Is the executive branch the most powerful branch of our government? If so, say why. If not, say the most powerful branch and why. Thanks.

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There will be much in way of debate on this particular question.  I would say that a case can be made for the legislative branch having the most amount of power.  The fact that the Framers were very mindful of not empowering one person who could do damage to the framework of government, such as King George of England, the framers' vision of the legislative branch was intended to limit the potential abuse of centralized authority.  This might be why there are so many powers granted to the legislative branch, such as the power to declare war, the ability to levy taxes, and to coin money.

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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It really depends on who you ask, and in many ways the time period in which you choose to examine the three branches.  Many people argue that during George W. Bush's presidency and Clinton's that people worked really hard to expand the powers of the executive branch.  The checks on executive power are supposed to be in Congress as they can even seek impeachment if they feel that the president has really gone over the edge and is doing things that are illegal, etc.

You can also look at the attempt of FDR to change the Supreme Court and expand it and add liberal judges and his failure to make that happen.  The balance of power shifts in different time periods, etc.

The argument extends to cover the other branches as well.  Is the Supreme Court "legislating from the bench?" Is Congress overstepping their bounds when they make certain legislation for the states?

It will really depend on the perspective and you could back up either answer yes or no.

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is a matter of opinion.

I would say it is because the President is by far the most famous politician in the country.  So he is the one who can do the most to decide what sorts of laws are going to be considered.  He can give speeches to try to persuade people and those speeches will be big news.

But you can also argue that the legislative branch is stronger.  After all, they are the only branch that can actually pass laws.  The President could have talked about health care until he was blue in the face, but only Congress could actually pass the bill and Obama could not have just ordered the law to be enacted.

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kas890's profile pic

kas890 | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I believe that the executive branch has acquired more power over time.  It largely depends on the president who is in power. A president who is a strong politicain and who knows how to work the system can have immense power.  In a time when Congress is stalemated due to politics, the president can use his influence to shape policy.  I think that this is very true of the Obama Administration and the Health Bill that was passed.  The president also has opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices.  These justices can help shape policy by the rulings developed.  Again President Obama has the opportunity to do this with the resignation of Judge Stevens.  I believe that power shifts from time to time.  The founding fathers created a system of checks and balnces.  It may not be perfect but over time there is a balance of power.

lionboo2005's profile pic

lionboo2005 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

well the president does control the millatary so therefore he can almost force anything on anybody

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