The presidency of the United States holds immense power and influence, enabling presidents to shape national policy. Two key features of the presidency have historically empowered presidents to claim leadership on national policy: executive orders and the role of commander-in-chief. These features grant presidents the authority to take swift action and make critical decisions, making them significant players in shaping the nation's direction.
Executive orders are one of the most powerful tools available to presidents, allowing them to bypass Congress and directly implement policies. By issuing executive orders, presidents can enact changes on a wide range of issues, from economic reforms to social policies. This ability to act unilaterally enables presidents to take decisive action when Congress becomes gridlocked or unresponsive. For example, President John Tyler's use of executive orders during his term demonstrated how this feature allowed him to assert leadership and make significant policy changes.
The second feature empowering presidents' claim to national policy leadership is their role as commander-in-chief. This constitutional responsibility gives presidents authority over the armed forces, making them the ultimate decision-makers in matters of national security and defense. Through their role as commander-in-chief, presidents can shape foreign policy, initiate military actions, and respond to international crises. President Xi Jinping's consolidation of power in China exemplifies how this feature can be utilized to centralize authority and assert dominance over national policy.