The new level of governmental activism was started by Roosevelt's election in 1932.
For the first time, the national government took responsibility for the economic well-being of its citizens.
Roosevelt used the theory that foreign affairs justify greater presidential power than domestic affairs to justify his war against the Depression.
The New Deal programs he put in place increased the size of the federal establishment.
During Roosevelt's first two terms, the number of civilians working for the federal government increased by over 50 percent.
Roosevelt's leadership created new responsibilities and opportunities for the federal government because of the crisis of the Great Depression.
Roosevelt was given a lot of discretionary power by Congress to implement his New Deal programs.
The New Deal's legacy is that Americans look to their president and their government to regulate their economy, solve their social problems, and provide political inspiration.
Roosevelt's New Deal was followed by Truman's Fair Deal.
Kennedy's New Frontier and Johnson's Great Society followed the less activist presidency of Eisenhower.
The comprehensive policy programs did less than they promised, but they reinforced Americans' belief that the president's job is to make ambitious promises.
Few efforts to cut back the size of government were successful.
Not even President Reagan, who was more conservative and hostile to big government, was able to reduce the size of the government.
The power of the modern president is not solely due to the growth of domestic government.
The challenges of the Great Depression and World War II resulted in a greatly increased role for the national government in American lives, the economy, and the world.
The nature of the office has changed because of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal policies and his use of radio to speak to the public.
Politics became more important to the lives of Americans as the president became the central figure.
As the U.S. role in world politics expanded after World War II, these decisions became more significant.
The office of the imperial presidency was made powerful by the rise of the United States as a world power, its engagement in the Cold War, and its involvement in wars such as Korea and Vietnam.
After he was forced to resign, Richard Nixon summed up the philosophy behind the imperial presidency, "When the president does it, that means it's not illegal."
The political reaction to the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal made it harder for the modern president to act.
In the era of the modern presidency, Congress, the media, and the courts check the president in ways they have not done before.
The Johnson and Nixon administrations were not forthcoming over the Vietnam War.
Frustration with that, as well as with Nixon's abuse of his powers during Watergate and his unwillingness to spend appropriated money as Congress had appropriated it, led Congress to develop its own mechanisms for getting information about public policy to use as a check on presidential power.
The discovery of the Watergate scandal led to the Washington press corps abandoning their discretion to not report on Franklin Roosevelt's inability to walk or John F. Kennedy's extramarital affairs.
The reporters were more aggressive in their coverage of the White House.
The Supreme Court limited the power of the presidency when it ruled in 1997 that a sitting president does not have immunity from civil lawsuits while in office.
Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky would not have come to light if the Court hadn't made that decision.
Post-Watergate developments weakened the presidency.
The luster and power of the office were restored by Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, when they came to power.
Cheney was a young staffer in the Nixon White House and chief of staff to Gerald Ford before going to Congress.
He felt that the changes in the executive had gone too far.
Many of Bush's early executive orders were intended to bolster his powers, as were claims of executive privilege made by his administration.
Bush expanded the use of signing statements.
If the bill had enough support, Congress could override the president's veto.
Bush did not veto a single bill during his five years in office.
In his four years in the White House, his father issued 232 signing statements, compared to only 140 by Bill Clinton.
The Bush administration believes that the Constitution requires that all executive power be held only by the president and, therefore, that it cannot be delegated to or wielded by any other.
Bush had the right to ignore, among other things, an antitorture law, a law forbidding him to order troops into combat in Colombia, and a law requiring him to inform Congress if he wanted to divert funds from congressionally authorized programs to start up secret operations.
The 9/11 attacks gave Bush and Cheney a strong and persuasive reason to create a more muscular presidency.
Congress was unwilling to take him on because of Bush's high approval ratings.
The Republicans in Congress were supportive of the administration's efforts, and the Democrats feared being seen as soft on terrorism, so they went along with Bush's plans.
In this chapter, we argue that high approval ratings can give a president more power than is granted by the Constitution.
After Bush's reelection in 2004, he was seen as vulnerable enough for Congress to criticize him seriously.
After six years without congressional oversight, Democrats regained control of both the House and the Senate in 2006 because of his low approval.
Basic lessons of this chapter are reflected in the fate of the Bush administration.
The Constitution doesn't give presidents enough power to meet their promises because they don't have enough power to match expectations of domestic and world leadership.
Bush chose to stick with his ideological agenda and his slim but cooperative majorities in Congress, and to use the levers available to act unilaterally: signing statements, executive orders, claims of executive privilege, and politicizing of the bureaucracy to achieve policy compliance, especially in regard to the Department of Justice.
With his popularity falling and his party's losses in Congress, he lost his power and was a "lame duck" in the final months of his presidency.
The Bush-Cheney administration was able to take on a more active role in governing and increased the power of the office through the use of presidential signingstatements, executive orders, and claims of executive privilege.