HGov: Chapter 12 and 13 Review


The main points of chapter 12 are as follows:

  • Over time, the presidency has become a powerful office. This development owes largely to the legacy of strong presidents and to domestic and international developments that have increased the need for executive leadership.
  • The modern presidential campaign is a marathon affair in which self-selected candidates seek a strong start in the nominating contests and a well-run media campaign in the general election.
  • The president could not control the executive branch without a large number of presidential appointees—advisors, experts, and skilled managers—but the sheer number of these appointees is itself a challenge to presidential control.
  • The president’s election by national vote and position as sole chief executive make the presidency the focal point of national politics. Nevertheless, whether presidents are able to accomplish their goals depends on their personal capacity for leadership, national and international conditions, the stage of their presidency, the partisan composition of Congress, and whether the issue is foreign or domestic.

The main points of chapter 13 are these:

  • Bureaucracy is an inevitable consequence of complexity and scale. Modern government could not function without a large bureaucracy. Through authority, specialization, and rules, bureaucracy provides a means of managing thousands of tasks and employees.
  • Bureaucrats naturally take an “agency point of view,” seeking to promote their agency’s programs and power. They do this through their expert knowledge, support from clientele groups, and backing by Congress or the president.
  • Although agencies are subject to oversight by the president, Congress, and the judiciary, bureaucrats exercise considerable power in their own right.

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