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The Evolution of the Executive During the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

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The scope of the American Presidency and the office's powers can change from one Chief Executive to the next. The Chief Executive is the Head of State, has Executive Powers and Privileges, is the Chief Negotiator in Treaties, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and leader of his political party. This paper considers European and U.S. influences on the creation of the Executive Branch of the United States government, particularly the contributions of John Locke, Montesquieu, and Sir William Blackstone. The paper discusses the political ideas of these European thinkers, and of the U.S. thinkers John Adams and Thomas Paine, and how they influenced the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It describes the executive proposals at the convention. On one side were those who favored an executive who would primarily be an agent of the legislature (their executive would be weak and composed of a group of officials acting as the legislature directed), while an opposite group saw the Chief Executive as a single person, chosen by some method other than by the legislature, with stronger powers vested in the office by the constitution. It notes that this second view would ensure separation of powers and place beyond the whims and dictates of legislative interferences. The paper explains that, as a result of deliberations, it was decided that a single executive acting energetically for the demands of the nation using forthright decisions, quickness of actions and secrecy, guarding the national interest, would be best. Includes 46 notes. (BT)

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Author:De Villier, Paul Wayne
Publication:ERIC: Reports
Date:Dec 22, 2002
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