• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How powerful is the American President?

Extracts from this document...


How powerful is the American President? The Founding fathers of America believed in a separation of powers, a system of checks and balances and a federal system of government. That way power would be diffused and decentralised and tyranny would be avoided. Implicit in the constitution is the principle of checks and balances. This refers to the belief that the founding fathers had that no one branch of the constitutional and government system would dominate the rest. Thus President and congress often have to approve the appointments and actions of each other, with the supreme court in the background protecting the integrity of the constitution. There the president is not all powerful. After Watergate, presidents continue to find it a struggle to assert their authority. ...read more.


The constitution powers of the president, as seen as the perspective of 18th century conditions, were regarded as the minimum necessary to ensure efficient and unified government. The president has the constitutional power to recommend bills to congress and manage the governments budget, to make treaties with foreign states and direct federal administration. As well as being head of the executive branch - with jurisdiction over the government bureaucracy - he was also to be the commander and chief of the armed forces. The growth of presidential power during the course of the 20th century has certainly been great, but has not been absolute, and the presidents' powers are limited in many respects. The presidents powers under the constitution may have expanded but as have the congress and the courts and therefore the president still has to work within a "separation of powers". ...read more.


Although there is no doubt that the executive is powerful, it could be argued that the president is only the public spokesperson. The founding fathers would barely recognise the American presidency today. Yet its effectiveness is still influenced by the constitutional devices, which they employed to prevent an over-powerful executive. The president is the victim of a deep paradox within the American political psyche - a craving for clear leadership but a distrust of those who exercise power. The changing role of the USA also presents the president with another paradox - while it is now the worlds only super power it is no longer the worlds economic colossus: Japan, Europe and in the future China are major rivals. With the collapse of soviet communism even the president's role as leader of the western democracies is no longer so clear-cut. In Mervin apt description "Presidents are "Gulliver figures", giants in theory but in practice tied by a multitude of restrictions. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Politic- president v PM

    Parliament may be sovereign but when considered thoroughly, this is only a theory. This view tends to show that the British Prime Minister, who usually maintains the support of a parliamentary majority, holds a position of dominance over the passage of legislation.

  2. "Merely a 'bargainer in chief'." Is this a fair assessment of the American president?

    and the president needs the congress to grant him money on most issues (such as the war on Iraq). Tactics used for bargaining with congress often include the use of media; This is when a president uses the media to persuade the people that his argument or policy is the

  1. How is Britain's constitution changing in the 21st century?

    As director of Liberty, an organisation that seeks to defend and extend rights and freedoms in England and Wales, Wadham is obviously partisan in his views, though the arguments he raises should be considered. As he broaches, 'only the UK of the 40-plus countries signed up to the Convention deemed such extreme measures essential' (Wadham, 2002, 2).

  2. The US President is more powerful as a world statesman than the UK Prime ...

    These include the SALT talks of Nixon and Carter concerning the nuclear test ban. They also include agreements which are regard to economic and trade relations such as NAFTA and NATO. These agreements are binding and do not require the ratification of Senate.

  1. Examine the effectiveness of the checks and balances system of the American Government. and ...

    The President also has the power to pardon - President Ford pardoned his predecessor President Nixon. The Legislature has the power to change the size of the Federal Court system and the number of justices within the court. Congress has the power to propose constitutional amendments and can reject Supreme Court nominees; they can also impeach and remove federal judges.

  2. 'The President faces considerable constraints in domestic policy in comparison to the UK Prime ...

    As well as being responsible for the fiscal side of domestic economics the President of the USA must appoint a Cabinet. These do not have to be elected or even experts but do have to be approved by a simple majority in the Senate.

  1. A Trend of Decentralization

    Congressman more engaged "in a mix of three kinds of activities: lawmaking, pork barreling, case work."4 According to the constitutional theory, Congress is primarily a law-making body that has the ideology that the good of country on any issue is best for the majority of the congressional districts.

  2. A Brilliant Solution: From the Founding to the Present

    Rumors spread, speculation was rampant but the proceedings of the congress remained confidential. If not discretion, than only self-preservation kept the meetings private. Overall, Berkin explores each delegate's beliefs, life, and difficulties during the convention. She shows that they were simple humans with some incredible strengths and fatal flaws.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work