On Presidential Power: The Good Old Days

In observation of Presidents Day–and to remind us of how far we’ve fallen–here’s a little quote from Alexis de Tocqueville on Presidential power before the 1830s:

Hitherto no citizen has cared to expose his honor and his life in order to become the President of the United States, because the power of that office is temporary, limited, and subordinate. The prize of fortune must be great to encourage adventurers in so desperate a game. No candidate has as yet been able to arouse the dangerous enthusiasm or the passionate sympathies of the people in his favor, for the simple reason that when he is at the head of the government, he has but little power, little wealth, and little glory to share among his friends; and his influence in the state is too small for the success or the ruin of a faction to depend upon his elevation to power.

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