Origins of the Presidency and Official Duties


How did the topic of the presidency arise, and what was the response?

When Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson suggested that the executive office should be held by one person, a lengthy silence followed. The delegates each had their own conceptions of executive power, and they were leery of granting too much control to a powerful executive who could usurp legislative authority and engage in tyrannical actions. The framers eventually decided upon a single executive, primarily because they felt conflicts would be more easily avoided if there were only one person in the nation’s highest office. Also, they believed that Congress could more carefully watch and check a single executive.


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