Origins of the Presidency and Official Duties


What were the key debates surrounding the presidency?

Three issues dominated the framers’ discussion of the role the executive would play in the new government. First, the delegates discussed whether the executive should be a single individual or three individuals sharing the office. Second, they debated at length about the amount of power the executive should hold, including whether the chief executive should have the power to veto legislation and whether or not he should command the armed forces. Third, delegates debated the length of the executive’s term (three-, six-, and seven-year terms were all considered) and discussed whether he should be eligible for reelection. In addition, they debated the best means by which to elect the executive—by state legislatures, both houses of Congress, by the Senate alone, by the governors, or by citizens.


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