Opposition to the Theory of Presidential Representation: Federalists, Whigs, and Republicans


  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author would like to thank the participants of the Houston political theory workshop for their comments as well as the editors for their guidance and good judgment. Sarah Mallams provided valuable research assistance.


This article considers the theory of presidential representation by examining its development from 1800 to 1864. In particular, it returns to the critics of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln and presents new evidence that the concept of presidential representation not only remained contested throughout this period but also grew more entangled with rival claims of representation and alternative arguments for executive power. By exploring the early development of the theory of presidential representation, the article contributes to the ongoing scholarly task of classifying arguments about the foundations of executive power and attempts to link literatures regarding the constitutional and political sources of presidential power.