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The Unitary ExecutivePresidential Power from Washington to Bush$
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Steven G. Calabresi and Christopher S. Yoo

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300121261

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300121261.001.0001

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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

(p.165) 16 Abraham Lincoln
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

In contrast to the previous chapter, this chapter presents the story of one of America's best presidents, Abraham Lincoln, whose administration clearly represented the pinnacle of presidential power during the first century under the Constitution. The exigencies of the Civil War demanded that Lincoln wield a range of powers the likes of which the country had never before witnessed, and many of his enemies accused him of taking on dictatorial or tyrannical powers. His strong presidency is ironic because he began his political career as a Whig and, like most Whigs in the 1840s and 1850s, had been opposed to a strong Jacksonian vision of the presidency. As Lincoln biographer Phillip Shaw Paludan reports, “Lincoln's roots were in a world where warnings against unrestrained executive authority were party gospel.”

Keywords:   range of powers, Abraham Lincoln, Civil War, tyrannical powers, strong presidency, Whig, Jacksonian vision, Phillip Shaw Paludan, executive authority

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