The President

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The President & National Security Essay, Research Paper The President and National Security The President?s role in National Security has been a topic of enduring debate in U.S. politics from the Constitutional Convention to our present day situation in Kosovo. Nearly every American President has had to struggle with this issue and deal with the Constitution?s separation of power between Congress and the Executive. The President and Congress share the war-making powers, treaty-making and foreign policy powers, and among many others, the power to place desired officials into certain offices. These powers, though disliked by many, are shared so as to protect the people of this nation with our grass roots system of checks and balances. Most critics of shared powers focus on

the areas of war-making and foreign policy. This conflict can be traced all the way back to the struggle between Hamilton and Madison. After what was said to be a series of failed Presidencies (Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter), one group of ?modern Hamiltonians? wanted to ?increase the power of the President explicitly.? They hope to reach their goals legitimately through legislation and constitutional amendments. Another group of Hamiltonians emerged informally after the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and the ?Irangate? controversy. Group members asserted that, ?The President and the President alone, should exercise exclusive authority in at least four vital areas: the power to go to war; the power to both initiate and carry out foreign policy; the power to appoint officials to

the highest posts in the country with only the pro forma advice and consent of the Senate.? (#6, p.57) They also wanted the Congress to only be able to make minor modifications to the President?s domestic budget policy. Other advocates of these positions are seeking a more unitary state similar to those of modern parliamentary democracies like Great Britain. Many are envious of the British Prime Minister?s ability to go to war without a declaration or a vote of Parliament. I believe that these critics are forgetting the ardent points our forefathers made when writing the constitution. The last thing they wanted was the President of the United States to have the same unitary powers as the King or Prime Minister. That is why they intricately built the system of checks and balances,

to protect us against a branch of government with too much power. I have chosen a few integral pieces of American history to illustrate how Presidents have responded in the past to situations involving national security and how they dealt with, or circumvented Congress on the issue. President George Washington set the precedent of Presidential response to domestic national security issues in the ?Whiskey Rebellion? in 1795. Western Pennsylvanians refused to pay taxes on whiskey and decided to revolt. Washington desired not the bloodshed of his own countrymen, but a peaceful conclusion to this uprising. Not only did Washington form an army, he led the army himself, to make peace and calm his people down. It was at this page in history that President Washington established the

precedent to form troops to bring domestic peace. Sixty-six years later, President Abraham Lincoln was faced with a much graver problem. States began to secede from the Union, the South attacked Fort Sumter, and Lincoln had to fight back for the sake of national security and essentially run the war alone, also suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus. Lincoln?s enumerated powers during this war have been reveled and attempted by many recent Presidents, however people must realize the context of his situation and how it?s gravity is incomparable with any situation since then. In the 1930?s there was a visible growth in the office of the Presidency. In Franklin D. Roosevelt?s first inaugural address in 1932, he asked for wartime powers to meet a peacetime crisis: I shall ask the