The United States Constitution was the revolutionary miracle of modern government when introduced
in the late 18th century. It fashioned numerous democratic innovations related to popular
representation, governmental empowerment, and governmental accountability--not to mention
federalism and the protection of human rights.
Staggered executive and legislative elections and electoral terms of varying lengths ensured an
appropriate level of democratic participation, while guarding the nation against extreme shifts in
the mood of the people. With a third of the Senate selected at each election of the House of
Representatives, and the President chosen every other election, extreme popular movements tend not
to translate directly into extreme political power. The two-year terms in the House let the voice
of the people translate regularly into political power. The resulting political stability has
engendered unparalleled economic development, and helped drive us to world leadership.
Empowering the executive and legislatures separately has aided military success. In wartime,
Presidents have claimed executive privilege and prosecuted wars directly, with minimal
interference from Congress. This feature helped the U.S. resolve a major Civil War without
splintering and emerge victorious from two World Wars, not to mention the "victory" over Communism.
John Adams, 1809
"A President can declare war and conclude peace without being hurled from his chair."
An elaborate system of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches,
combined with the bicameral nature of the Congress and the separation of legislative and executive
powers, would maintain governmental accountability.
The founding of the United States of America was blessed with the presence of a political elite, a
group of exceptionally able and visionary men, we now refer to as the Founding Fathers. Creating
modern representative democracy through the drafting of the Constitution, and later serving in
various positions in the government they had designed, they laid the foundation for the subsequent
greatness of our country. Little doubt existed that they would serve in the new government, due
to their relative qualifications and a sense of noblesse oblige, so they did not
need to concern themselves overly with designing the future government with a mind toward
attracting able leaders. Having served as President, though, many of their number desired to
escape the office as if from a jail, calling for change in the design of their new government.
This was in the very earliest days of nationhood, prior to the dimensional changes that would
subsequently transform the country, and place enormous stress on their experimental government.