Congress, the President, and Policymaking: A Historical Analysis

By Jean Reith Schroedel | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 is supposed to have created a government of "separated powers." It did nothing of the sort. Rather, it created a government of separated institutions sharing powers ( Neustadt 1960: 33).

It is a truism that the government of the United States differs from other advanced industrial nations in the degree of separation between its executive and legislative functions. While most nations have an executive who is chosen directly from the legislature, the United States was the first country to elect the executive and legislative branches separately and remains one of the very few to do so. This is one of the main reasons why the question of policy leadership is more complex in the United States than in most other countries. The American system, unlike parliamentary systems, lacks a formal hierarchical or organic link between the executive and the legislative branches of government. 1 Furthermore, long periods of divided party control of government in the United States are common. 2

The purpose of this research is to study what effect this institutional division and forced sharing of powers has on policymaking in this country. Unlike previous constitutional studies, which focused on the formal powers of each office, this project utilizes the Constitution to generate testable propositions about how the legislative process has developed in the United States. The basic argument is that by establishing a government composed of functionally separated branches that are required to share legislative responsibilities, the Founders determined the broad outlines of subsequent developments. This dynamic constitutionalism considers not only the formal division of power but

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Congress, the President, and Policymaking: A Historical Analysis
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Foreword xiii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2 - Linking Goals and Methodologies 21
  • Notes 38
  • 3 - A Tale of Three Policies 41
  • 4 - Legislation Within Committees 83
  • Notes 116
  • 5 - Passing Legislation 121
  • Notes 153
  • 6 - A Comparison of Theories 155
  • Notes 173
  • 7 - Concluding Thoughts 175
  • Appendix: The Primary Data Set and Variables 188
  • Notes 202
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 234
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