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The President and the Power, Research Proposal Example

Pages: 2

Words: 526

Research Proposal

The president of the United States occupies a dominant position within American politics because he or she is not only the head of the executive branch but also serves he role as Commander-in-Chief.  However, within this system of checks and balances, Congress leads both the legislative and judiciary branches, thereby occupying two branches of the three-branch structure. Within this system, the president can never govern the country by himself, according the political paradigm currently in place. This paper explores whether the political theory guiding the American government translates into reality in the modern period. Using examples from the current presidency of Barack Obama and comparing it with past administrations, the author explores the limitations of congressional power and the role the president plays in placing those limitations and why.

Epochal concerns during economic depressions has throughout the modern period have granted the president seeming unchecked power when it comes to passing legislation that regulates the economy. Although laissez-faire has historically guided the economic policy in America, the boom and bust nature of that system has forced the federal government to step in and provide correctives during times of need. Moreover, the Constitution states that only Congress can declare war, yet recent decisions to go to war have transpired on a unilateral basis, thereby begging the question of how the decision to go to war was made.

This research question is important because of how vastly the landscape of American foreign policy changed after the 9/11 attacks, which included in the escalation of presidential authority in both war and foreign policy. The historical struggle between the president (executive branch) and congress is not a product of current contingencies but it has reached seemingly unprecedented levels. There is an ongoing dialogue about which political agent should have more power in making foreign policy decisions. It is highly doubtful, however, that the individuals who framed the Constitution would have imagined an era in which the President possesses unmatched and unrivaled power in the realm of foreign policy. The Executive Branch has slowly drained Congress of their authority in the realm of foreign policy following the end of World War II, when America emerged as one of the remaining world superpowers. With the globalization of terror waged against the United States, combined with the bifurcation of the political climate in the United States ever widening, it is of great concern whether or not the president can continue exercising total authority unchecked in the realm of foreign policy. Political decisions by the president continue to be informed by ideology rather than reality, which portends for an ominous future for the United States within a global context.

Sources

Corwin, Edward S. The President: Offices and Powers, 1787-1957. New York: New York University Press, 1957. Print.

Neustadt, Richard E. Presidential Power: The Polities of Leadership. New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 1960. Print.

Rourke, John T.  “Deciding on War: A Democratic Dilemma,” Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American Foreign Policy, by John T. Rourke. Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print

Tower, John G. “Congress vs the President,” Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American Foreign Policy, by John T. Rourke. Guilford, CT: Dushkin/McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.

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