John Adams wrote over two hundred years ago", Power naturally grows... because human passions are insatiable. But that power alone can grow which already is too great; that which is unchecked; that which has no equal power to control it". 1 Our system of government in the United States of America was founded based on this principal. Our founding fathers took great care and detail, attempting to produce a document that could distribute power among a nation of individual beliefs and ideals. The document drafted in 1787, the constitution, did just that, and has continued to do so, but times have changed. Is it possible for a document over 200 years old to be able to keep up with changing times, and if our founding fathers were alive today would they still feel that there was an even distribution of power between the legislative and executive branches I believe over time the presidency has indeed, became and continues to become and increasingly powerful office.
Different resolutions, and informal powers granted to the office over the years has made the President an increasingly imposing figure. I also feel that congress, in contract to the Presidency, has lost some of its power and respect in American Politics. I believe some evidence of the scenario includes what or who is actually involved in congressional actions, the partisan politics constantly taking place in the house and senate, and the difficulty of passing a bill through the senate. All of these changes have taken place over a large period of time, and may in fact have been subtle I do believe however it is not difficult to provide evidence of an increase in the Presidents power in contemporary politics. To provide this evidence I believe the best way is to start off by examining the powers that were granted to the President by the constitution.
The office of the President has become more and more powerful over the years because he has had more opportunities to do so. The constitution has given the president many formal powers but most of his power has been derived for his informal powers and by the peel allowing this to take place. First, we will focus on the constitutional powers of the President. One power that the constitution has granted the president is the right to appointment. This appointment power allows the President to appoint pretty much all offices in the United States that does not already have a law provided for. This is an important role of the President because The President only has this power with the consent of the Senate.
I believe that popularity of the President may have some influence over the Senate's consent. Such as, if the Senate likes the President they are more likely to agree with his choices. Another power awarded to our President is the power to make treaties with at least two-thirds approval of the members of Senate. This power has become increasingly more used since our first president. This is because when our nation was first starting out the nation was more concerned with their selves that effects with foreign nations.
However, once our country became stronger foreign policy became an important issue. A privilege of our chief executive is the executive agreement. This privilege allows the President to enter our nation into secret agreements with foreign countries without needing the Senate's approval. The veto power is powerful to the President because when the President does reject a bill the bill usually dies.
This is because Congress has a hard time trying to get the two-third vote to override his veto. This is easily to understand since the president has one mind and one stand on issues the congress has many different ideas and thoughts about issues. The power to convene Congress is not as important as it was when the Constitution was written. The reason for this is that when the Constitution was drafted the Congress did not have to sit in year-round sessions. Although, it is still used today just not as frequently. However, I believe the Presidents powers have increased more to do with informal powers rather than by powers expressed in the constitution.
Personal popularity is an informal power that has become increasingly helpful to the president. First of all, congress is less likely to mess with a popular President than one hated by the public. A reason for this is because many congressmen are continuously running for political openings and does not want to jeopardize their own popularity. In other words the public may dislike a congressman that is going against a President they agree with. Also, congressmen will stick with their own party. Presidential popularity has increased over the years because they are now seen by the public more than our first Presidents.
There are many reasons why this has evolved but one of the biggest reasons is television. Television opened the entire nation to the President because now the President could be seen and heard by all citizens at one time. Before the President had to travel around the country and wasn't able to speak to everyone. Media has also affected the President both negatively and positively. In the past the media tried to protect the President and strayed from printing negative news about the President. However, today the media is more interested in selling a story than protecting the Presidents image.
The public now believes they should know everything about the President, not only his actions in office but his personal life also. For the past few year this has definitely has been apparent with President Clinton. The media is constantly attacking Clinton. Presidents over the years have had to deal with a greater number of issues than presidents of the past. Due to the broad range of these issues and the many different factions associated with them it is important that a presidential candidate does not always clarify the issue at hand. Benjamin Page defines this as the "Art of Ambiguity".
If a presidential candidate is talented in the art of side stepping controversial questions citizens will have a difficult time telling the policy differences between candidates. This is an ability that differs from President to President. I think President Clinton is a wonderful example of how a president is able to maintain his popular standing in the public because he is able to avoid revealing his true opinions regarding policies until they wind up as bills that need his signature. The executive branch has grown over the years by adding new offices. Presidents today pay much closer attention to the officials that they appoint to these offices which include the National Security Council, Council of Economic advisers, and the office of Science & Technology Policy to name just a few. Because these Bureaucrats are appointed by the President they may have tendencies to abandon their neutral standpoints on policy preferences of the President.
Advisors from varying departments meet with the President daily in some cases. The people that occupy theses positions are very reputable in there various fields, and as such provide the President with information that is concise and up to date, information that the other branches are not provided with. This heighten awareness of the state of different issues and happenings within the different offices, gives the President the advantage of being the first to know about both the good and bad new and thus the ability to react swiftly and accordingly. This could make the president more knowledgeable than members of the Congress.
In this day of age the President has more power than ever before. Although, it has taken two hundred years to achieve this high of power. It must makes us weary that in the past two hundred years there has been a steady increase in the Presidential power which is taking away for the Congress's power. Isn't this incline enough evidence to be weary that the President could keep gaining more and more power in the future. John Adams was definitely weary of this and his statement still rings true today..