Presidential Power

president

president, in modern republics, the chief executive and, therefore, the highest officer in a government. Many nations of the world, including the United States, France, Germany, India, and the majority of Latin American nations, have a president as the official head of state. However, the actual power of the presidency varies considerably from country to country. In Germany the presidential power is relatively weak. True executive power rests with the chancellor, and all acts of the president must have his approval or the approval of one of his ministers. The presidential power in India is similarly subordinated to a cabinet of ministers and restricted primarily to ceremonial functions. By contrast, France (under the Fifth Republic), the United States, and some Latin American countries have given the office of the president considerable authority. In Latin America heads of state have not infrequently assumed dictatorial powers, while retaining the title president. The power of the French president is such that he may dissolve parliament at any time, although not more than once a year, and may veto parliamentary bills. He is commander in chief of the armed forces and possesses extraordinary emergency powers. In the United States, Article II of the Constitution provides for the office of the presidency, which is held for four-year terms and filled by election through the electoral college. The president is given full responsibility for the execution of the laws and is therefore the head of all executive agencies. With the consent of Congress he appoints cabinet members and any other executive officials he sees fit. As commander in chief of armed forces the president has control over the military, although Congress tried to limit his war-making power with the War Powers Act of 1973. He is also responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, although his treaties and appointments must be approved by the Senate and his expenditures by the House of Representatives. To be eligible for the presidency one must be a native-born citizen, over 35 years old, and at least 14 years resident in the United States. The Twenty-second Amendment (1951) limits a president to two four-year terms. For a list of U.S. presidents, see Presidents of the United States, table.

See M. Cunliffe, American Presidents and the Presidency (1972); L. Fisher, President and Congress (1972); F. I. Greenstein, Leadership in the Modern Presidency (1988); L. Fisher, Presidential War Power (1995).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power
Gene Healy.
Cato Institute, 2009
Policy by Other Means: Alternative Adoption by Presidents
Steven A. Shull.
Texas A&M University Press, 2006
The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic
Eric A. Posner; Adrian Vermeule.
Oxford University Press, 2010
The Power of the American Presidency: 1789-2000
Michael A. Genovese.
Oxford University Press, 2001
With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power
Kenneth R. Mayer.
Princeton University Press, 2001
Assessing the Rhetorical Side of Presidential Signing Statements
Kelley, Christopher S.; Marshall, Bryan W.; Watts, Deanna J.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2, June 2013
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Samantar and Executive Power
Rutledge, Peter B.
Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 44, No. 4, October 2011
II. the President's Role in the Legislative Process
.
Harvard Law Review, Vol. 125, No. 8, June 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Executive Power in Foreign Affairs
Kozinski, Alex.
Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 1, Fall 2006
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Presidential Non-Enforcement of Constitutionally Objectionable Statutes
Johnsen, Dawn E.
Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 63, No. 1-2, Spring 2000
The Contemporary Presidency: Executive Orders and Presidential Unilateralism
Rudalevige, Andrew.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 1, March 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Power, the Presidency, and the Preamble: Interpretive Essays on Selected Presidents of the United States
Robert M. Saunders.
Praeger, 2001
Presidential Power: Forging the Presidency for the Twenty-First Century
Robert Y. Shapiro; Martha Joynt Kumar; Lawrence R. Jacobs.
Columbia University Press, 2000
The Modern Theory of Presidential Power: Alexander Hamilton and the Corwin Thesis
Richard Loss.
Greenwood Press, 1990
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