Friday, October 08, 2004

Teaching about the U.S. Presidency

Teaching about the U.S. Presidency - Provides full-text access to the ERIC Digest of this name which gives advice to teachers about instructing students on the American Presidency.

From the site:

Many consider the U.S. presidency to be the most powerful office in the world. What are its constitutional foundations? How has the role of the chief executive changed through the years? What World Wide Web resources are available for teaching about the U.S. presidency?


The delegates to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, who framed the U.S. Constitution, brought with them various conceptions of executive power. Three questions dominated the framers' consideration of the role the executive would play in the new government. First, the delegates discussed whether the executive should be a single individual or whether multiple persons should share the office. Second, they considered at length the amount of power the executive should wield. And third, they debated the best means by which to elect the executive. Generally, deliberations on these questions involved the balance of power in the new government.

The framers feared that a powerful executive could usurp legislative authority and engage in tyrannical actions. The weak executives created by the state constitutions, however, proved unable to prevent state legislatures from trampling on the people's rights. The founding fathers sought to create a government in which, as James Madison explained in FEDERALIST 51, "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition." Madison deemed a balance of power necessary, and he called for a governmental arrangement in which it would be in the best interest of all citizens to resist executive encroachment.

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