Congress and the Presidency: An Unequal Relationship?
“The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared, and will continue to be so for many years to come. The tyranny of the executive power will come in its turn, but at a more distant period.” – Thomas Jefferson
In 1783 American colonists, defying incredible odds, had just beaten the United Kingdom, western hemisphere’s preeminent power, in the American War for Independence. (NPS.gov, n.d.) Now, these thirteen colonies, saddled with a new governmental charter, the onerous Articles of Confederation, sought to chart their own, independent path. (Gilderlehrman, n.d.) As a result, in 1787 disgruntled colonists sent delegates to Philadelphia in order to revise the dysfunctional Articles of Confederation. Yet, in a radical departure, most delegates decided not to amend the current constitution, but instead to craft a new Constitution. (OConnor & Sabato, 2019)
During the four month Constitutional Convention the delegates readily agreed upon James Madison’s basic premise of a new, United States government delineated along three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. That said, most delegates envisioned a strong legislative body and a weak executive office. (Maier, 2011)
Today, many historians and political scientists argue that the institution of the presidency has dramatically increased in power since the end of WWII at the expense of Congress.
This notion of a modern, expansive presidential power, stands in steadied contrast to Congress’ Constitutional ability to “check” the executive branch.
The U.S Congress has three, broad powers that, as per the founding fathers, act as a “check” against the executive branch:
So, is there an imbalance of power between the legislative and executive branches? If so, who has the upper hand? Inquiring minds want to know!
Directions: Using the following outline template and requirements, craft a full sentence, two page outline that analyzes the legislative and executive branches. Lumen’s Principles of Public Speaking has an excellent example of a full sentence outline. Please include the following:
Your full sentence outline should also meet the following requirements:
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1951-2000/Congressional-Budget-and-Impoundment-Control-Act-of-1974/.
Declaration of War with Japan, WWII (S.J.Res. 116). (2019, April 10). Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/common/image/SJRes116_WWII_Japan.htm.
K., J. (1973, July 23). S.440 – 93rd Congress (1973-1974): War Powers Act. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/93rd-congress/senate-bill/440.
Maier, P. (2011). Ratification: the people debate the Constitution, 1787-1788. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
National Constitution Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/.
Official Guide to Government Information and Services: USAGov. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.usa.gov/.
Power to Declare War. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/War-Powers/.
The Constitution of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution.
The War Powers Resolution debate continues. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/the-war-powers-resolution-debate-continues/.
Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=98.