Has the U.S. Presidency effectively become an "absolute monarch" in the modern era as the Presidential powers have expanded far beyond the scope envisioned by the Constitution's framers?

In this two-part talk law professor and author David N. Mayer shows how far we have departed from the Founders’ vision of a constitutionally-limited presidency, perhaps realizing during the 20th century Thomas Jefferson's fear that the Chief Executive would become essentially an “elective monarch,” with unbounded powers.

In Part 1 David surveys the early history of the Presidency and what the framers of the Constitution designed the office to be. He also looks at how the early presidents (through most of the 19th century) actually excercised their power. Using Thomas Jefferson’s presidency as a model, Part one also discusses the key limits the Constitution places on presidential powers – or, as Jefferson understood it, how the president is “bound by the chains of the Constitution.” (Watch Part 2 here.)

> Watch Part 2 of "Restoring the Consitutitional Presidency"

David N. Mayer is Professor of Law and History at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where he teaches courses in English and American legal and constitutional history, among other subjects. Professor Mayer is the author of the books The Constitutional Thought of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1994, paperback 1995) and Liberty of Contract: Discovering a Lost Constitutional Right. (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 2011), as well as several articles in law, history and political science journals. He is currently writing a book on the U.S. Constitution, titled Freedom’s Constitution: A Contextual Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States. Click here to read David's article on "Completing the American Revolution."


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