The Presidents and the Constitution: A Living History
Those advocates for “originalism,” in interpreting the Constitution, overlook the fact that it is a living document that changes with the times. This book is very important for this time, as we struggle to define prerequisites for holding the office of the presidency of the United States. The presidency is created in Article II of the Constitution. It was felt necessary to create a chief executive after the failure of the Articles of Confederation. It was clear to the founders that one person must be the chief decider.
This book is a collection of essays by presidential scholars about how each of the forty-four presidents have interpreted, expanded and also limited the office. It is fascinating to read about the restraint shown by thirty-one of the presidents, who willingly limited themselves to two terms, the precedent set by George Washington until Franklin Roosevelt, and the twenty-second amendment in 1947, limiting the presidency to two terms. Roosevelt, himself, with the world engulfed by fascism, lead the country during World War II, coming out of the Great Depression. The presidency is truly an amazing and evolving institution, and this book is fascinating reading.