Presidential Power: Crash Course Government and Politics #11

Presidential Power: Crash Course Government and Politics #11



This episode of Crash Course is brought to you by SquareSpace. Hi. I'm Craig and this is Crash Course: Government and Politics. And today, we're gonna talk about the most powerful person in the U.S. No, not Chris Hemsworth, although he is powerful, in a physical sense. We're talking about the President of the United States, who right now is Barack Obama But that's the last we'll mention of him specifically. Instead, we'll examine the office of the Presidency and what makes whoever holds the office so powerful. We're also gonna talk about what makes him (and so far the President has always been a him) less powerful than you might think. [Theme Music] So you might have noticed a bit of a trend in these episodes that we like to start with what the Constitution says about the branches of Government. That's not just because it's what appears on tests or what strict constructionist Justice Scalia would want us to do. We start with the Constitution because it gives us a
formal description of the branch, in this case the executive, upon which we can build. Right Clone: What do you mean upon which we
can build? That's nonsense. The Constitution is a limited document. It lays the framework
and the rules and that's all. All this extra stuff is an unconstitutional power grab.
Center Craig: Oh, Clone from the Right, I was wondering what happened to you clones.
That's a good point you make… Left Clone: But really the world is a more
complicated than it was in 1787, and we need to have a more flexible government. The Constitution
provides a framework for understanding it, but it needs to change with the times. Besides,
if the President becomes more powerful than what's suggested in the Constitution, whose
fault is that? Congress! That's who! Center Craig: Okay clones, we get the picture.
There's a debate about the role of the Constitution in setting up the government and we’re not
gonna solve it today. For now, we’re gonna start with the Constitution and what it says
about the President. Left Clone: You win this round, Clone from
the Right. Center Craig: All right, let's try to keep
those convos in the clone zone going forward? Thank you. Anyway, as with Congress, the Constitution
lays out certain qualifications for the presidency. If you want to be President of the US, and I know
you do, you must be 35 years old, which in the 1780s was actually pretty old. You were expected to
have moved out of your parents’ house by that point… And you must be a citizen of the US who
was born in the United States, or one of its territories. The President is not elected directly by the
American people. Yeah, your mind is blown. In the Constitution, as originally written, only
members of the House of Representatives were directly elected by qualified citizens. The President is actually chosen by the Electoral
College, which is complicated and frustrating for many Americans, and we’re not gonna
go into it now, except to say that the reason it exists is because the Framers didn’t
trust the popular vote all that much, so they built in the Electoral College as a safeguard
against the people electing scary demigods or the person.. they wanted… elected. Some people say this is not particularly democratic,
mostly because it's not particularly democratic. So democratically elected or not, the President
is pretty powerful, but he has different categories of powesr. What are they? First, he has military powers to send soldiers
and planes and ships to do military things. He also has judicial powers, in that he appoints
federal judges and Supreme Court judges, subject to Senate approval, of course. He’s the nation’s chief diplomat, which
is the source of his foreign policy power. The president can also propose laws, although
he has to get a Congressmen or Senator to actually introduce them into Congress. This
is a legislative power. And since he’s the chief executive, he also has
executive power, which means he's supposed to to ensure that the laws are carried out. This
is his most far reaching power, probably because it’s the least well defined. Executive power is a pretty
big deal, so we’re gonna give that its own episode. Another way to describe the president’s
powers is as either formal or informal. Formal powers are the ones we can find in the Constitution
itself, mainly in Article 2. The informal powers come either from Congress or the President
himself, but for now, let’s look at the formal powers, which like those given to Congress, are also knwon
as expressed powers. Let go to the Thought Bubble. Unfortunately, presidents don’t derive their
powers from the sun, like Superman. Or from exposure to radiation like the Fantastic Four
or the Hulk. The powers come from the constitution, which again, unfortunately doesn’t have
any super natural or mystical power, although some people like to think it does. The first power given to the President in
the Constitution is that he is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, which at the time was
just the Army and Navy, since there were no airplanes. There's a reason that this should be the first
power. If there's one thing that almost everyone can agree on, it's that the first job of government
is to keep the citizens safe, especially from foreign invasion. The US has had a lot of
generals become president: Washington, Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Taylor, Grant, Eisenhower,
and many others have served in the military, but only one president has led the US troops
in the field while he was President, and that was George Washington. The Whiskey Rebellion.
That's something worth fighting over. The President has diplomatic powers, although
he doesn't actually do most of the diplomacy. The President has the power to make treaties,
which are mostly written by the State Department officials, but he takes credit. He appoints
ambassadors and those State Department officials I just mentioned. His most visible foreign
policy power is to receive ambassadors, which not only makes for great photo opportunities
– selfie!- but also is a significant power because receiving an ambassador effectively
means recognition of that ambassador's country's existence. So the President can actually legitimize
a nation-state. Maybe he does have superpowers. The Constitution requires that the President
from time to time inform Congress of the state of the Union. This takes the form of an annual
State of the Union address. Historically, presidents did this in writing, although George
Washington made a formal address. We have Woodrow Wilson to thank for reviving the practice
of making the State of the Union an actual speech, which now appears on television early
each year. This may not seem like much of a power, but the State of the Union is a chance
for the President to set a policy agenda for the next year, and it can put some pressure on
Congress to make policy. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So the President has a couple of other powers
we've already talked about. The President has a form of legislative power to veto laws
passed by Congress. He also has the power to convene Congress into special sessions.
The President also has judicial powers. He can appoint judges, but only with the consent
of the Senate. He does have the power to grant pardons and reprieves, which doesn't sound
like a big deal, unless you're in jail or threatened by criminal prosecution, in which
case it's a very big deal. So there you have it. Those are the formal
constitutional powers of the President of the United States. You may have noticed that
there aren't all that many of them. Which is kind of the point. The framers of the Constitution
wanted a limited government. One that couldn't oppress the people. They were especially afraid
of a strong executive, like a king, in charge of a standing army, so they deliberately tried
to curtail his powers by not giving him very many. But as we'll see in the next few episodes,
over the course of the last 240 years or so, the powers of the President have expanded
far beyond what framers probably envisioned. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week. Mmm. I can feel my powers expanding.
Is this radioactive coffee? Crash Course Government and Politics is produced
in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from
Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn
more about their mission and initiatives at voqal.org. Crash Course was with the help of all these
superheroes. Thanks for watching.

47 thoughts on “Presidential Power: Crash Course Government and Politics #11

  1. Wonder how would this section go if it were filmed today, with Trump as president… For my upcoming exam I have to consider him >.<

  2. "But only one president has led the U.S. troops in the field while he was president and that was George Washington." Not true.

  3. WHO SHOULD VOTE (?) DEMOCRACY
    As we look at our past and all of the freedom lost. Why and how was it so easy. I would like to believe our father's fathers wanted the best for us future generations!! ((Mother's​ mothers, Their's Their ,)) We all have the right to vote ?? What percentage of the voting population should Vote??As we look at
    When a majority of the population (poor, middle class) are not willing, uninformed, misinformed have not a clue who or what they are actually voting for!!!
    Did you see them on TV or hear them on the radio??? WHO PAID FOR THE ADD AND WHY??
    Did they offer a hot dog and a lemonade for your vote?? Was it Shade of Skin, Gender, Free Phone, Jobs or maybe Healthcare???
    Should people vote for me just because I am a Christian??
    How many PROMISES HAVE BEEN KEPT??
    Do Politicians Seek Informed voters?? Of course not!! Do you really know who or what you are voting for??
    They can make you think you are Free!! When you are bond with the heaviest chains that will bind you through generations!!
    But you got the free phone!!!
    Add a comment../or/ Just don't care?

  4. I actually love that these episodes start from the Constitutional law and spin outward, because that's how the whole system (is supposed to) work(s) 🙂

  5. The point of the electoral college is to retain states rights and so that highly populated states don’t get what they want over less populated states. Yes mob rule is terrible… I’m sorry you Democrats don’t like the sovereignty of states and for some reason and you care so damn much wood South Carolina does with their healthcare is like with their gun rights or like what speech laws they have what drugs they canning can’t use. California and New York passed your own walls leave Alabama and Georgia Texas alone it’s that simple…

  6. Dude don’t give your opinion on the electoral college. It’s terrible to use your authority to just imply that it’s a bad unfair system instead of actually clarifying what the intent is, and hen letting people decide for them self. That is biased and that is bad.

  7. A special council instead of using the d.a. is unconstitutional..giving Congress power that can kill a presidents power with a time limit that 22nd adm. can be used against the president..

  8. "military things". Wow, I'm not eligible for military service, but people should learn more about the military.

  9. Loved this, so much.
    Please tell me your opinion. With Trump saying he wants the wall for National Security, and as he has now shut down the American government, can't he use presidential powers, to build the wall WITHOUT Congress approval?
    I believe so, and this government shut down has much more far reaching reasons and consequences, how about you?

  10. From this day forward after Trump absolutely no more billionaire nor multi billionaires will be allowed to even run for President Senate Congress to hold positions in cabinet ever again. The suffering caused to the world by all former Presidents living and dead will ensure that no man or woman described even enter, this energy will also be used to stop Biden, any of the Obamas or any antichrist NWO Vatican puppet from ever running again

  11. Electrical college is for each state to have a fair share of the power to vote for a president. Did this guy even go to college or study government

  12. An update is needed. A Natural Born citizen does not have to be born in the US or it's territories. In addition to being born in the US or it's territories a Natural Born citizen is anyone born to a parent that is already a US citizen. So in regards to President Obama it doesn't matter where he was born since there's never been a question his mother was a US citizen.

  13. Why is your first video called "Presidential Power:" but your second video is called "Presidential Powers 2:" (note the absence and then presence of the letter s on the word "power")

  14. Why doesn’t this video have YouTube’s new warning about government supported government? PBS is partially funded by the government and this show is funded by PBS.

  15. I think we took a historical erring as a country when we fused the executive branches office of President, and vice president. They used to be of separate statures running on their own merits and yes the outcome was at many times to have a truly split ticket. Right now there is no incentive for that. In our present time there has been two recent presidents and how have won by the smallest margin George the Dubbya 43 Bush and Donald is our nightmare over yet Trump they have won by slivers but yet in Machiavellin poetry come to o please god make it stop politics. They have been the most destructive presidents EVER. Now why did we stop the practice of split ticket executive seats, well political parties are at worst big business and both sides have long ago through Rube Goldberg like measure scratch the other ones back yet keep the other at bay, sort of like X Files the coming alien invasion and the old farts meeting gathering around a room. I hope Alex Jones does not read too much into this, but then again there it goes. Yes people of ordinary scheme to enact there own plans, but if your going to have power, over people you need their consent and that means transparency. And yes we may hesitate but even the Moe, Larry, and Curly crowd have their say, if it only test the resolve of the stalwart among us.

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