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“Enlightened Statesmen Will Not Always Be At The Helm.”

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“Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.” With this statement, Madison aptly points out in Federalist 10 that United States citizens might not always elect the most qualified or well-intentioned political leaders (24). In our current presidential political climate, these words seem more pertinent than ever. There is no question that the powers of the presidency have increased since the founding of the United States, but what are the implications of this for American democracy? Increased presidential powers are taking power away from Congress, undermining the system of checks and balances, and ultimately hurting American democracy. Concentration of power in the executive branch circumvents democratic deliberation and limits…show more content…
In Federalist 51, Madison suggests that in order to maintain liberty, a government must be structured in such a way that it can control the governed, while obliging it to control itself (28). This control was built into the Constitution through an “internal structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places” (Madison, “Federalist 51” 27). This division of power is necessary for a society to have liberty because it allows for a means of constraining the ability of an individual or faction to gain enough power to oppress. Pitting the different branches against one another ensures that a multiplicity of interests and factions will be represented and therefore none will be able to monopolize the power. The concentration of power into a single representative, the president, threatens our liberty and democracy by eliminating this essential safeguard.
The increasing power of the presidency in the domestic realm is evident in the growing ability of the president to set the policy agenda and use public opinion to control legislative outcomes. Going public is a strategy that is used by the president to promote his policies by appealing directly to the voters to pressure members of Congress to pass his legislative agenda or risk a contested primary. “Going public undermines the legitimacy of other politicians. It usurps
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