Breadcrumb

How much Power does a President actually have?

Image
political cartoon of Truman

Background

 

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of presidential power and how that power has changed over time by exploring the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, as well as famous executive orders and Supreme Court cases during the Presidency of Harry S. Truman. 

While the Constitution has clear expressed powers of the Executive Branch, such as command the armed forces, the Constitution also gives the president “energy” (in the words of Federalist #70), especially in times of crisis. Harry Truman also took actions that were controversial not just because they were unpopular, but because they were seen as an overreach of presidential power. Chief among these were his Executive Order desegregating the military, his decisive action to send U.S. troops into the Korean Conflict without Congressional approval, and the seizure of steel mills. 

 

Key Question

How much Power does a President actually have?