The Imperial Presidency

The Imperial Presidency

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0618420010

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., comes one of the most important and influential investigations of the American presidency. The Imperial Presidency traces the growth of presidential power over two centuries, from George Washington to George W. Bush, examining how it has both served and harmed the Constitution and what Americans can do about it in years to come. The book that gave the phrase “imperial presidency” to the language, this is a work of “substantial scholarship written with lucidity, charm, and wit” (The New Yorker).

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veto—and the President, allocating himself an unconstitutional double veto, still refused to carry out the law. Congress, the 58th Federalist had said, held the purse; and “this power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.” If Nixon could establish the idea of policy

in an age of corrupt bargains. Direct elections would probably lead in addition to a procession of Presidents who do not get anywhere near a majority of the popular vote. This probability is tacitly recognized by the runoff provision and the 40 percent cut-off. The prospect would be a succession of 41 percent Presidents or else a fatiguing succession of double national elections—in which case the final prize might sometimes go to the person who came in second in the first round. The result in

General every time something comes up on a matter. He depends on his counsel, or whoever he’s done the job to—or given the assignment to—to do the job.” This really carries the royal theory of the Presidency to extraordinary lengths. One wonders where in the world Nixon got the singular idea that Presidents don't make phone calls. Johnson, Kennedy, Truman, Roosevelt never hesitated for an instant to pick up the phone when they wanted to find something out. Even the telephone may serve as a link

of troops abroad, [>]–[>]; [>]; and congressional agitation over presidential agreements, [>]; and Nixon, [>]; in Truman cabinet, [>]; and government secrecy system, [>], [>]; cited, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>] Acton, Lord, [>] Adams, Charles Francis, [>], [>], [>] Adams, Charles Francis, II, [>] Adams, Henry, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]–[>], [>] Adams, John, [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>], [>]; and transmission of information to Congress, [>]; and treaty-making process, [>]; on

proceeded to amplify in 1868 by revising its standing rules and awarding itself the right to amend treaties by a simple majority. This enabled senators to alter the text of treaties with greater ease. It also invited parliamentary maneuvers which, by uniting opponents of a treaty with a faction of its supporters on specific amendments, might produce a document unacceptable to original supporters on the final two-thirds vote. And it facilitated the intervention of foreigners. The Russian legation,

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