief in broad presidential authority by Franklin
Roosevelt was Howard Taft. Taft believed that Presidential authority was very limited the constitution and had to be specifically granted to the President by
Congress or the Constitution (Lowi and Ginsberg 220.) Another example of a passive approach to the presidency to is George Washington. While he is often seen as a very influential president, his position as the first President require that he had to set many standards. In fact President Washington hoped that the presidency would not be dominate. In his inaugural address he argued for a strong legislature which he r...

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...t must deal with, it does not necessarily explain how he comes to a position on issues and deals with problems.

The behavior of a President can only be explained as a combination of many factors. His personal politics and approach to the power of the Presidency will explain if he will try to lead the whole government and beyond that the whole nation, or if he will act as a clerk, putting into action the orders of
Congress. A Presidents character and style of leadership are an important factor in his approach to leadership. The size and duty of the Federal
Government also effect a President's behavior and the priorities of his office.
Finally a President must react to events at home and abroad which are out of his control. The pressures that these events and the public reaction to them probably have the greatest influence over his behavior and decisions.

Actions and behavior of a President are the result of a complex set of circumstances. No one criteria can be used to explain the behavior of the president in any event. Explaining actions on the basis of one criteria is futile and should be reserved to talk radio hosts.
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