Compared to Article One, the description of the President is vague and general. The President is commander in chief of the armed forces, which is significant. He is also tasked with executing the laws that Congress writes. Apart from those matters, though, the rest of the list reads like a job description for a sort of executive clerk. As we examine the institutional design of the American presidency, it will become clear that the President’s powers have grown since the Constitution was written in 1787, and the vagueness with which Article Two was written is in no small part responsible for this. This brief article introduces the evolution of the office.
Watch the following to learn more about the specific formal and informal powers of the president.
- Why have presidents expanded their powers beyond the expressed powers laid out in the Constitution?
- From the way the Constitution was written, it seems the founders didn’t think the president would be that important compared to Congress. Why do you think that was?
- Do you think the President should have even more power (such as with a line item veto) or do you think the office is powerful enough?
- To compare the importance of the various parts of the government, get together with your classmates and see who knows:
– The name of the President
– The name of the head of the Senate (a trick question)
– The name of the Speaker of the House of Representatives
– The name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
This reading is an excerpt from Certell’s Common Sense Government eBook. Certell offers curriculum materials and eBooks free of charge for use by students and teachers. Click Here to download the Common Sense Government materials.
Brandon, Alex. President Donald Trump would call the midterms a major victory of Republicans maintain control of the House and the Senate. ABC News. February 12, 2019. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-06/what-the-midterm-elections-will-mean-for-donald-trump/10462702