In this sweepingly ambitious volume, the nation's foremost experts on the American presidency and the US Constitution join together to tell the intertwined stories of how each American president has confronted and shaped the Constitution. Each occupant of the office - the first president to the 44th - has contributed to the story of the Constitution through the decisions he made and the actions he took as the nation's chief executive.
By examining presidential history through the lens of constitutional conflicts and challenges, The Presidents and the Constitution offers a fresh perspective on how the Constitution has evolved in the hands of individual presidents. It delves into key moments in American history, from Washington's early battles with Congress to the advent of the national security presidency under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, to reveal the dramatic historical forces that drove these presidents to action. Historians and legal experts, including Richard Ellis, Gary Hart, Stanley Kutler, and Kenneth Starr, bring the Constitution to life, and show how the awesome powers of the American presidency have been shaped by the men who were granted them. The book brings to the fore the overarching constitutional themes that span this country's history, and ties together presidencies in a way never before accomplished.
Exhaustively researched and compellingly presented, The Presidents and the Constitution shines new light on America's brilliant constitutional and presidential history.
©2016 New York University (P)2016 Audible, Inc.
very good explanation of how the presidency and the Constitution helped shape each other into what we see today. parts were a little dry but it kept me interested most of the time.
Dividing the number of presidents by the length of this book, the format is easily seen. Various fine scholars tell us the main story points, with an eye to the Constitution, without getting bogged down. The narrator has a sober, decent sort of voice.
Thinking of all my acquaintances who swear fealty to the Constitution as written, this book bracingly opens with a reminder that the Constitution is quite sketchy in its job descriptions for the president, with gaps aplenty. This, as with much of our government generally, has left individuals, in the cauldron of pressing exigencies of events, to improvise and model what the president's job and legal parameters are (of course, as interacting with the other governmental branches). I like the focus here, and the delivery, with its brevity, allowing me to survey this area front-to-back. This is especially helpful in a heated year of raucous political contests.
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