The Imperial Presidency

23 Nov

The Imperial Presidency

The Imperial Presidency

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0618420010

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., comes one of the most important and influential investigations of the American presidency. The Imperial Presidency traces the growth of presidential power over two centuries, from George Washington to George W. Bush, examining how it has both served and harmed the Constitution and what Americans can do about it in years to come. The book that gave the phrase “imperial presidency” to the language, this is a work of “substantial scholarship written with lucidity, charm, and wit” (The New Yorker).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

each operation and to outlaw the favorite intelligence agency pretext for withholding its dark deeds from Presidents and everybody else—the “plausible deniability” dodge. The next year a Senate select committee to study governmental operations with respect to intelligence activities began its investigations under the chairmanship of Frank Church of Idaho. In 1976 the committee issued a series of very able reports that gave Congress and the people for the first time a systematic understanding of

thinks clearly.” 3 Still the Court, in a year when most of its crucial decisions were bitterly divided, spoke here with a single voice, placing its imprimatur on the doctrine of inherent presidential authority in foreign affairs. For this doctrine it claimed “overwhelming support in the unbroken legislative practice which had prevailed almost from the inception of the national government.” The mood thus registered by an anti-presidential Supreme Court, thereafter strengthened by thirty years of

Davis advised him that, while the President probably had such authority under the Constitution, it would be better to ask Congress to make a formal delegation of war-making power when it voted for American membership in the international organization. But Vandenberg, as a member of the bipartisan senatorial committee consulting with Hull on postwar organization, opposed total renunciation of congressional power. It would be all right, he thought, for Presidents to act in lesser crises, as

would therefore seem “a kind of super-ally, with an active role, superseding that of Congress ... in our constitutional processes.” 33 VII Richardson, who was an able lawyer, had obviously had an off day. But the administration did not vouchsafe a considered explanation until April 30, 1973, when Secretary of State Rogers presented a memorandum to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Secretary now denied that the withdrawal of American forces had “created a fundamentally new

work, found himself “often in ignorance” of what the United States had promised to foreign countries because of the way international agreements had come to be “handled by a very very few people.” 44 Once again, Congress had primarily itself to blame. In 1953, when the Eisenhower administration was organizing its worldwide system of military bases, Secretary of State Dulles asked congressional leaders whether base agreements had to be in the form of treaties. The congressional view, he told

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