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How have presidents used their position to increase the power of the office?

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Some ways that presidents have increased the power of the office is through executive orders and campaigning for preferred political landscapes. If the House and Senate are on a similar ideological field as the sitting president, it is much easier to pass legislation, but executive orders bypass this system entirely for an even quicker legislative process.

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The United States was structured to be a system of checks and balances, meaning each branch of government "checks" the other. For example, when Congress passes legislation, the president may sign it into law or veto it and send it back to the Capitol. The legislation must also pass the constitutional review of the Supreme Court. While the President of the United States is often believed to be the most powerful person in the country or even the world, this is not necessarily true. It's worth noting that the president does have numerous unencumbered powers. For example, they can pardon people convicted of federal crimes and issue executive orders that do not require Congressional approval. However, there are several ways in which presidents have tried to increase the power of their office.

First, the political landscape of the legislature can make or break an administration. For example, a Democratic president might not get as much as they'd like to done with a Republican-dominated House and Senate. Public opinion, then, is a pretty big factor in how effective a president could be, so many presidents don't stop campaigning once they're in the White House. Theodore Roosevelt was famous for his persistent campaigning for favorable public opinion. Presidents may support candidates for the House or Senate that would support their ideas or appoint cabinet members or Supreme Court justices who would further their agenda.

Presidents have also employed executive orders to expand their powers. For example, George W. Bush asserted that the idea of the "unitary executive" protected the president's orders from congressional or judicial oversight. Many presidents have held a similar idea, resisting the limitations Congress or the Supreme Court may try to levy upon their orders. Executive orders may at first seem to be presidential overreach, but many have been effective throughout history. For example, Abraham Lincoln used an executive order to enact the Emancipation Proclamation.

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How have American presidents used their position to increase the power of the office?

The power of the president, and the executive branch in general, has increased significantly over the history of the United States. A number of presidents have taken actions that greatly expanded the powers of their office. This has happened in several ways.

Andrew Jackson was the first president to make extensive use of his powers. Although he did not add anything to them that was not already spelled out in article II of the US Constitution, he made it a regular habit to employ his veto power. In fact, he issued far more vetoes than any previous president. Where President Jackson really expanded the power of the president was by establishing a cult of personality. He used his charisma to gain a large following among the masses which helped propel him politically and strengthen the party system in the country.

Few presidents expanded the power of their office more than Abraham Lincoln. The Civil War created a situation in which Lincoln felt it necessary that the president be able to act quickly and unilaterally. Without first securing agreements from Congress, Lincoln expanded the size of the military and ordered it into action by blockading Southern ports. He even suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which allowed him to have dissidents arrested and jailed. Many of the expansions of power that Lincoln put in place were retracted after the Civil War, but it set a precedent in which the president could take swift action in times of crisis.

Theodore Roosevelt expanded the power of the president in its role in international relations. On multiple occasions, he brokered peace agreements with feuding foreign powers. He also used the role of chief executive to meddle more directly in foreign affairs, such as ordering the navy to prevent Colombia from stopping the Panamanian independence movement.

As a part of his New Deal programs, President Franklin Roosevelt increased the power of the president to make widespread economic decisions. The role of various federal bureaus were expanded which allowed the president to enforce economic regulatory measures like never before.

In more recent years, President George W. Bush increased the president's power over implementing new laws with his use of signing statements. Signing statements had been around for a long time. They were usually issued by a president when he signed a bill as a way to congratulate the legislative effort. President Bush changed their use by using them to challenge certain parts of the bill, effectively saying that the executive branch would not enforce particular parts of the law.

There are other ways in which presidents have strengthened their powers over the years. The important thing to remember is that once a new power is achieved, it becomes usually precedent for future presidents.

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