Without Separation of Powers, the Declaration is a Nice Poem, By Dr. Lucas J. Mather, Ph.D.
The Founders created a Constitution, against all odds, in the summer without Air Conditioning, with windows closed, a document and its defense worthy of celebration equal to or greater than the Declaration of Independence.
Yes, I said it. September 17th is at least as big, perhaps bigger, than July 4th.
Its creation and defense in The Federalist is one of the greatest achievements in world history. July 4th required courage. Balls of steel. The Constitution required patience, an attention span, an ability to listen to others, to argue, to stay calm in horrid heat (without deodorant, people), to keep a secret, to push through without clear guidance or examples to follow.
Without separation of powers, tyranny was just down the road. Recall Madison’s definition of tyranny in Federalist 47. The lack of separation of powers is tyranny.
This is still true. We owe the teaching to the Founders.
Separation of powers protects individual liberty. That’s the message of Federalist 84.
It’s not perfect now, and it wasn’t then, in letter or in practice. It’s dumb that I have to say that. You should already know that.
I shouldn’t have had to say it.
But the US Constitution is unrivaled anywhere in the world. Imperfect people implemented a near perfect document.
What about Slavery ? Good question. Check out The Republican Professor podcast Constitution Day 2022 episode on exactly that question. TRP was joined by the John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics at Washington & Lee University in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, where the Civil War happened. Dr. Lucas Morel, Ph.D. takes us through parts of his book Lincoln and the American Founding, about how the first Republican president (of the current Republican Party, founded in 1854) thought through slavery and the Constitution.
It is a big deal whether we recognize it or not.
We’re closer to reality if we do.
Dr. Lucas J. Mather, Ph.D., teaches The American Founding at Azusa Pacific University in Lost Angeles County, California and is the producer and host of The Republican Professor podcast, and writes here and at https://www.therepublicanprofessor.com/articles/