The Imperial Presidency

Lawrence Cappello at Federal Hall

Mon, Feb 24 at 7:30 p.m.   |   75 minutes   |   This Olios is free and only open to members. RSVP by emailing [email protected]   |  Please enter the venue at 15 Pine Street
Original Olio: A stand-alone class on a miscellaneous topic with time to drink and chat.

This special and distinctly non-partisan President’s Day Olio will explore the history of what Arthur Schlesinger called the “Imperial Presidency,” and trace the dangerous expansion of the executive branch under both political parties from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Donald J. Trump.

When President Trump took the oath of office, he inherited an executive branch far more powerful than the one Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson inherited hundreds of years earlier. In the eyes of many constitutional scholars the power of the modern Presidency has grown well beyond what the Framers originally intended, and the tipping point occurred well before the 2016 election. We’re taught in school that the American system of government has three co-equal branches. The truth of it is that the powers of the individual branches are constantly expanding and contracting over time -- usually at the expense of one another. For most of our history, it has been Congress, the “People’s Branch,” steering the ship of state. But in the 1930s the power of the Presidency began to expand. And with few exceptions, it never stopped expanding. We’ve now reached a point where any conversation about the modern Presidency must consider whether the office has been operating beyond its constitutional limits for decades. This special and distinctly non-partisan President’s Day Olio will explore the history of what Arthur Schlesinger called the “Imperial Presidency,” and trace the dangerous expansion of the executive branch under both political parties from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Donald J. Trump. **This Olio is free and open to the public but please rsvp so we can keep a guestlist.**
Teacher: Lawrence Cappello

Lawrence Cappello is a Professor of Constitutional History at the University of Alabama and the author of None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age. His essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and The Nation. He was recently profiled by The Economist.


Venue: Federal Hall

26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005

Federal Hall is where George Washington took the oath of office as the USA's first President, and the site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. The current structure, a Customs House, later served as part of the US Sub-Treasury. Now, the building serves as a museum and memorial to our first President and the beginnings of the United States of America

Details:

Please enter the venue at 15 Pine Street

What is Think Olio?


Think Olio is here to put the liberation back into the liberal arts.

Classically, the liberal arts, were the education considered essential for a free person to take an active part in civic life. To counter a humanities that has been institutionalized and dehumanized we infuse critical thinking, openness, playfulness, and compassion into our learning experience.

Read more about our mission, our story, and how we are doing this.

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If Friday night lectures, museum field trips, and living room salons sound like your kind of thing, then you've found your people. We can't wait to welcome you to the Think Olio Scenius. More info


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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.