By John Yoo
An American President faces warfare and reveals himself hamstrung via a Congress that may not act. to guard nationwide safeguard, he invokes his powers as Commander-in-Chief and orders activities that appear to violate legislation enacted through Congress. he's excoriated for usurping dictatorial powers, putting himself above the legislation, and dangerous to "breakdown constitutional safeguards." you could be forgiven for considering that the above describes former President George W. Bush. but those specific assaults on presidential energy have been leveled opposed to Franklin D. Roosevelt. they can simply besides describe related assaults leveled opposed to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and several presidents challenged with prime the country via instances of nationwide trouble. notwithstanding sour, advanced, and pressing state-of-the-art controversies over govt energy will be, John Yoo reminds us they're not anything new. In drawback and Command, he explores an element too little consulted in present debates: the prior. via clever and lucid research, he indicates how the daring judgements made via Washington, Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and FDR replaced greater than simply historical past; in addition they reworked the function of the yankee president. The hyperlink among the energetic workout of government energy and presidential greatness, Yoo argues, is either major and misunderstood. He makes the case that the founding fathers intentionally left the structure imprecise at the limits of presidential authority, drawing on historical past to illustrate the benefi ts to the kingdom of a robust government place of work.
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Additional resources for Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush
28 It had the power to appoint committees and officers to administer federal law, the central function of the executive. Congress's problem was not a lack of executive power, but the way that power was organized and supported. Initially, Congress created committees to carry out decisions, a design that proved disastrous with troops in the field fighting the British. 29 The states, which continued to control supply and internal legislation, failed to supply revenue to the national government or comply with its requests.
At these times, our greatest chief executives have vigorously used their powers to benefit, even to save, the nation. This is not to say that Presidents can act unilaterally for very long, or that success inevitably follows executive initiative. Emergencies may call upon a President to lead, and robust exercises of presidential power can jolt the political system into recognizing new realities. But resistance and opposition almost always arise in response. Congress and especially the courts may try to defend the status quo.
45 Later constitutions followed New York's example. Massachusetts, which adopted its constitution in 1780, and New Hampshire, which ratified a similar document in 1784, both provided for executives elected directly by the people with independent constitutional powers. Those states, for example, gave their governors the authority to make war, for offensive reasons as well as self-defense. Massachusetts's experience marks a sea change in attitudes toward the executive during the Critical Period.