Shared Flashcard Set


Political Science Exam 4
Political Studies
Undergraduate 3

Additional Political Studies Flashcards





The Presidency and the Constitution:

  • One of the primary problems that occupied the Framers was how much power could they safely cede to the office of the presidency
  • Plus of Presidential authority: Offered the nation efficiency and decisiveness /
  • Negative: threatened tyranny

Resolution of the problem:

  • To resolve the problem they…
  1. Withheld nonessential authority from the office
  2. Included legislative checks on executive prerogatives (checked by Senate)
  • The president’s constitutional powers do not add up to the forceful character of the modern presidency.

The Modern Presidency:

  • Sources of power:
  1. Congressional Delegation
  2. Presidential Assertion
  • Formal vs. Informal Powers:
  1. Informal: The power to persuade


Chief Executive:

  • The executive branch implements policies set forth by congress
  • President charges with faithfully executing laws passed by Congress (Implementing Policy)
  • As chief executive, President is head of the federal bureaucracy:
  1. Appointment power: The president gets to appoint the top people in agencies (Ex: Cabinet Secretaries)
  2. Conformation of presidential appointments are confirmed by the Senate by simple majority
  3. If it fails the president can make a new appointment
  • Executive Privilege: (Not in constitution, just understood since G. Washington)
  1. President’s right to withhold information from the other two branches

Executive Orders:

  • These are formal instructions from the president to bureaucratic agencies which have the force of law.
  • A subsequent president can overturn these: 
  1. Used to shape policy implementation
  2. Truman issued executive order to desegregate armed forces in 1947 (has remained…long standing)

Chief Legislature/ Lobbyist:

  • The Constitution gives presidents only a modest role in the legislative arena.
  1. Can call Congress into a special session (ex: during a national emergency)
  2. FDR called Congress into a special session after Pearl Harbor
  3. Veto laws
  4. Must report “from time to time” to Congress on the state of the Union
  • Promoting a legislative agenda:
  1. State of the Union Address/ Press opportunities
  2. Submission of Federal Budget (takes the first look at the budget, then Congress)

The Veto:


Rarely used but highly effective:

  • Average is fewer than 10 vetoes a year
  • Viewed as a negative Legislative Power
  • President can’t re-write part of the bill
  • It stops legislative
  • Congressional Override: 2/3 majority of House and Senate to override the president’s decision
  1. Line-Item Veto: The president does not have line-item veto power (Clinton did for just over a year-Congress gave him this power-The court did not uphold this decision)
  2. They didn’t uphold it, because that gives them power to re-write legislation
  3. The choices for a regular veto is either accept it even if you don’t like everything or veto it even if you like certain parts


Head Diplomat:

  • The Framers provided the president with broader authority to transact diplomatic affairs than to transact domestic ones.
  1. Treaty Negotiation: A president can implement one, but the Senate has to ratify the treaty with a two thirds vote (super majority)
  2. Executive Agreement (not formally stated in Constitution): Cannot supersede U.S. law and it remains in place only as long as both parties find their interests served by it. 
  • Diplomatic Recognition
  • Appointment of Diplomats
  • Represents U.S. at Summits/International Meetings
  1. G-8 NATO meeting
Commander and Chief:
  • Constitutional duty
  • Framers provided a check: Only Congress can declare war
  • Not an effective check because:
  1. We have declared was via Congress: 5 in 200+ years (not since WW2)
  2. How many military engagements have we been involved in: +200
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