Behind the President: A Study of Executive Office Agencies

Behind the President: A Study of Executive Office Agencies

Behind the President: A Study of Executive Office Agencies

Behind the President: A Study of Executive Office Agencies


A week after the invasion of Poland and the subsequent outbreak of World War II, the President of the United States established the Executive Office of the President. Its creation meant Franklin D. Roosevelt's capitulation, after almost seven years in power, to the realization that the President, without further elaboration of Presidential staff services, could no longer effectively supervise and unify both executive policy formulation and execution.

While it was apparent that national leadership, international negotiations, and over-all direction of Administration policies required the President's careful attention, government organization had not afforded the Chief Executive adequate assistance in these fields. To compound his problem, many lesser responsibilities were added to his workload; he did not know where to turn for relief without giving signs of abdication.

The establishment of an Executive Office provided the President with an appropriate instrument to which he might delegate authority and responsibility and from which he might reasonably expect traditional staff services commonly provided men in high executive posts. The Executive Office has meant that the President can reserve his time and energy for the major responsibilities. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, be it noted, has worked particularly hard to strengthen and streamline the structure of the Office.

The Presidency and the Executive Office

The Executive Office of the President is not synonymous with the term "the Presidency," although in popular usage this conception is common. Many scholars start and end their definitions of the Presidency by observing that the President is a person and not to be confused with his position, the Presidency. But to separate the man as a human, physical being from the constitutional position of the President of the United States of America is to lose sight of the real character of the Presidency. The term embodies both the President as a man and the position as a constitutional mandate.

It must mean even more than this, for the President is "many men," and the nature of the position ebbs and flows with the temperament . . .

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