I was born for a storm, and a calm does not suit me.
Ask anyone today "Who runs the United States government?" and they will most likely say the president, but that is not the role the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the Constitution.
The Founders expected the Legislative branch to lead the political process, and gave the president specific powers-to command the military, grant reprieves and pardons, sign or veto bills, and with the advice and consent of the Senate, make treaties and other appointments. And that's it.
From 1789 to 1828, the United States government and its presidents functioned, for the most part, the way the Founders intended. A change began with the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.
He was the first president to think of himself as the head of a democracy and claimed that he was the one to best represent the will of the people since-after all-only he had been elected by all of the people.
During his two terms in the Oval Office, many of Jackson's actions as president would become common practice for future presidents. Yet even today the argument over presidential powers and the role of the executive branch flares whenever a president claims a new power or privilege. The nation may be over 230 years old, but the fear of an imperial presidency remains.
Click on the links below to learn about some tools of the presidential trade.