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How has the role of the Presidency changed from 1789 to the present?

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The role of the president in the early days of the country was quite limited. In many ways, the Constitution gave a great deal more power to the Congress, and even the president's means of checking the Congress, such as the veto, were rarely used. For example, Washington used the veto twice, while Adams and Jefferson did not use this power at all. There were some presidents, such as Jackson and Lincoln, who exercised more power, but, by the late 1800s, the president (and national government in general) had a limited role in people's lives.

However, presidents in the twentieth century began to vastly expand the role of the presidency, particularly through advocating a progressive agenda. Teddy Roosevelt's Square Deal, for example, involved busting monopolies and setting aside public lands for conservation. Franklin Roosevelt, who used the veto 635 times, initiated the New Deal to bring the country out of the Great Depression. He started entitlement programs such as Social Security that...

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