Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

XXXIV
PARTIES AND THE PRESIDENCY

What the founders intended the presidency to be--The electoral college absorbed by party machinery--Inherent power of a representative presidency--Party government and the executive power--Manifest advantage of the executive over the legislative --The short and long term ideas--Relation of these to party machinery--Exaggerated views of presidential power--Suggested reforms.

THE historical sketch of party government which we have given exhibits the United States in four phases of evolution: aristocratic, democratic, imperial, and colonial. The first is federal, and coextensive with the formation of the Union; the second, with the expansion of the suffrage and continental settlement; the third, with the Civil War and reconstruction; the last is contemporary. Throughout all there has been an unbroken process of confusing governmental powers intended by the framers of the Constitution to be kept separate and apart. This confusion has been beneficent, and was mainly caused by the parties; almost unnoticed, every organ of federal government has been modified into something not foreseen and never intended to be evolved. The most noteworthy transformation, as we have before remarked, is that of the presidency, and of this we must recapitulate and briefly discuss the various stages.

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