|Bulletin n. 1/2017
|Does the Presidency Moderate the President?
|in Presidential Studies Quarterly , Volume 47, Issue 1 , 2017 , 5–26
|A claim so often made about the presidency that it approaches conventional wisdom is that the president sees, and therefore decides, issues differently than members of Congress do. This thesis emerged in the late 1700s in debates over ratification and has been consistently asserted by legal scholars, political scientists, and, most passionately, by U.S. presidents. I test this thesis by examining the legislative behavior of 23 men who have represented both a narrow constituency in Congress and the entire country as president. My results indicate that the presidency effectively moderated the legislative behavior of legislators who became president for roughly one and a half centuries; however, the modern presidency not only fails to moderate presidents, the presidency now appears to amplify the partisan bent of those who occupy the office.