As stated in Federalist #47, "There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates". Article 2 Section 2 of our Constitution states that " [The President] may require the opinion of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments". However, with no constitutional limit to the size or extent of each department, much is left to presidential discretion. Many presidents in past years have further developed the Executive Branch by putting such agencies as the FBI, DEA, and FEMA under the direction of the executive office. Furthermore, the Patriot Act of 2001 and The Homeland Security Council, were established, which expanded powers and federalizing airport security. As Alexander Hamilton noted", Of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war... demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand".
This ideal is again reflected in Article 2, Section 2 of our Constitution which states: "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia... ". However, an equal power is given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 that states, "The Congress shall have the power to declare war and make rules concerning captures". During WWII and thereafter, Congress played a passive role in decisions of war, most controversially during the Vietnam Conflict. In 1964 Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving Johnson a "blank check" to step up securities in Vietnam.
In 1973, Congress overturned the resolution with the War Powers Act. This law restricts the President's use of U.S. combat troops abroad and authorizes Congress to order troops home. Though our Constitution splits control of the military between the President and Congress, there have been only 5 formal Congressional declarations of war, all of which occurred before the latter half of the 20th century, out of more than 200 instances involving U.S. troops in hostile situations. Article 1, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution is concise in its language, "All legislative powers... granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States... ". In today's political environment, the executive branch of the government is much more powerful than the founding fathers had ever envisioned.
Congressional legislative powers have been taken over, and Presidential Executive Order is a great example of that. One of the most infamous Executive Orders was #9066, in 1942, in which President Roosevelt ordered the internment of West Coast Japanese Americans. Essentially, through executive order, the president has dictatorial powers in any real or perceived emergency, provided to him under the constitution. The President's source of authority to issue Executive Orders is merely implied in Article 2, Sections 1 and 3 of the Constitution, which direct the President to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed". On the other hand, important policy changes have occurred through Executive Orders such as #9981 in which President Truman desegregated the military. Congress has given the President considerable leeway in implementing and administering federal law, passing over 470 statutes since 1933, giving the president powers previously delegated to Congress.
As John Marshall stated", The people made the Constitution... it is a creature of their own will and lives only by their will". When the president doesn't act in accord with the elected representatives of the masses, rather unilaterally, he removes the system of democracy and instills in its place a dictatorship..