November 19, 2019

The Foundations of Presidential Power

“The grammar school civics class version of our Revolution is that it was a rebellion against monarchical tyranny, and that, in framing our Constitution, one of the main preoccupations of the Founders was to keep the Executive weak. This is misguided. By the time of the Glorious Revolution of 1689, monarchical power was effectively neutered and had begun its steady decline. Parliamentary power was well on its way to supremacy and was effectively in the driver’s seat. By the time of the American Revolution, the patriots well understood that their prime antagonist was an overweening Parliament. Indeed, British thinkers came to conceive of Parliament, rather than the people, as the seat of Sovereignty. 

“During the Revolutionary era, American thinkers who considered inaugurating a republican form of government tended to think of the Executive component as essentially an errand boy of a Supreme legislative branch. Often the Executive (sometimes constituted as a multi-member council) was conceived as a creature of the Legislature, dependent on and subservient to that body, whose sole function was carrying out the Legislative will. Under the Articles of Confederation, for example, there was no Executive separate from Congress. 

“Things changed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. To my mind, the real ‘miracle’ in Philadelphia that summer was the creation of a strong Executive, independent of, and coequal with, the other two branches of government.

“The consensus for a strong, independent Executive arose from the Framers’ experience in the Revolution and under the Articles of Confederation. They had seen that the War had almost been lost and was a bumbling enterprise because of the lack of strong Executive leadership. Under the Articles of Confederation, they had been mortified at the inability of the United States to protect itself against foreign impositions or to be taken seriously on the international stage. They had also seen that, after the Revolution, too many States had adopted constitutions with weak Executives overly subordinate to the Legislatures. Where this had been the case, state governments had proven incompetent and indeed tyrannical.

“From these practical experiences, the Framers had come to appreciate that, to be successful, Republican government required the capacity to act with energy, consistency and decisiveness. They had come to agree that those attributes could best be provided by making the Executive power independent of the divided counsels of the Legislative branch and vesting the Executive power in the hands of a solitary individual, regularly elected for a limited term by the Nation as a whole. As Jefferson put it, ‘[F]or the prompt, clear, and consistent action so necessary in an Executive, unity of person is necessary….’” (Attorney General Bill Barr)

“For the Lord shall be our judge, the Lord shall be our lawgiver, the Lord shall be our king; he himself will save us.” (Isaiah 33:22; JUB)

Give Him 15 minutes in prayer:

  • Our three-branch republican form of government is based loosely on the three roles the Lord holds, as noted in Isaiah 33:22. Thank the Lord for the wisdom He gave our governmental framers as they sought Him.
  • Read carefully the civics lesson above. 
  • Pray that our U.S. citizens would be more interested in understanding our form of government and the role each of the three branches play—Executive, Legislative, and Judicial.
  • Intercede for the upholding of the U.S. Constitution’s powers given to the Executive branch and the Executive-in-Chief—the U.S. President.
  • Declare that Civics classes will return as a required class to U.S. schools. Who will take up the cause to write the courses?

A prayer you can pray:

Lord, You modeled within your own self the form of government that would become the form the United States follows today. We have a Republic, a three-branch system of checks and balances, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, with both elected and appointed leaders. The Executive and Legislative are political (chosen by the people) and the Judicial is free from politics (appointed by the current sitting president). What a miracle it is. It has served us well for 243 years. So many Americans do not understand that we are a Republic, because civics is no longer taught in most schools. If they don’t understand our form of government, then they won’t understand things like the powers given to each branch. They also won’t understand the checks and balances the Constitution grants to each branch. In other words, what politicians say in the media is what people are going to believe. How can they know if the president is overstepping his boundaries? How can they know what the Congress can appropriately hold the president accountable for? Lord, bring us back to honoring the U. S. Constitution and the wisdom in its words! Bring back civics courses nationally, so our next generation of students will understand our replublican form of government. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

Today’s decree:

The full powers of the U. S. Presidency will be not be diminished or overridden by a renegade Congress!

Learn more here about Attorney General Bill Barr and his speech at the Federalist Society’s 2019 National Lawyers Convention.

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