How can the president overcome constitutional restraints?

In the USA features associated with the residing presidential system include: a codified constitution, making it difficult for a president to introduce contravening proposals, a separation of Powers between ‘trias politica’ with checks and balances, the president as the head of state and federalism, requiring the recognition of state authority. However, Stephen Graubard claimed in 2005 that “the US president is now as powerful as the monarch” suggesting that the liberty accumulated by the US President, in all respects, had greatly surpassed the level intended by the Founding Fathers in their drafting of the constitution.  The use of executive orders by the President has allowed him to overcome the nuances and constitutional constraints of having to receive senate ratification of treaties. The President essentially decides if there will be a treaty, who with and its agenda and the direction of the foreign policy. Congress may not even get the chance to consider. Congress act merely as a reactive. The imperial presidency was a belief by Schlesinger in 1973 and has been claimed to have grown excessively. Regarding war powers, with the developing practice of military actions rather than declaring, allows the President to overcome constitutional restraints. On at least 125 occasions, and usually with congress acceptance, the president of the day have developed troops to conflict zones without express military authorisation from congress to whom the responsibility of declaring war is attributed by the constitution. In June 1950, Truman took military action in what was to become known as the ‘Korean War’. The fact that this was a war in all but name and there have only ever been five formal declarations of war implies that Presidents have annexed congress duties and have overcome this constitutional constraint. For example during Nixon’s administration he bombed Laos and Cambodia, something in which congress knew nothing about until after it had taken place. Despite the war [powers act implemented in 1973 aiming to  address the balance of war powers giving congress the power of the purse, Presidents continue to consult congress later proving congress to be merely a reactive. Not to mention executive orders which allow the President to make decisions without a vote from congress, completely undermining the liberal democracy in which the framers intended on the USA being, completely avoiding mob rule. Crisis situations allow the Presidents power to maximise. For example the patriot act passed through both chambers untouched within one hour after the 9/11. Favours were in support od the president and this seemed to justify military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq post 9/11 as well as the torture in Guantanamo bay and extraordinary rendition that took place.

Cliodhna  H. GCSE Government and Politics tutor, GCSE Spanish tutor, ...

2 years ago

Answered by Cliodhna , an A Level Government and Politics tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£20 /hr

Emma G.

Degree: Combined Honours in Social Sciences (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Government and Politics, Latin+ 2 more

Government and Politics
History of Art

“I am a Italian native speaker, now half way through my Bachelor in Social Sciences at Durham University. I am a very friendly and enthusiastic person and I truly enjoy tutoring. My passion for teaching started a few years ago, when I ...”

MyTutor guarantee

PremiumLuke C. A Level Government and Politics tutor, GCSE Government and Po...
£30 /hr

Luke C.

Degree: PPE (Bachelors) - Oxford Alumni University

Subjects offered:Government and Politics, Politics+ 6 more

Government and Politics
Philosophy and Ethics
.TSA. Oxford.
-Personal Statements-
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“I am a Master’s student in Political Science at the University of Chicago, and I’m currently writing a thesis on international security. Last year I graduated from the University of Oxford with a high 2:1 in PPE. In September, I’ll be ...”

£20 /hr

Aisha S.

Degree: Law (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered:Government and Politics, Sociology+ 1 more

Government and Politics

“About me:  Hi guys! My name is Aisha Shahid and I'm a first year law student at the University of Warwick. I'm approachable, friendly and as helpful as I can possibly be.   What can I offer?  -GCSE history -GCSE sociology -Edexcel g...”

About the author

Cliodhna H.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Law (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Government and Politics, Spanish+ 1 more

Government and Politics

“About Me: I am a law student at Durham University and so completed the LNAT exam myself to gain entry into the university. I am confident that through my experience in the world of law as well as my interest in current affairs, I have...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Cliodhna

How can the president overcome constitutional restraints?

What are three features of pluralism?

What is meant by the term 'vice president'?

¿Piensas que el colegio es muy importante en la vida de los jóvenes?

Other A Level Government and Politics questions

What should the structure of my essay be?

To what extent does the European Parliament check the power of the European Commission?

What is real politik? What are some examples?

How can I revise for my Government and Politics exams?

View A Level Government and Politics tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss