This book portrays a powerful but constrained presidency. American presidents have defined the content of many of their own constitutional powers, within limits set by Congress, the people, and sometimes the courts. Presidents have set precedents that affect the behavior of their successors, and have altered existing precedents by their actions. Presidents have treated the executive branch as partly unitary, at least at its core. They have determined what secrets the government keeps, within limits set by Congress. Presidents have become participants in legislation due to the power of their veto. In foreign policy and war, they exercise broad powers of initiative, subject to later congressional control. They have protected national security at substantial cost to civil liberties. They have defined their own duty of faithful execution. Overall, the presidency as it has evolved adequately protects the nation and the rule of law.
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