Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution

Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution

Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution

Presidential Government in the United States: The Unwritten Constitution

Excerpt

It is my purpose to show that we have changed our constitutional democracy into a political democracy. By this is meant that we have converted a limited into an unlimited democracy and, thereby, substituted an unwritten for a written constitution and a government of laws for a government of men. This means that the principles of the American Revolution, as the foundation of our constitutional system, have been destroyed and that we have returned to the principles of the British system.

Jefferson once said: "I am not for transferring all the powers of the States to the General Government, and all those of that government to the Executive Branch." An attempt is made to show that if the Sage of Monticello should return to his former mountain resort for a brief observation and analysis, he would discover that this is exactly what has happened and, strangely enough, that it has been accomplished largely in his name and in accordance with some of his practices and policies. If ever there was a President who was the political executive of the nation, it was Thomas Jefferson, even after he ceased to be the constitutional executive of the country. Moreover, some of the acts of his administration, notably the purchase of Louisiana and the forcing of industrialism upon New England by his embargo policy, have been possibly the chief factors in producing our industrial nationalism, which in turn destroyed all possibilities of the realization of the "Jeffersonian Dream" and made political nationalism inevitable and a necessity.

In the main the study deals with the effects of the party system upon our constitutionalism, ending in the establishment of the political hegemony of the President. Of course, it is understood that when we speak of the effects of the party system upon our constitutional system, we are cognizant of the fact that the parties have not been the causes of this change but only the means or instruments by which the economic forces of our changing society have stamped their imprint upon our political institutions.

It is then contended that this revolution which has established party government by men, practically without constitutional limita-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.