The presidential power has considerably expanded since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. It involves a number of reasons, including changes in political culture, executive branch precedence, the expansion of the Federal Government and its agencies, the modern world’s emergencies, and partisan politics. The current essay aims at describing how Presidential Power has expanded since the Founders drafted the Constitution. In order to cover the topic, the following elements will be considered in detail. They include reasons for and means by which presidential power expanded since the ratification of the Constitution, the influence of wars, emergencies, and the media on the expansion of presidential power, and the impact of the other branches of government.
Since the ratification of the Constitution, presidential power has dramatically expanded. It was previously believed that Congress could be a potentially dangerous power, and thus, it was divided into two parts, the House and the Senate, to limit and control its credentials (Hooker, 2019). At present, the situation is directly opposite: the President is a much more powerful actor compared to Congress. Religious people might find references to the topic of presidential powers in the Bible: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1-7). For secular people, presidential powers are described in Article II of the US Constitution (The Free Dictionary, n. d.). The Constitution does not limit presidential power; it has expanded through inherent powers and legislative practice.
Concerning the reasons for the expansion of presidential power, first of all, it is the fact that the President inevitably becomes the focus of national power and culture. It is especially true in today’s world, where the President’s figure is under the scrutiny of TV, the Internet, and radio coverages. The President is widely associated with public hopes and expectations in all spheres (Marshall, 2008). The fact that people and media give the President considerable responsibility expands his power. Second, apart from the political culture, it is the executive branch precedence that further expanded presidential power. Legal presidential power could not be contracted, as the Office of Legal Counsel, which states what the President is allowed to do, relies on his acts on predecessors (Graham, 2018). Following this logic, it is impossible to imagine a more constitutionally constrained presidency.
Another reason that led to the presidential power expansion is the expansion of the Federal government and its agencies. Almost all spheres of American daily life are connected and depend on the work of executive agencies. For instance, the head of those agencies, the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Reserve, are appointed by the President and thus highly influenced. It should be said that presidential power expansion became possible, as other branches of the government – Congress and the Supreme Court and inferior courts – did not restrict it. Such actions can be described as correct because the broad powers of the president meet the current needs of society. Besides, people often face different kinds of emergencies, attacks, and other events in today’s world. It also contributed to presidential power expansion, as the President received new emergency powers to be able to control and react fast in such situations (Marshall, 2008). Lastly, partisan politics is another reason why presidential power is expanded and not contracted. Due to polarization, people in Congress tend to support their party instead of paying attention to their Constitutional duties (Marshall, 2008). Thus, often the President’s power is not under strict control.
In conclusion, it should be stated that the present essay has explored and discussed how and why Presidential power has expanded since the Founders drafted the Constitution. Dramatical expansion of presidential power can be explained through numerous processes that occurred simultaneously. It includes changes in political culture, executive branch precedence, the expansion of the Federal Government and its agencies, the modern world’s emergencies, and partisan politics.
Graham, D. A. (2018). The strangest thing about Trump’s approach to presidential power. The Atlantic. Web.
Hooker, J. (2019). Presidential power and its expanding influence: Suggestions on how to strengthen checks and balances [PDF document]. Web.
Marshall, W. P. (2008). Eleven reasons why presidential power inevitably expands and why it matters. Boston University Law Review, 88, 505-522. Web.
The Free Dictionary. (n. d.). Presidential Powers. In The Free Dictionary. The Free Dictionary. 2020, Web.