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Presidential Theory

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I disagree with Stephen Hess' contention that modern President's are woefully miscast in the role of manager of the Executive Branch. The Office of The President in its infancy acted strictly as a Chief Executive, by enforcing Congressional legislation that had been passed into law. As the government continued to develop, The President took on more responsibility acting in the capacity as Chief Administrator; by initiating legislation through a top-down process. Today, the President has developed into a combination of the aforementioned roles. The President manages his White House staff, as well as the nation, in order to attain a less hectic, more structured, effective leadership. Constitutional empowerment, presidential character, and public expectations have always and will continue to shape the fundamental managerial role of President of The United States.

The blueprint of the Office of The Presidency can be traced back to1777, when the state of New York passed their Constitution. The Constitution of the state of New York gave only the "Governor" ultimate executive power, stressed the importance of a strong chief executive, granted reprieves and pardons, as well as the establishment of the State of the Union address. The Final aspect of the NY Constitution found in the Constitution today, which clearly is a managerial task, is the power of the Presidential veto. By exercising this power, the President is clearly managing Congress, for if not in the best interest of the nation, it is the President's responsibility to block the legislation, and give constructive feedback to Congress, with hopes of seeing a revised edition before him as soon as possible. All of the aforementioned aspects of the New York state Constitution can be found in Article II of the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Constitution is the building block for the President's role as Chief Executive. Through the vesting clause of Article II- paragraph one- executive power is placed exclusively in the President's hands. Article II-Section III authorizes the President "... to give Congress information of the State of The Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient", known commonly as the annual The State of the Union address. Through the State of the Union address the President demonstrates another important aspect of his managerial role: integration. The President has the power and ability to take information, no matter how large or small, from all aspects of the Federal Government and analyze, critique, and disseminate it accordingly. Lastly, Article II provides The President has the power to convene or adjourn both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The Chief Executive's main responsibility was to enforce Congressional legislation, and to report back on laws he was enforcing. As the nation grew, so did the ambitions of the President. The election of Andrew Jackson to the Office of the President in 1829 marked the end of the Chief Executive era of the presidency, and the beginning of the Chief Administrator era of the presidency.

President Jackson became the first President to appeal to the people. During his campaign some of his supporters voiced their distaste for the Bank of The United States. Once elected to office, President Jackson vetoed a bill to re-charter the national bank. The veto established a standard that fortified the presidency. "...A president should reject any bill that he felt would injure the nation." President Jackson rationalized his veto, because he believed the bank was unconstitutional and reckless. President Jackson also considered this action mandated by his party, the Jacksonian's. Therefore, he felt obligated to act on his constituent's behalf. By firing the current Secretary of The Treasury and hiring a new one in 1832, President Jackson displayed one of the eldest managerial authorities. Also, beginning with the election of President Jackson public expectations became quite prominent in the gradual shifting of the nation's political system. Public expectations drive the President to hold the reigns of the role as manager even tighter. After the shift from Congressional controlled elections to popularly based elections, the voting population began to hold their elected officials at a higher standard than they had previously. Voters began to identify themselves with the growing national parties at this time. Voters identified with either one of two national parties. The Jacksonian, lead by Andrew Jackson, or the Whig, established out of opposition to the Jacksonian party led by Henry Clay and Daniel Webster party at this time. Here party loyalty was born, and so was patronage.

Out of the Chief Administrator era three systems were born; patronage, party allies, and partisan politics. The party-centered shifts within the nation allowed for the creation and interdependence of the three systems. The President was no longer just enforcing rules; he was now taking matters into his own hands, with the consent and support of his party. If the president was not able to get something done at a certain time, he was able to now go to one of the lower members of his party throughout Congress to have them work on the current situation. In order to use a lower ranked member of his party, typically promises were made. More often than not promises of jobs were the most common, in exchange for the member's cooperation and dedication to his party. This bargaining strategy, which is exactly what it is, is a commonality among managers. Partisan politics allowed the President to start set his own agenda for the country because he could rely on his party allies throughout the various dark alleys of the government, to carry out "their" legislation. Those members of the party in power at that time, who did not play the patronage game eventually, lost their party's support and sometimes their job(s). "Persuasion is the lubricant of government..." , as clearly evident in regards to favoritism, and patronage. Even The President could lose his job for not fighting alongside of his party, until Theodore Roosevelt was elected President.

The modern presidency was born out of the Progressive reforms of the late 19th century. Long gone was patronage and corrupt elections. Party politics and patronage began to diminish, and the notion of the President as a Manager came full circle. Political parties were no longer able to control elections by threatening and intimidating voters. The Australian ballot of 1888 ensured voter privacy and put an end to party intimidation on Election Day. With the government printed ballot voters were no longer afraid to vote their conscious. Without their former scare tactics



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