Power in the Film Thirteen Days

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Amanda Nasca
November 20th 2011
Power
“Thirteen Days”

Legitimate power stems from the belief that a person has the right to influence others by virtue of holding a position of authority, such as the authority of a manager over a subordinate or of a teacher over a student (ENotes.com). In some respects, everyone has power—the power to either push forward or hinder the goals of the organization by making decisions, delegating decisions, delaying decisions, rejecting decisions, or supporting decisions. However, the effective use of power does not mean control. Power can be detrimental to the goals of the organization if held by those who use it to enhance their own positions and thereby prevent the advancement of the goals of the organization. In the film “Thirteen Days” the aspect of power is displayed from the president of the United States, John F Kennedy. The president is considered by many people to be the most powerful man in the world. I disagree with that statement, and here’s why.

While technically the president of the US has almost absolute power because according to the Constitution he is the commander and chief of the armed forces, therefore, the president can make a decision on his own without getting approval of anyone in the United States. This is an example of the president’s formal power because the constitution, which is the overriding law of the land, states that he is commander and chief of the armed forces, While the president has formal power it is not unlimited power. The Cuban Missile Crisis is what the film is centered around, and during this crisis the president could have done what he wanted to do and be legally correct without the consent or approval of congress. Without needing the consent of any political party, he could have decided to do a first strike against the Soviet Union, but he did not make that choice. While his power seems to be absolute, in reality he does need a certain amount of consensus and approval before he...
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