How Excutive Powers of Presidents Have Changed

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Pols 206
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In a letter sent by Thomas Jefferson in 1813 to a fellow correspondent he wrote “An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizen.” One of mankind’s longest struggle is the strive for power, along with the consequences of that power’s exploitation. As the United States was first being established, the framers committed to a very tedious job of creating a representative democracy that would not be corrupted due to a over distribution of power to any entity of the state. They constructed a system of checks and balances within the branches of government so that power would be divided and there would be no internal threat to the newly formed government. As the United States grew older, the jobs of the branches of government became more defined and the extent of the President’s power within the executive branch began to be questioned. From Thomas Jefferson to Jacksonian America on to the civil war and reconstruction, the executive use of power and how that power is perceived was commonly debated and was an ever-changing dialogue among politicians and citizens alike. In the early years of the United States the discussion of how much power the government should have often dominated the political scene. The colonial people had witnessed first hand the tyrannical tendencies of a government that had too much power over its people, portrayed by the British before the States separated. The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, ran under a platform that deemphasized the role of the federal government, and thus allowing less power to the executive branch and himself as a president. After Jefferson was elected he actually was a strong president that utilized his power for his nation’s eventual benefit. The most pivotal initiative Jefferson took was the Louisiana Purchase, which he did largely without Congress. Jefferson mainly reconciled the American people’s fear they had about too strong of a...