The design of the government under the Constitution was not haphazard. Our Founding Fathers understood that governments can oppress people. They knew it from their own experience—and they knew it from their extensive scrutiny of governmental forms throughout history. Concentrated power was more than dangerous … it was life threatening.
- They balanced power between the three branches.
- They gave each branch robust checks on the other two.
- They gave the national government only enumerated powers, and retained all other power in the hands of either the people or the states.
- They used the states to check the national government.
- The members of each branch were chosen by a different method.
- The term of office varied by government position.
- An impeachment process was defined for extreme cases.
Concentrated political power frightened the Founders. They believed that only by limiting government could liberty survive the natural tendency of man to dictate the habits of other men. The balanced separation of power with checks was designed to prevent tyranny. Each branch was given delineated powers, and then each of these powers was limited and checked by another branch or entity. The system was purposely designed to slow governmental actions enough to allow due deliberation. This frustrates those who want the government to always “do something” about every problem, but it also hampers the government from doing something grievous that affects our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.