One of the must read books for every American is Alexis De Tocqueville's "Democracy In America." It's a perspective about our fledgling nation through the eyes of a foreigner. As students we've been subjected to second, third, fourth, and even fifth hand information about our founding and the culture that existed. This is an on scene report of exactly what the culture was from an independent source outside the fray. Here are some of De Tocqueville's observations about the office of the President.
"There is no country in which everything can be provided for by laws, or in which political institutions can prove a substitute for common sense and public morality!"
"Executive power in the United States as limited and exceptional as the sovereignty it represents."
"The President is also the executor of the laws; but he does not really co-operate in making them, since the refusal of his consent does not prevent their passage. He is not therefore, a part of sovereign power, but only it's agent."
"The President of the United States has no share in the formation of the legislative body and cannot dissolve it."
" The President is placed beside the legislature like an inferior and dependent power."
"In the exercise of the executive power the President of the United States is constantly subject to a jealous supervision. He may prepare, but he cannot conclude, a treaty; he may nominate but not appoint a public officer."
"The President of the United States has not the exclusive right of making any public appointments."
"In America the President cannot prevent any law from being passed, nor can he evade the obligation of enforcing it."
How many of these observations can you find we've wandered from? The perversion of the original intent through the last 236 years has led us astray from the principles our nation was founded upon. It's invaluable to understand the perspective of an outside observer who took the time to tour this nation in it's beginning and report back to the rest of the world about our experiment in freedom. I can't help but wonder how he'd report his findings today.....