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Wilford Woodruff Quote

This is the commencement of the Centennial year of the American independence. One hundred years ago the nation was composed of an honest, industrious, Christian people, and the chief men of the nation were poor, honest statesmen, who lived to promote the welfare of the whole people. They established constitution and laws, which were a glorious legacy to their descendants. By January 1st, 1876, a great change has come over the American government. To a great extent, virtue has departed from the land, and honesty has been driven from the various departments of government. Men seek office to aggrandize themselves rather than to serve the interests of the people.

ideas > The proper role of the President

The proper role of the President
I have been disturbed lately with an idea that is being spoken on the presidential campaign trail. The idea that is being spoken of is that the president should set the direction that America should go. I have heard Senator Obama refer to his vision of where he wants America to be and that he wants to take us there. Is that really the prerogative of the President, to determine where America should go and then to take us there? Or is America supposed to go where the collective decisions of each individual takes them? That sounds more like a king, not an elected executive official. The Constitution should shed some light on the proper role of the President in the United States, for it is the Constitution which set up the office of the President and gave the office its powers.

The executive powers of the President are laid out in Article 2 of the Constitution. The President’s primary duty is to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He has power to command the military, pardon criminals, appoint judges, make treaties in conjunction with the Senate, report on the state of the United States, call Congress into session, adjourn Congress, receive foreign representatives, and to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

In short, those are the duties of the President. Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the President can take his vision of what America should be and use the power of the government to take the people to that place. That is not consistent with the Constitution or the principles of individual freedom and liberty that this country was founded on. That kind of talk is more consistent with a socialist or communist philosophy where a few rule the many, determine the direction of the country, and take the people where they think the people should go. The founding fathers would have cringed at the idea of a President determining the direction of the country instead of a President that faithfully executed the laws that the people created through their legislatures. The President is to be a servant of the people, protecting their rights and honoring the Constitution; not being a king over the people, indulging his own interests and supposed visionary insight into what he or she thinks America should be.
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