The Constitution of the United States says little about the president's specific duties other than the enforcement of the laws of the land. Combining brilliant scholarship with a lively style, this book reveals how deep-seated forces, inherent in American society and affecting the presidency for over two centuries, have transformed the office created by the framers of the Constitution into the complex, powerful, and responsible institution it is today.
The administrations of the "strong" presidents have added to the powers and duties of the office as we know them. In addition, such social and political forces as the growth of political parties, economic and geographic expansion, and the changing nature of the national government have all had their influence on the presidency. These processes are historically traced by the author and illustrated by vivid examples of how they worked in the case of such holders of the office as Washington, Jackson, Polk, Lincoln, the two Roosevelts, and Eisenhower.
Every chapter of the book brings a fresh and authoritative approach to an office and an institution that is the subject of searching debates today.