Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Charles Tien

Subject Categories

American Politics | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


American Presidency, Executive Power, Unitary Executive, American Politics, Presidential Success.


The Unitary Executive Theory, which implies that the president should have plenary authority over executive branch functions, and is the sole arbiter of executive power, can be attributed to increasing the powers of the presidency and overall making a president more successful in his policy endeavors. I have concentrated my research to contextualize different variables for presidential success, including prior experience, bureaucratic loyalty, historical context, and, most importantly, the unitary executive. I apply these determinants to two case studies to determine which are most effective. Using the examples of Andrew Jackson and Jimmy Carter, I show how their contrasting uses of a unitary executive contributes most to their respective successful and unsuccessful presidencies. While other determinants of success for presidents can be considered, I find that a strong application of the unitary executive is the most influential for presidential success.