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I don’t think that I have enough examples in my journal. I think…

I don’t think that I have enough examples in my journal. I think that I need examples please as to In your opinion, do U.S. presidents today have too much power or not enough?”

 

  1. Assignment:
    The power of the American presidency has grown over time, particularly during times of war. In this activity, you read about the actions of six presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George W. Bush.

 

Your journal entry should address these questions.

 

  • Do their actions represent appropriate uses of presidential power or examples of presidents overstepping the authority they were granted by the Constitution?
  • How do you think the framers of the Constitution would respond to the presidency’s expanded powers?
  • In your opinion, do U.S. presidents today have too much power or not enough?

 

The question I’m concerned if I answered enough on is:  In your opinion, do U.S. presidents today have too much power or not enough?

 

Please give me some examples that I could use to add to my journal for this question.
This is the Journal:
I believe that the majority of the actions taken by presidents during wars were justified, and were within their power. The presidents acted accordingly to protect the United States and its allies. In some situations, these presidents may have acted a bit rapidly with their declarations of war, and in other situations, like during World War II, they may have acted too slow.

 

For example, Abraham Lincoln took extraordinary but necessary steps like suspending habeas corpus to more effectively suppress the Confederate rebellion during the Civil War. As Commander-in-Chief facing an existential crisis, he needed expanded authority to preserve the Union. Franklin Roosevelt worked closely with Congress through measures such as Lend-Lease and declaring an “unlimited national emergency” to mobilize the nation’s resources against the threats posed by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II.

 

Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bombs, though enormously consequential, likely helped end the war against Japan quickly and saved lives on both sides. As Commander-in-Chief during WWII, strategic military decisions like this were within Truman’s purview. George W. Bush secured congressional authorizations for military action against al Qaeda and Iraq that traditionally grant presidents leeway, even if the nature of the threats is disputed.

 

But in the majority of situations covered the outcome was positive through the use of presidential power. Although there is more power granted to the president today, there is a shorter time for which the president can use this power. I agree with this, and I believe that the framers of the constitution would agree that this is good. Up until 1947, following the end of World War II, presidents could stay in office until they lost an election, retired, or died. Now, they can serve a maximum of two terms or eight years. This prevents anyone president from getting too powerful in office. I think that presidents have just enough power, because of how well the constitution was written. The founding fathers did a very good job, albeit not perfect from the numerous amendments, but still a very good job creating a strong government that is not too powerful. The president has enough power to do their job effectively, but not too much as to make them power-hungry or corrupt.

 

TEXT that I was given to us to read/then write the journal:
Wartime Presidents

One of the main reasons presidential power has expanded is war. Congress has not issued an official declaration of war since the United States entered World War II in 1941. And yet the United States has been involved in many military efforts since that war ended in 1945. When Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, it made a significant effort to reclaim some of the war-related powers the executive branch had taken over. However, many presidents have simply chosen to ignore this act.

 

The timeline on this page briefly covers the wartime decisions of six presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and George W. Bush. Do their actions represent appropriate uses of presidential power, or examples of presidents overstepping the authority they were granted by the Constitution? You make the call.

 

Expanding Presidential Powers During Wartime

This interactive timeline lists six significant conflicts during which presidential powers were expanded. 

 

Milestone 1: 1862 – 1865: American Civil War

Image: A black-and-white portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Image caption: President Abraham Lincoln, 1865

Text: The Civil War was the most significant conflict in the nation’s history. To meet the challenges of the war, President Abraham Lincoln greatly expanded the power of the presidency. Early in the war, he declared martial law, meaning that he suspended ordinary law and established a military government with himself as its leader. He also suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which was a legal guarantee that an accused person would be brought to court to determine his or her guilt. This allowed the president to use military courts to more easily make arrests and imprison people who were seen as threats to the Union.

But Lincoln’s most significant expansion of presidential power was a sweeping executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in states that were rebelling against the Union.

 

Milestone 2: 1914 – 1918: World War I

Image: A photograph of Woodrow Wilson

Image caption: President Woodrow Wilson, 1919

Text: Conflicts between European alliances pulled nations across the globe into World War I. Although the United States was neutral at first, in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson led the United States into the fight when American interests were threatened.

While many Americans supported entering the war, others opposed Wilson’s decision and spoke out against involvement. Wilson responded by creating the Committee on Public Information through an executive order. This agency worked specifically to generate support for the war.

Wilson controlled Congress in a way few presidents before him were able to. He pressured members of his party in Congress to give him the power to censor materials that were deemed harmful to the war effort. Congress awarded Wilson these powers, which allowed him to ban certain publications, stop the delivery of mail, and imprison people who spoke out against the war.

 

Milestone 3: 1939 – 1945: World War II

Image: A black-and-white photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Image caption: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

Text: The Axis Powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy started the deadliest war in history in 1939, threatening the United States and other democratic governments across the globe. After the Japanese attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States joined the conflict.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked for, and received, a declaration of war from Congress. But once the United States became actively involved in the war, Roosevelt often took executive action first and expected Congress to follow.

Roosevelt issued hundreds of executive orders during the war, including Executive Order 9066, which forced over 100,000 Japanese Americans to relocate to internment camps.

 

Milestone 4: 1950 – 1953: Korean War

Image: A black-and-white photograph of Harry S. Truman

Image caption: President Harry S. Truman, 1945

Text: In 1950, communist forces invaded democratic South Korea. President Harry S. Truman was committed to containing the spread of communism and wanted to send U.S. troops to Korea to fight the invasion. Instead of seeking congressional approval, however, he went to the United Nations (UN). Truman worried that waiting for Congress to act would cause too much delay.

With the power of the United Nations behind him, Truman was able to deploy U.S. troops as part of a UN peacekeeping force.

 

Milestone 5: 1955 – 1975: Vietnam War

Image: A black-and-white photograph of Lyndon B. Johnson

Image caption: President Lyndon B. Johnson, 1964

Text: Numerous presidents were involved in the escalation of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. They were concerned about communist influence spreading from the Soviet Union to this war-torn region. In 1965, after a U.S. Navy ship reported it was attacked in Southeast Asia, Congress issued a resolution authorizing force to protect U.S. interests there. President Lyndon B. Johnson used this as permission to authorize major airstrikes against communist targets in Vietnam and eventually deployed hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in an undeclared war against communist North Vietnam.

 

Milestone 6: 2001 – present: War on terror

Image: A color photograph of George W. Bush

Image caption: President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001

Text: Congress defined the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as an “act of war” and authorized President George W. Bush to use any force necessary in response. Following this resolution, which passed on September 18, 2001, President Bush authorized surveillance of American citizens, expanded torture methods, and instituted military courts called tribunals. Another congressional resolution passed in 2002 allowed for the invasion of Iraq without a formal declaration of war from the legislative branch.

 

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