A Paper Comparing American and French Presidents

Document details
Category: Government and Political Science Essay
Subcategory: American Government and Politics
Words: 1907
Pages: 3

There are many approaches to studying the presidency of a country, ranging from concern with constitutional authority of the office to dealing with the personality dynamics of a particular president. This paper will deal with the comparison between the American president to the French president. We will look into the similiarities and differences between these two offices by investigating legal, institutional, and the presidential power that each of these powerful positions hold and how the public perceives them. This will inevitably show that the American President has far greater power and aurthority over his state than the French president. The American presidency combines the role of chief of government and chief of the state. As chief of the government, the president is called on to act in the manner of the British prime minister, as a partisan political leader. As chief of state, the president is the equivalent of the British monarch the ceremonial leader of the nation and the living symbol of its unity. Because the presidency embodies both roles, the general public tends to evaluate it by standards that seem contradictory. Americans want the president to be gentle and decent but forceful and decisive, open and caring but courageous and independent, a common man who gives an uncommon performance, and a national unifier and national divider. The American public's expectations of presidential policy making also seem to be very contradictory. On one hand, they expect the president to reduce unemployment, cut the cost of government spending, increase government effieciency, deal effectively with foreign policy, and strengthen national defense. According to Watson , in a survey taken shortly after Carter's election in 1976, 59 to 81 percent of the respondents, depending on the policy in question, said they expected the accomplishments promised by Carter during his presidential campaign. Watson also noted that comparable figures following Reagan's 1980 election ranged from 69 to 89 percent and similiarly high expectations arose after Bush was elected in...

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