The Presidency and the Constitution

"Conclusion: Reviving the Constitutional Executive Power"

Overview

The Founders placed the executive power in the hands of a unitary officeholder, the President of the United States. This unity enables the president to act decisively and ensures that he will be held accountable for his actions. The office was designed to be limited and to be checked by two other branches. By contrast, modern government is run chiefly by unaccountable executive-branch bureaucrats who hold all three powers—legislative, executive, and judicial—of government. In order to avert the crisis presented by this unconstitutional combination of powers, citizens must work to understand the principles of the Founders’ Constitution, and seek to apply these principles to contemporary politics. 

Lecture

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Discussion Questions

  • Why is it important for Americans to understand the presidency and the Constitution?
  • How has the sovereign authority in America changed over time?
  • What can citizens do to help restore a constitutional executive?

Q & A Session

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Larry P. Arnn is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, where he is also a professor of politics and history. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He also studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Sir Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 to 2000, he served as president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He serves on several boards of directors, and he previously served on the U.S. Army War College Board of Visitors for two years for which he earned the Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal. In 2015, he received the Bradley Prize from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. A member of numerous organizations including the Churchill Centre, he is the author of three books: Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution and What We Risk by Losing It; and, most recently, Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government.