Invitation to struggle
Q: In the early 20th Century, Professor Edwin Corwin referred to the U.S. Constitution as an “invitation to struggle,”** which emphasizes the built-in conflicts between the executive and legislative branches as they check-and-balance one another. In the late 19th century, Congress was the dominant institution. In the 20th century, through a Great Depression, two world wars, the Cold War and 9/11, the Presidency became considered not only the most powerful position in the country, but, indeed, the world. Congress has exercised checks and balances against the president, but overall the 12 presidents since World War II have been able to dominate the agenda to a greater extent than Congress. Think about this relationship as you study Chapters 9 and 10, then write an essay in which you make a case for one of three scenarios — (1) a balanced relationship, (2) a dominant presidency, or (3) a dominant congress. When I say “dominant,” I do not imply that one has all power and the other has none. I mean, as explained above, there is generally a tilt one way or another in which either the president or congress can be more in control of agenda setting and policy making. Which do you find preferable, in general? Why? What are the advantages anddisadvantages of your choice? What sort of situation would legitimize the exercise of presidential powers without the regard for traditional law making procedures through Congress? What type of situation or area of policy would legitimize a presidency that follows the lead of Congress?
Explain your answer clearly and in detail and offer examples to help your argument.
**Corwin’s statement was that “The Constitution is an invitation to struggle for the privilege of guiding American foreign affairs.” However, we are applying the “invitation to struggle” concept more broadly here. The Federalist Papers said “Ambition must be made to counter ambition,” but at the same time there are valid philosophies that prefer one (executive or legislative) to have a more dominant presence in the processes of decision-making.