The Creation of the Veto
The most important of all the checks and balances is, of course, the presidential veto. . . .
James L. Sundquist ( 1986)
The study of the presidential veto begins with its roots. To understand the antecedents and construction of this key presidential power is to understand much about that power (and the presidency) today. Thus, we begin with a detailed history of the veto power from ancient Rome to the completion of the Constitution. But this book also goes beyond the history of the veto, however, to argue two important points: (1) The veto power, in and of itself, possesses certain traits that transcend its application to American government: and (2) the application and. rise of the presidential veto is symptomatic of the rise of the modern strong presidency. In short, perspectives on the presidential veto reflect perspectives on the presidency itself.
The veto is a power that transcends the American experience. It is thus important to understand its antecedents, not only because the American founders were influenced by this history, but also because the very nature of the veto power, as it can be traced through history, may be revealed in ways useful to the study of the presidential veto.
The Oxford English Dictionary identifies the word veto as deriving from Latin meaning 'I forbid.' In the sixth century B.C., early in the