The President of the United States of America - Powers and Priveleges

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Despite the intentions of the framers of the Constitution and the subsequent roles laid out for the president therein, the President of the United States of America has assumed roles and powers that somewhat challenge these intentions. Since the forming of the Union there has been a continuing struggle over the powers of the president and whether he should take a reserved legalist position or a more activist role.

The legalist and activist positions are embodied perhaps no more deservedly in Presidents Taft and T. Roosevelt, respectively. It was Roosevelt's position that it was not only the President's right, but duty to do "anything that the needs of the Nation demanded, unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws" (Fisher, p. 23). Taft on the other hand maintained that the President "can exercise no power which cannot be fairly and reasonably traced to some specific grant of power or justly implied and included within such express grant as proper and necessary to its exercise. Such specific grant must either be in the Federal Constitution or in an act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof" (Fisher, p. 23). These two figures represent the dichotomy herein: the contraction of Presidential power and its opposing expansion. If Taft had had his way, the President's role today might have been more closely aligned with what the original intentions of the Constitution were: a chiefly reactionary role to the initiative position (with reference to legislation) of Congress (Egger, p. 2).

One of the main problems with regard to defining Presidential power is defining what indeed the intentions of the Constitutional framers were. The American constitution, with reference to the office of the executive, is a ...

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...ailable from: [15 May 2003].

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