Political Theory

The Expansion of Executive Power and Liberty


This conference examined the growth of executive power in American history. Both the causes and results of this growth were investigated.


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).

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.

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

Skowronek, Stephen. Presidential Leadership in Political Time: Reprise and Reappraisal. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2008.

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).

Wilson, Woodrow. Constitutional Government in the United States. New York: Columbia University Press, 1908.

Woods, Thomas Jr., and Kevin C. Gutzman. Who Killed the Constitution? The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2009.

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).