The evolution of the US presidency and the congress

The evolution of the US presidency and the congress





The institution of the presidency has significantly evolved from the 19th century and the 21st century (Norton et al., 2011). In early 1930(S) the Congress was by far dominant and influential in comparison to the presidency. The initial position was very restricted due to the fear of misuse of the executive power. The department’s head became close and trusted aides to the presidency and advised the institution.

The last century has seen the presidency mandate expand significantly as the Congress has been voluntarily delegating part of its legislative mandate to the presidency. Consequently, the influence of the presidency has been increasing all along as the congress’s decline

In the 19th century, the presidency during President Jefferson side stepped the Congress on various occasions. For instance, he engaged in a war against the Barbary pirates without the consent of the Congress as required by law. The period of the New Deal gave the presidency impetus through the adoption of a nationally executed conventional system that spearheads nomination of presidential candidates.

In the 20th century, executive orders were adopted and issued which the Supreme Court held in its ruling. The practice went further to the adoption of executive agreements that were used in place of treaties. The presidency assumed more power and a new face in international relations.

Moreover, the presidency developed a path where the president could introduce legislations and mounting his influence to ensure its enactment. During the great depression, the presidency reshaped and assumed immense power from the Congress. Besides, in situations when the Congress denied the presidency the powers, it assumed them. The presidency gained a popular perception from the public who saw it as their refuge.

In early 21st century, the presidency still held immense power but reforms made by Congress pegged it with other institutions. Besides, the presidency has entrenched the coverage and the power vested in the executive beyond the situation in the 19th century. Also, the control over the federal bureaucratic organization by the presidency has been cemented. Currently, the presidency has developed a wide range of instruments for direct governance and use of executive orders. The Congress oversight role is in place but depends on the presidency hold of the majority of the two houses. The presidency is far much powerful though compared to the congress in relation to the 19th C.

The relations between the Congress and the presidency were from the start consultative (Rogers, 1971). Also, their relations have been influenced by who has the majority in both houses. When the presidency controlled the Congress issues like appointments sailed through with ease. The principle was and is significantly used even to date especially in executive appointments. In the 19th century, merely all the executive appointments were upheld. The events of the Watergate scandal reorganized the relations between the presidency and Congress. It strengthened its oversight power and reasserted the role through legislation. The Congress went further to limit the presidential powers to remove specified officials from office without consulting the Senate popularly known as the Tenure of Office Act. The act was overturned by the Supreme Court later safe for regulatory commission officials. The two arms of government ideally have held a guarded relationship with each other.

The delegated powers are given to the president by the Congress. They enable the presidency to govern and respond to decisive decisions with precision. Besides, they make it easier for the presidency to execute its mandate.


Norton, M. B., Sheriff, C., Blight, D. W., & Chudacoff, H. (2011). A People and a Nation: A   History of the United States, Volume II: Since 1865 (Vol. 2). Cengage Learning.

Rogers, W. P. (1971). Congress, the President, and the War Powers. California Law Review,     1194-1214.


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