The Presidency and the Constitution

"The Administrative Presidency"


A central tenet of Progressivism is the rejection of the president’s constitutional role as chief executive. In response, presidents from both parties have sought other forms of governance. These forms, which have become mainstays of the modern presidency, center power in the White House and depend on regulatory review and a large administrative apparatus. Far from the Lincoln White House, in which the president had two assistants, today’s White House is full of administrators who help to oversee an ever-expanding bureaucratic state. 


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Recommended Readings

Discussion Questions

  • Which two presidents attempted to reverse the expansion of the administrative state? Why were they unsuccessful? 
  • What was the impetus for expanding the administrative presidency under Franklin Roosevelt?
  • Why did Nixon’s presidency disturb the prevailing view of the president as a steward of Progressive democracy?

Q & A Session

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Kevin Portteus is an Associate Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College, where he has taught since 2008. Dr. Portteus is faculty advisor for the Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program, and teaches courses in American political thought and American political institutions.

A visiting graduate faculty member in the American History and Government program at Ashland University, Dr. Portteus formerly taught at Belmont Abbey College and Mountain View College, in Dallas. Having published online through the Washington Times, Human Events, and, his book, Executive Details: Public Administration and American Constitutionalism, is under review for publication. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Ashland University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Dallas.