Relevant Court Cases:

  1. United States v. Nixon
  2. Korematsu v US

Key Terms:

  1. Senatorial courtesy
  2. Executive orders
  3. Executive privilege
  4. 20th Amendment
  5. 22nd Amendment
  6. 25th Amendment
  7. Imperial Presidency
  8. Bully pulpit
  9. National Security Council
  10. Council of Economic Advisors
  11. Pocket veto
  12. Cabinet
  13. Signing statements
  14. Divided Government
  15. Line item veto
  16. Executive agreement
  17. Presidential Succession Act
  18. Pardon
  19. Inherent powers
  20. Bureaucracy
  21. Civil service
  22. Merit principle
  23. Independent agencies
  24. Executive Office of the Prsidency
  25. Administrative discretion
  26. Discretionary authority
  27. Iron Triangle
  28. Issue networks
  29. Regulatory Agency
  30. Government Corporation
  31. Pendleton Act
  32. Patronage
  33. Hatch Act
  34. Administrative adjudication
  35. Spoils system

Key Questions:

  1. What was the party of each President from Truman to Obama?
  2. What are the formal qualifications to be President?
  3. Describe the process of Presidential impeachment and conviction?
  4. What are the constitutional (formal) powers of the President?
  5. What are the informal powers of the President?
  6. Provide an example of the use of inherent powers.
  7. How has presidential power changed over time?
  8. Explain what powers the President can employ to affect legislative action.
  9. How can the White House staff influence presidential decision making?
  10. Since World War II, how have Presidents altered the commander-in-chief power beyond the framers intent?
  11. How does the president establish diplomatic relationships with other nations?
  12. How does the president use his popularity to influence policy?
  13. How can the 1st lady affect presidential public opinion?
  14. What role does the media play in the success of failure of presidential initiatives?
  15. How is the civil service system based on the merit principle?
  16. In what ways can Congress influence the bureaucracy?
  17. In what ways can the President influence the bureaucracy?
  18. In what ways can the Courts influence the bureaucracy?
  19. What steps have been taken to minimize the practice of patronage?
  20. How does the structure of the bureaucracy support the practice of bureaucratic discretion?
  21. Analyze how the bureaucracy can perform legislative, executive, and judicial roles.
  22. Explain how the powers of the other branches can be used to limit presidential power.

Key Concepts:


1.  The Constitution both grants power to and limits the power of the president, who must share power with the other branches of government.  Because the constitutional powers of the president are stated in broad terms, it has been possible to interpret them in ways that have permitted a vast expansion of presidential influence. The Congress and the president appear to be in a continuous “struggle” for control of policy making.

2.  A combination of historical and institutional forces provides at least a partial explanation for the increased prominence and power of the presidency in the twentieth century.  These include America’s expanded role in world affairs, the expansion of government responsibilities in domestic affairs and the accompanying growth of the executive branch, and the changed relationship between the president and the public stemming from the growth of the electronic media.

3.  The presidency itself encompasses a sizable bureaucracy – the Executive Office of the President.  Presidents mold this bureaucracy to fit their particular leadership styles and objectives.  The presidential bureaucracy, particularly the White House staff, exercises great influence over administration policy making.  Effectively utilizing and controlling this presidential bureaucracy are two major problems modern presidents have to confront.

4.  Presidential power depends heavily on public support – a fragile commodity that is subject to sharp fluctuations depending on economic and world conditions.

5.  The president plays a major role in establishing the congressional policy agenda.  But presidential success with Congress is strongly affected by whether or not the president’s party controls Congress and by the president’s level of public support.

6.  Presidents exert preeminent influence on foreign policy, but even in this area they must share power with Congress, which can restrict presidential initiatives through its legislative and funding powers.


1.  The bureaucracy is the complex of agencies that administers government programs and policies.  It is an essential part of the governmental system, but it lacks the legitimacy accorded the presidency, the Congress, and the courts.

2.  The process of interpreting and implementing the laws passed by Congress and the executive orders of the president is inevitably political in character because these administrative acts of the bureaucracy have consequences for individuals and groups in society.  Bureaucracies exercise considerable discretion in policy implementation, necessitating control by Congress and the president.

3.  The organizational elements of the federal bureaucracy include departments, independent agencies, independent regulatory agencies, government institutes, foundations, and corporations.  The vast majority of bureaucrats are selected on the basis of merit, with only a small percentage appointed at the discretion of the president.