Presidential Power: The Power of Persuasion

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Presidential Power: The Power of Persuasion Political scientists have continually searched for methods that explain presidential power and success derived from using that power effectively. Five different approaches have been argued including the legal approach, presidential roles approach, Neustadtian approach, institutional approach, and presidential decision-making approach. The legal approach says that all power is derived from a legal authority (U.S. Constitution). The presidential roles approach contends that a president’s success is derived from balancing their role as head of state and head of government. The Neustadtian approach contends that “presidential power is the power to persuade“ (Neustadt, p. 11). The institutional approach contends that political climate and institutional relations are what determines presidential power. The last approach, decision-making, provides a more psychological outlook that delves into background, management styles, and psychological dispositions to determine where a president’s idea of power comes from. From all of these, it is essential to study one at a time in order to analyze the major components of each approach for major strengths and weaknesses. The approach focused on in this analysis will be the Neustadtian approach; a theory presented in Neustadt’s seminal work entitled Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents. Also up for analysis is an article by Matthew Kerbel, a follower of the Neustadtian approach who provides empirical analysis that substantiates Neustadt’s work. The first three chapters of Neustad’s work lays out his persuasionary principle of presidential power. Each chapter provides major points that are essential to his theory. For instance, chapter one i... ... middle of paper ... ...tadt has created a viable theory for the modern presidents to think about and use to their advantage. Presidents can also look at the case studies found in Kerbel’s article and see how disastrous inflexibility will be to the president‘s policy agenda. The reason this theory is so viable is because it is so hard to argue against a concept so simple as a power to persuade. In addition, people seem to adhere to the simplest principle that explains presidential power best. References Kerbel, Matthew R. (1993). An Empirical Test of the Role of Persuasion in the Exercise of Presidential Power. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 23 (2), pp. 347-361. Neustadt, Richard E. (1990). Presidential Power and the Modern Presidents: The Politics of Leadership from Roosevelt to Reagan (Rev. ed.). New York: The Free Press.
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