The President, Office and Powers: 1787-1957, History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion

By Edward S. Corwin | Go to book overview

Résumé

I t is an axiom of American history that the Constitution came from the Framers "a bundle of compromises." Not so generally recognized is the confirmation lent this observation by those clauses of the Constitution most nearly affecting the office and powers of the President. The vagueness of the constitutional grants of power to the President has always furnished matter for comment, sometimes favorable, sometimes otherwise, depending on the commentator's bias. "The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America"; "the President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy"; with the advice and consent of the Senate he shall make treaties and appoint to office; he shall have power to "grant pardons for offenses against the United States"; he shall "recommend...such measures to Congress as he shall judge necessary and expedient"; and so on and so forth. Yet in order to exercise any of these powers -- in order, indeed, to subsist -- he must have money, and can get it only when and if Congress appropriates it. Likewise, he is dependent on Congress for the very agencies through which he must ordinarily exercise his powers, and Congress is the judge as to the necessity and propriety of such agencies. Again, he is bound to "take care that the laws" that Congress enacts are "faithfully executed"; for this purpose all his powers are in servitude; and Congress has the power to investigate his every official act, and can, by a special procedure, if it finds him guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors," impeach him and throw him out of office. Moreover, by the standard set by the prerogative of the British monarch in 1787, his "executive power" and his power to protect that power were both seriously curtailed. The power to "declare war" was vested in Congress; the Senate was made a participant in his diplomatic powers; he

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The President, Office and Powers: 1787-1957, History and Analysis of Practice and Opinion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Chapter I - Conceptions of the Office 3
  • Chapter II - The Apparatus of the Presidency 31
  • Chapter III - Administrative Chief 69
  • Chapter IV - Chief Executive 119
  • Chapter VI - Commander-In-Chief in Wartime 227
  • Chapter VII - Legislative Leader And "Institution" 263
  • Résumé 306
  • Notes 315
  • Table of Cases 497
  • Index 501
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