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Slipping toward Monarchy?: The Rising Power of the Presidency

Andy Rudalevige, Ph.D., Professor of Government, Bowdoin College, specializing in the modern presidency and interbranch relations.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 4:00 p.m.   CLP
Hartness Pavilion 

Over the three decades since Richard Nixon was in the White House, the power of the executive branch has steadily increased. From warrantless wiretapping of citizens by the National Security Agency, the reappearance of executive privilege, the use of presidential signing statements, and war powers claims, the power of the presidency is expanding more and more, with scant resistance from Congress.

Freedoms secured by our system of checks and balances depend on the exertions of public servants and the citizens they serve. What power does Congress have to push back, and will it choose to exercise it? We the electorate can also serve as a check within the constitutional system, although we tend to depend on Congress and the Courts. What needs to be done, if anything, to maintain our system of checks and balances?

About Andy Rudalevige

Dr. Rudalevige is Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and past president of the Presidents and Executive Politics section of the American Political Science Association. He has also taught at Dickinson College and Harvard University and served in visiting positions at Princeton University, the University of East Anglia in England, and Sciences-Po Lyon in France.

His scholarship includes Managing the President’s Program: Presidential Leadership and Legislative Policy Formulation, which won the national Neustadt prize; The New Imperial Presidency: Renewing Presidential Power after Watergate; the co-authored textbook The Politics of the Presidency; a series of edited volumes on the contemporary presidency, most recently The Obama Legacy; and the forthcoming Executive Orders and the Executive Branch. Rudalevige writes frequently on executive power, the administrative presidency, and national politics, including as a masthead contributor to the Washington Post’s “The Monkey Cage” blog; he is the creator of “Founding Principles,” a series of videos on American government and civics available as a PBS LearningMedia resource. A graduate of the University of Chicago and Harvard University, in a former life Rudalevige was a city councilor and state senate staffer in his native Massachusetts.