Could Americas Founders Have Imagined This? – The New Republic

Posted: December 20, 2019 at 6:50 pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday invoked the nations birth in defending her decision to delay sending impeachment articles to the Senate. Our Founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected that there could be a rogue president, she said. I dont think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.

The accuracy of that observation depends on how one defines the Founders. The Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution certainly predicted that the new Constitution would encourage the sort of corrupt behavior of which President Trump is guilty. But the Anti-Federalists were the losers, not the winners, in the struggle over the Constitution. The Federalist victors likely would have agreed with Pelosi.

The Federalist framers of the Constitution understood that it was vital to endow the new government they created with broad powers, but they recognized that this grant itself posed great danger. It was for precisely this reason that the Constitution was built on a system of check and balances. By creating coequal branches of government, the Framers hoped that ambition would be made to counter-act ambition.

These words, quoted by Pelosis colleague Congressmen Adam Schiff, point to the Founding generations Enlightenment faith in the human capacity for rational self-interest. Each of the three coequal parts of our government, the Founders believed, would seek to preserve its powers and authority, and the new Constitution thus would offer a means of checking the designs of demagogues and the sycophants and rogues who followed their lead.

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Could Americas Founders Have Imagined This? - The New Republic

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December 20th, 2019 at 6:50 pm

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