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How far does the president only have the power to pursuade

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How far does the President only have the power to persuade? The President is often cited as being the most powerful man on earth, yet as this essay will explore that may be more due to his country's power and influence than that of his specific position. Presidents use the "power to persuade" as a means of exerting their influence on the way the country is run, thus why a strong and charismatic personality is key. The power to persuade is no specific "power" per say, but is often typified by Presidents indirectly pushing through their own legislation through Congress (the sole federal legislative body) by convincing, or persuading Congressmen to follow their line. Great examples include LBJ persuading the Senate to reject a filibuster and make into law the Civil Right Act proposed by JFK before he was assassinated. Other Presidents, such as Reagan used speeches to mass support, for example after he survived an assassination attempt in 1981 he used his national address to capitalise on a general feeling of sympathy. There are also numerous positions close to the President, for example the heads of Department present in the Cabinet who the president can persuade into working in a way he likes. ...read more.


Increasingly Congress has been limiting the powers of the President even more. After Nixon's bombing of Cambodia the War Powers Act meant only Congress could formally declare war, a power once held by the President. As a result the president must now persuade Congress over to his thinking if he wishes to declare a war that requires more than the few thousand "advisors" he can currently send without Congressional approval. The same is true for the ratification of treaties and appointments. While the President can sign treaties and nominate appointments for positions like the Supreme court it is still Congress who must approve these, and so Presidents must win over the support of people in the position to do so. For example the President had to hold many meetings with the Senate Defence committee before they voted to support the most recent incarnation of the START treaties with Russia, and even then the margin of victory was minimal. However it would be na�ve to simply dismiss all the Presidents powers as irrelevant. The President still has the power to hire and fire many key members of government. ...read more.


He is, in effect "Mr.America", and this leads onto a final point that while the President may be weak in domestic policy his is very strong in matters of foreign policy. In fact whole time-periods of foreign policy can be characterised by the sitting President such as Reagan and his cold war against the "evil empire" and Bush and his war on terror and the "axis of evil". At the end of the day, it was Truman himself who said "I make Foreign policy". In conclusion the President does have other powers than just the "power to persuade" although these are limited and with increasing pressure and checks from Congress are increasingly rare. Like many things in US politics, it will be highly dependant on the specific make up of Congress. For example a Democratic President will find it much easier to operate on his own accord with a Democrat majority in Congress. It must also be remembered that the founding fathers specifically wanted the President to be more of a figure head than practical politically active law maker, thus perhaps the power to persuade is what the President is meant to use to rule. There is no doubt that strict interpreters of the constitution view the President as having far too much power above and beyond his power to persuade. ...read more.

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