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Intent of the Founding Fathers - Checks and Balances

4608 Views 16 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Pragmatist
I have noticed that there are a number of threads wandering through here that discuss the various political candidates as well as Congress, a President who is unable to dictate policy and the tendency of the Courts to legislate from the bench....

The funny thing is that a lot of our current problems stem from having tinkered with the Constitution over various populist efforts to the effect that the finely tuned delicate balance of opposing camps was disturbed.

Did it ever occur to anyone that having all of the various sections of our government at loggerheads was actually the original intent?

Consider that with the inherent inability of any one branch to run the government on its own without at least some consensus involving the other branches your are forcing the government to work together. It is only IF the branches can agree that anything is done.

Originally, it was only the Representatives that were represented by a direct vote of the people.

The Senate was created to represent the State Legislatures and the State's Rights... not to be another version of the House.

The Executive was elected through the Electors of the Electoral Collage. With the person who got the second highest number of votes serving as the Vice President of the country as well as the President and deciding vote in the event of a tie within the Senate. It was quite possible to have members of opposing parties serving as President and Vice-President. Each providing a check, balance ad advocate against the other.

The Executive Branch was created to be a road block to an indecisive Congress... a Veto can stop things in their tracks.... Unless two thirds of BOTH Branches of Congress can agree to override the Executive...

The Courts can stop things in their tracks... based on an interpretation of the Constitution... which two thirds of the Congress in Combination with three fifths of the State Legislatures... OR by approval of a constitutional Convention by two thirds of the State Legislatures can stop in THEIR tracks by changing the rules....

It was never meant to be an easy process.

It was meant to be one of deliberation with the ability to act as soon as the necessary consensus could be achieved or IF it was ever achieved.

The need was to balance against the tyranny of the majority (a Democracy, wherein we could all get together to vote who we wanted killed or taxed, like the Greeks did through the mechanism of the Ostracha) or the Tyranny of the Minority (a Republic in which a small group's rights could prevent the majority from acting as they wished due to laws or through as simple a mechanism as a Senate filibuster). Only through consensus could a measured action be undertaken.

This is why a financial act must originate within the House of Representatives, being a method of imposing taxes or using the taxes that are raised through collections from the governed, who DIRECTLY elect the Representatives deciding how to tax as well as how to spend the funds.

The ultimate power of the governed was (and is) protected by the Constitutional right granted to an armed population (the Militia necessary to Guarantee the Security of a Free State) having the ability to overthrow a government they feel is no longer operating in their own interests.

With this right was also guaranteed the ability of the people to meet, speak, publish, report on and advocate for their positions while pursuing their religious beliefs without restriction.

The whole system was finely balanced to ensure that no one faction could really control the system unless enough people acquiesced to it or consented to it.
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The intent of checks and balances was to prevent any one branch from becoming too powerful. And generally, the government governs best who governs least: and the concept checks and balances also seems to promote that as well. The problem is this, however, the legislature being an often fractious due to its bicameral nature, often does not have the wherewithall to really stand up to the executive or judicial branches. While the judicial also has a mixed court in the SCOTUS, they generally are not challenged by any of the other two branches. And finally the Executive, which has broad regulatory powers either given by congress or simply seized through precedent, is often not sufficiently checked by congress OR the judicial. So the system isn't perfect, but then, no system is.
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We also know that the Founding Fathers were human beings, and therefore imperfect. Why should we therefore assign perfection to their creation?
That's a point a lot of people miss, I'm afraid. Once the founding fathers are no longer men, but gods, then the possibility of talking in terms of facts rather than dogma is gone.

A point to remember though: the founding fathers disagreed on a great many things, and remember, even the term 'founding fathers' is very loose. Obviously we would consider Franklin and Jefferson, but what of other notable though less intellectually refined patriots of the age?
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