Notes about the Presidency

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Chapter 12: The Presidency I. Presidents and prime ministers A. Characteristics of parliaments 1. Parliamentary system twice as common 2. Chief executive chosen by legislature 3. Cabinet ministers chosen from among members of parliament 4. Prime minister remains in power as long as his or her party or coalition maintains a majority in the legislature B. Differences 5. Presidents are often outsiders; prime ministers are always insiders, chosen by party members in parliament 6. Presidents choose their cabinet from outside Congress; prime ministers choose members of parliament 7. Presidents have no guaranteed majority in the legislature; prime ministers always have a majority. The United States usually has a divided government. 8. Presidents and the legislature often work at cross-purposes a. Even when one party controls both branches b. A consequence of separation of powers c. Only Roosevelt and Johnson had much luck with Congress II. Divided Government C. Divided versus unified government 9. Fifteen of twenty-two congressional/presidential elections since 1952 produced divided government 10. Americans dislike divided government because it can lead to gridlock. D. Does gridlock matter? 11. But divided government enacts as many important laws as a unified government 12. Reason: Unified government is something of a myth in U.S. E. Is policy gridlock bad? 13. Unclear whether gridlock is always bad; it is a necessary consequence of representative democracy 14. Representative democracy opposite direct democracy III. The evolution of the presidency F. Delegates feared both anarchy and monarchy 15. Idea of a plural executive 16. Idea of an executive checked by a council G. Concerns of the Founders 17. Fear of military power of president who could overpower states 18. Fear of presidential corruption of Senate 19. Fear of presidential bribery to ensure reelection H. The electoral college 20. Each state to choose own method for selecting electors 21. Electors to meet in own capital to vote for president and vice president 22. If no majority, House would decide I. The president's term of office 23. Precedent of George Washington and two terms 24. Twenty-second Amendment in 1951 limits to two terms 25. Problem of establishing the legitimacy of the office 26. Provision for orderly transfer of power J. The first presidents 27. Prominent men helped provide legitimacy 28. Minimal activism of early government contributed to lessening fear of the presidency 29. Appointed people of stature in the community (rule of fitness) 30. Relations with Congress were reserved; few vetoes, no advice K. The Jacksonians 31. Jackson sought to maximize powers of presidency 32. Vigorous use of veto for policy reasons 33. Challenged Congress L. The reemergence of Congress 34. With brief exceptions the next hundred years was a period of congressional ascendancy 35. Intensely divided public opinion 36. Only Lincoln expanded presidential power d. Asserted "implied powers" and power of commander in chief e. Justified by emergency conditions 37. President mostly a negative force to Congress until the New Deal 38. Since the 1930s power has been institutionalized in the presidency 39. Popular conception of the president as the center of government contradicts reality; Congress often policy leader IV. The powers of the president M. Formal powers found in Article II 40. Not a large number of explicit powers 41. Potential for power found in ambiguous...
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