Executive Power

Executive Power

This unit in the No. 86 video series explores a host of questions relating to the scope of Executive Power, from the time of the Founding to modern-day debates on that question.

The lack of an Executive was a key weakness of the Articles of Confederation, but our Framers, knowing the danger of executive power as exercised by King George III, were reluctant to vest too much power in one office. What were their biggest fears?  How does the American Executive borrow and break from the power of the King of England?

We have heard of the impious doctrine in the old world, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the new, in another shape…?

-Federalist No. 45

This unit also explores the core purpose and function of the Executive, including how the power of the President fits into the separation of powers.

Play the next video in the series?

Watch Now

1 of 10: How did the Framers define Executive Power? [No. 86]

How did the Executive Branch end up with certain powers and not others? Professor Ilan Wurman relates how the founders defined executive power by contrasting it to the legislative and judicial powers. Although the Constitution creates a branch with ... How did the Executive Branch end up with certain powers and not others?

Professor Ilan Wurman relates how the founders defined executive power by contrasting it to the legislative and judicial powers. Although the Constitution creates a branch with a unitary executive, some of the historical British executive powers were given to Congress instead.

Ilan Wurman is a visiting assistant professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he teaches administrative law and constitutional law. He is the author of A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism (Cambridge 2017).

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

Subscribe to the series’ playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWwcngsYgoUVuiVj2TkrPolK5t6jD4PKa