Political Theory

Liberty, the Constitution, and Executive Power


This colloquium, using works of legal theory and historical case studies, explored the growth in the power of the executive branch of the federal government.


From Liberty Fund

The Pacificus-Helvidius Debates of 1793–1794

by By Alexander Hamilton (Pacificus) and James Madison (Helvidius)
Edited and with an Introduction by Morton J. Frisch

The Pacificus-Helvidius Debates of 1793–1794 matched Hamilton and Madison in the first chapter of an enduring discussion about the proper roles of executive and legislative branches in the conduct of American foreign policy. Ignited by President Washington’s Neutrality Proclamation of 1793, which annulled the eleventh article of America’s treaty with…

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Additional Readings

“Anti-Federalist Papers.” G. William Rice, University of Tulsa, College of Law. http://www.utulsa.edu/law/classes/rice/Constitutional/AntiFederalist/antifed.htm (July 20, 2011).

Buckley, F. H. The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America. New York: Encounter Books, 2014.

Crenson, Matthew and Benjamin Ginsberg. Presidential Power: Unchecked and Unbalanced. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007.

Eland, Ivan. Recarving Rushmore: Ranking the Presidents on Peace, Prosperity, and Liberty. Oakland: Independent Institute, 2009.

Hamilton, Alexander, John Jay, and James Madison. The Federalist. Edited by George W. Carey and James McClellan. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2001.

Healy, Gene. The Cult of the Presidency: America’s Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power. Washington, DC: Cato, 2008.

Higgs, Robert. Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Raico, Ralph. Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2010.

Savage, Charlie. Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy. New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2007.

Schaffer, Ronald. America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State. London: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Imperial Presidency. Boston: Mariner Books, 2004.

Supreme Court of the United States. “Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company v. Sawyer.” Cornell University College of Law. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0343_0579_ZO.html (July 20, 2011).

Yoo, John. “The President's Constitutional Authority to Conduct Military Operations against Terrorists and Nations Supporting Them.” United States Department of Justice. http://www.justice.gov/olc/warpowers925.htm (July 20, 2011).