Congress and the American Tradition

Congress and the American Tradition Most Americans would probably be surprised to hear that in James Burnham a leading political thinker questioned whether Congress would survive and whether the Executive Branch of the American

  • Title: Congress and the American Tradition
  • Author: James Burnham
  • ISBN: 9780765809971
  • Page: 102
  • Format: Paperback
  • Most Americans would probably be surprised to hear that, in 1959, James Burnham, a leading political thinker questioned whether Congress would survive, and whether the Executive Branch of the American government would become a dictatorship In the last decade, members of Congress have impeached a president, rejected or refused to consider presidential nominees, and appearMost Americans would probably be surprised to hear that, in 1959, James Burnham, a leading political thinker questioned whether Congress would survive, and whether the Executive Branch of the American government would become a dictatorship In the last decade, members of Congress have impeached a president, rejected or refused to consider presidential nominees, and appear in the media criticizing the chief executive Congress does not exactly appear to be at risk of expiring Regardless of how we perceive Congress today, than forty years after Congress and the American Tradition was written, Burnham s questions, arguments, and political analysis still have much to tell us about freedom and political order.Burnham originally intended Congress and the American Tradition as a response to liberal critics of Senator McCarthy s investigations of communist influence in the United States He developed it into a detailed analysis of the history and functioning of Congress, its changing relationship with the Executive Branch, and the danger of despotism, even in a democratic society.The book is organized into three distinct parts The American System of Government, analyzes the concept of government, ideology and tradition, power, and the place and function of Congress within the American government The Present Position of Congress, explores its law making power, Congressional commissions, treaties, investigatory power, and proposals for Congressional reform The Future of Congress, discusses democracy and liberty, and ultimately asks, Can Congress Survive Michael Henry s new introduction sheds much insight into Burnham s writings and worldview, combining biography and penetrating scholarly analysis He makes it clear why this work is of continuing importance to political theoreticians, historians, philosophers, and those interested in American government.James Burnham 1905 1987 began his career as a professor of philosophy at New York University He co founded, with William F Buckley, Jr The National Review His books include The Managerial Revolution, The Machiavellians Defenders of Freedom, and Suicide of the West.Michael Henry received his advanced degree in political theory He has been teaching philosophy at St John s University in New York since 1977.

    One thought on “Congress and the American Tradition”

    1. I read this book while still in high school in 1962. It left a deep impact on me to this day. It outlines in the history of Supreme Court decisions the steady transfer of congressional power to the executive branch of government long ago frustrating the checks and balances designed into the Constitution by the Founders. Today the balance of power is so lopsided in favor of the executive branch that the separation of powers is no longer able to maintain that balance and we are nearing the end of [...]

    2. Burnham makes a great historical argument that the legislature and not the executive is the key to liberty and constitutional government. At the time this book was written congress was being weakened by an increasingly powerful executive. The last few decades congress seems to be getting some of its power back, but definitely not the norm that was seen before the 1930s. All in all a great read that helped me to think more about the roles of the various branhes of government, especially in light [...]

    3. "A very good critique of executive power, defense of legislative government, and explanation of the difference between mass-based politics and an ordered constitutional system."- Daniel McCarthy

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