When the framers of the Constitution constructed the executive branch of government, they envisioned a president with certain limited powers. Having delegated to the president a specific type of authority, the framers would probably be surprised to see that they had actually created a rather dynamic officer. The presidency is continually changing over time. That is, the power of the president has been both increased and decreased a various stages in history. Opportunites for change did not generally result from the characteristics of individual presidents, but rather came as a result of specific historic occurrences that impacted the nation as a whole. For example, the Civil War created a forum that expanded presidential power, whereas certain acts of Congress have contracted the president's power. Although the framers of the Constitution may not have intended to create such an executive, the presidency of today has more power, greater responsibility, higher demands and expectations; and the US toady is the world's military and economic superpower.
Presidential power when viewed from a constitutional perspective, is both specific and obscure; specific in that some elements of presidential power are clearly spelled out; obscure in that the limits and boundries of presidential power are either ill-defined or open to vast differences in interpretation. In an effort to understand presidential power, the Constitution is a starting point, but it provides few definitive answers. The Constitution, as it relates to the powers of the presiden, raises more questions than it answers.
As historical circumstances have changed, so too has the meaning or interpretation of the Constitution. The scope an...
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...American superpower status, by economic booms and busts, by increasing democratization, by the demands for capitalism, and by wars.
Just as the Constitution was designed with change in mind, the inherent flexibility of the presidency can be seen as a very important trait as it allows the office to change with the times. We have seen that desperate times have called for desperate measures when it comes to the powers of the executive. When the country has been in a crisis situation and drastic measures have been needed, it has been the executive who has responded. On the other hand, when the presidents have engaged in unpopular activities, the insitution of checks and balances has responded to reduce potentially harmful powers. It allowed for a dynamoc executive officer that had the power to accomoddate for the everchanging peaks and valleys of American history.
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