Political Science Weekly

Discussion 2: The Modern Presidency Becomes An Imperial Presidency?

Please note: This discussion will be graded and you need to post twice: one original post and one post responding to someone else. Please cite pages and consider using direct quotes from the reading to support your points. Be considerate in your responses to your peers (and follow the norms of ‘netiquette’ listed in the introduction module). Please post both of your posts by the end of the day on July 29.

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Schlesinger argues that the power of the modern presidency has moved in dangerous directions in contrast to the idea of “checks and balances.” Much of his argument is about the potential power of the executive branch to act independently of the other branches. In theory, this gives the president a lot of opportunity to shape government policies.

Is Schlesinger’s analysis convincing? Please explore that question while thinking about at least one of the following topics:

A. What does Schlesinger see as the historical context leading to an imperial presidency? Would this still apply today?

B. What formal powers of the presidency might allow the president to act without the other branches?

C. How does this Schlesinger perspective build on or challenge any of the other presidency scholars we have already encountered (Laski, Rossiter, Neustadt)? Could any of their ideas challenge his views?

D. Looking at Chapter 6 on the executive branch by Pika et al. and/or at their discussion of military force in the assigned section of Chapter 10, do you see any examples/details that either fit with or potentially challenge Schlesinger’s ‘imperial presidency’ perspective?

 

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