The New Imperial Presidency
Renewing Presidential Power After Watergate. Contemporary Political and Social Issues
Has the imperial presidency returned? The New Imperial Presidency suggests that the Congressional framework meant to guide and constrain presidential behavior has slowly eroded over the decades since Watergate. Author Andrew Rudalevige describes the evolution of executive power in our separated system of governance. Rudalevige discusses the abuse of power that prompted what he calls the "resurgence regime" against the imperial presidency, and inquires as to how and why, over the three decades that followed Watergate, presidents regained their standing. The New Imperial Presidency shows that presidents have always tried to interpret Constitutional powers broadly. Ambitious executives can choose from an array of actions that push against congressional power and, finding insufficient resistance, expand the scope of presidential power. Rudalevige concludes that the freedoms secured by the checks and balances of government are not automatic, but depend on the exertions of public servants and the citizens they serve. His story confirms the importance of the "living Constitution," a tradition of historical experiences overlaying the text of the Constitution itself.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
"Well written and, while indispensable for college courses, should appeal beyond academic audiences to anyone interested in how well we govern ourselves.... I cannot help regarding it as a grand sequel for my own The Imperial Presidency." - Arthur Schlesinger, Jr."