The Four Theories of Presidential Power Essay

The Four Theories of Presidential Power Essay

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There are four theories of presidential power. Each of the four theories describes the nature and scope of presidential power in a different view.
Constitutional Theory: Holds that Article II of the constitution contains a record of executive powers and the president must be prepared at all times to justify his or her actions either on the basis of the record of the powers contained in Article II or on implied powers (Mason & Stephenson, 2012).
Stewardship Theory: Implies that the president is a “steward of the people” and is deemed responsible to do anything that the needs of the nation deem necessary unless it is in violation of the constitution (Mason & Stephenson, 2012).
Unitary Executive Theory: This theory grants the president control over the executive members and his power is only restricted by the constitution. The Unitary Executive Theory draws its basis from the coordination of construction initially spoke of by Thomas Jefferson and reinforced by some later presidents. Thomas Jefferson was an influential framer of the constitution and his opinions were often those of many of the framers. The framers of the constitution believed the President was elected to interpret and apply the constitution to the best interest of constituents. The framers also believed Congress was elected to support the president and the beliefs set forth by the constitution. This theory reinforces that all three branches of the Federal Government have a responsibility to enforce the constitution not just the president (Mason & Stephenson, 2012).
Prerogative Theory: Is the power to act according to the discretion of the public good, without the regard for the law or even possibly against the law.
The president is given several inhe...


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...Supreme Court applied the theory of stewardship stating the president is subject judicial orders limiting his actions when the actions threaten an act of illegality. The Supreme Court has been applying the constitutional theory to most all decisions rendered. They believe the president has the use of all powers granted by the Constitution and if he over steps those spelled out in the doctrine then he must be able to justify his actions. This was shown in the case of Youngstown Sheet Tube Co v. Saywer. When the President was told he had over stepped his boundaries (Mason & Stephenson, 2012).
Mason, A., & Stephenson, D. (2012). American constitutional law. (16 ed., pp. 84-86). Boston: Longman.
(n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cqpress.com/incontext/constitution/docs/constitutional_powers.html
(n.d). Retrieved from http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/emergency_powers

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