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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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Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson

(p.253) 28 Woodrow Wilson
The Unitary Executive

Steven G. Calabresi

Christopher S. Yoo

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Woodrow Wilson, a major champion of presidential power. His doctoral thesis, which became a well-known and widely acclaimed 1885 book titled Congressional Government, remains one of the classic endorsements of parliamentary government. Wilson believed that true control of the administration lies with Congress, and that congressional policy with respect to administration is dictated by the standing committees, which are vulnerable to special interest pressures and unresponsive to the popular will. Congressional Government asserted that the constitutional commitment to the separation of powers was a “grievous mistake” and a “radical defect in our Federal system.” Under the best of circumstances, the division of authority led to deadlock; in times of duress, it led to a “paralysis in moments of emergency” that could be “fatal.”

Keywords:   doctoral thesis, Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government, parliamentary government, congressional policy, separation of powers, division of authority

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