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Government - Unit 3, Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Transcript of Government - Unit 3, Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
The Presidency in Action
The President's Powers
The President's Executive Powers
Legislative and Judicial Powers
The Growth of Presidential Power
Diplomatic and Military Powers
Article II of the Constitution is also known as the Executive Article.
Early President's held much less power then current President's.
Presidential Power has grown because of a number of different factors including...
Article II of the Constitution is also known as the Executive Article.
The article states: "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."
Unity of the President
The powers of the Presidency are held by one person.
The powers of Congress are held by 535 people.
Think of the strong Presidents such as FDR and Lincoln. Once they expanded the power of the office of President it was hard for the Judicial and Legislative branches to take the power back.
Think of how complicated our world is as compared to the late 1700's...
As we have become more technologically and industrially advanced we have looked to the President to solve our problems.
Congress has passed thousands of laws that have led to the growth of the President.
Even still, Congress couldn't possibly create enough specific law to keep up with all of our needs.
So Congress will often write laws that give a basic outline and it is up to the President to enforce those laws...a big duty/power.
Which of these do you think provides the most reasonable or plausible reason why Presidential power has grown since our founding?
As chief executive, the President executes (enforces, administers, carries out) the provisions of federal law.
There are two provisions written into the Constitution that gives the President this power. One is the oath of office and the other is a command from the Constitution that states "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
The President's power to execute the law covers all federal laws. In executing and enforcing law, the executive branch also interprets it.
The Constitution requires the President to execute ALL federal laws no matter the chief executive's view on those laws. However, the President may, and does, use some discretion as to how vigorously and in what particular way any given law will be applied in practice.
The Ordinance Power
The job of administering and applying most federal law is the day-to-day work of all the many departments, bureaus, offices, boards, commissions, councils, and other agencies of the Federal Government.
One way the President uses his ordinance power is by issuing executive orders. An executive order is a directive, rule, or regulation that has the effect of law.
The Appointment Power
The Removal Power
The power to issue these orders or the ordinance power comes from the Constitution and Congress.
Constitution - inherent power
Congress - has found it necessary to delegate or give more and more discretion to the President.
The Constitution also gives the President the power to appoint (with consent of the Senate): Ambassadors, Judges of the Supreme Court, all federal judges, cabinet members, heads of agencies within the government, and more.
However, a check on the President's appointment power would be that the Senate MUST approve all Presidential appointments.
The President has the ability to remove a Presidential appointment for "inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office."
The President has the power to make treaties.
A treaty is a formal agreement between two or more sovereign countries.
The Senate has a check on this Presidential power because every treaty requires a two-thirds vote before a treaty can go into effect.
The President can also make an executive agreement which is a pact between the President and the head of another country but these don't require senate approval.
The President also has the power of recognition. This is when the President officially recognizes the legal existence of a country and its government.
How would the power of recognition be important for something like the Arab Spring?
The President as Commander in Chief...
The President's powers as commander in chief are almost without limit...
The President can and does delegate much of his authority to military subordinates but he always has the final authority and responsibility for all military matters.
Some argue that the Constitution does not give the President the power to make war without a declaration of war by Congress but Presidents have done so for over 200 years.
While Congress has NOT declared war since WWII they have, on eight occasions, enacted "joint resolutions" to authorize the President to meet certain international crises with military force.
Examples: Vietnam War/Conflict and the War on Terror
After the War in Vietnam Congress became frustrated with the President's uninhibited and seemingly limitless war power so they passed the War Powers Resolution which put limits on the President's war-making powers.
The War Powers Resolution requires:
Within 48 hours after committing U.S. forces to combat abroad the President must report to Congress.
A commitment of American forces to combat must end within 60 days, unless Congress agrees to a longer period.
Congress may end the combat commitment at any time.
The President has considerable influence in Congress and can even be thought of as the nation's chief legislator.
The President can and does recommend legislation to be passed. So even though he can't pass a law by himself he can recommend and try to use his influence as President to convince lawmakers to pass laws that he wants to be passed.
Another legislative power of the President is the power to veto legislation.
Usually a President will veto a bill by refusing to sign it into law and sending the bill back to Congress.
Congress then has the option to redo the bill in a way that will get the President to sign the bill into law or they can override the Presidential veto with a 2/3 majority vote in BOTH the House and Senate.
The President also has Judicial Power which include:
Granting a reprieve, or postponement of the execution of a sentence.
Granting a pardon, which is legal forgiveness of a crime.
Granting commutation, which is the reduction of punishment.
Granting amnesty which is in effect a blanket pardon offered to a group of law violators.