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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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James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield

(p.203) 20 James A. Garfield
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This chapter concerns James A. Garfield, who served as a Radical Republican member until his election to the presidency. While in the House, Garfield exhibited an unsurprising pro-Congress bias. As president, the malleable Garfield was besieged by office seekers. He wrote in his journal, “My day is frittered away by the personal seeking of people, when it ought to be given to the great problems which concern the whole country. Four years of this kind of intellectual dissipation may cripple me for the remainder of my life.” While in office, Garfield sent somewhat conflicting signals about the president's power to control the executive branch. A major contribution of his all-too-brief administration suggests that Garfield would have ardently defended the president's authority over the executive branch and the unitary executive.

Keywords:   pro-Congress bias, James A. Garfield, Radical Republican, office seekers, president's power, executive branch, unitary executive

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