AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author would like to thank Erik Engstrom, Walt Stone, and Ethan Scheiner for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this article.
The Historical Presidency: Looking before Watergate: Foundations in the Development of the Constitutional Challenges within Signing Statements, FDR–Nixon
Article first published online: 13 APR 2012
© 2012 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 390–405, June 2012
How to Cite
EVANS, K. A. (2012), The Historical Presidency: Looking before Watergate: Foundations in the Development of the Constitutional Challenges within Signing Statements, FDR–Nixon. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 42: 390–405. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2012.03972.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2012
How did the signing statements of the modern presidency before Watergate shape the development of the tool and contribute to its institutionalization? A content analysis of the 626 signing statements from 1933 to 1974 shows that the Eisenhower, Johnson, and Nixon administrations set important precedents for the modern constitutional use of the tool by protecting the institution from legislative vetoes and perceived encroachments in regard to foreign affairs and executive privilege. The results reveal that the constitutional logic required for the growth of challenges is rooted in this era and that Watergate served to amplify a trend that was already in motion.