Dershowitz: 'The President Has the Power That Kings Have Never Had' - Is America a Monarchy? Should it Be?
Would you consider having an American Monarchy?
by If You Can Keep It | 2.10.20
Ben Franklin famously said America is “a republic, if you can keep it.” Can we keep America a republic? Should we? This is the first in an ongoing series asking significant, but controversial, queries about our system of governance.
What’s the story?
- President Donald Trump recently declared: “Article II (of the U.S. Constitution) gives me the right to do whatever I want,” referring to the section of our founding document which outlines the powers of the executive branch.
- Alan Dershowitz, who defended the president in his impeachment trial, crowned this statement, arguing that:
“[T]he president’s far more powerful than the king. The president has the power that kings have never had… He has a very, very powerful office, and the framers wanted it that way.”
- Lead House impeachment Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), in his opening statements, also addressed the return of the king:
“Does the oath of office itself - requiring that our laws be faithfully executed, that our president defend a Constitution that balances the powers of its branches, setting ambition against ambition so that we become no monarchy - still have meaning?”
- Ben Franklin famously said: America is “a republic, if you can keep it.” Can we keep America a republic? And if democracy is broken, should we?
March towards monarchy…or arrived a century ago?
- Let’s start with this 1896 quote from the Knoxville Journal:
"Great Britain is a republic, with a hereditary president, while the United States is a monarchy with an elective king."
- Actually, let's continue with one more quote, this one by Thomas Jefferson:
“A constitution, like ours, wears a mixed aspect of monarchy and republicanism.”
- The Washington Post unpacked Jefferson's prescient statement:
“The Founders had forged a powerful executive, vesting it with extensive powers over law execution, foreign affairs, military affairs, and civilian officers. Indeed, the original presidency was more powerful than many 18th century European monarchs, or so John Adams insisted.”
What do you think?
Many countries have had multiple constitutions (the Dominican Republic has had 32). Many more have uncodified constitutions (Canada, the UK, Israel). Are you tired of congressional gridlock? Do you think the American system of government is broken? Would a monarchy – or monarchic principles – be the fix? Join the conversation.
Look for part 2 of this series - What Are the Benefits of a Monarchy? - on Wednesday. And be sure to comment as we want to include your thoughts in our upcoming posts.
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