Quote of the Day
Almost by accident, then, America got a very strong presidency - or, rather, an office which any particular president could make strong if he chose. He was much stronger than most kings of the day, rivaled or exceeded only by the 'Great Autocrat," the Tsar of Russia (and in practice stronger than most tsars). He was, and is, the only official elected by the nation as a whole and this fact gave him the moral legitimacy to exercise the huge powers buried in the constitutional thickets. These powers were not explored until Andrew Jackson's time, half a century on, when they astonished and frightened many people; and it is perhaps fortunate that the self-restraint and common sense of George Washington prevented any display of them in the 1790s, when they would certainly have led to protest and constitutional amendment. As it was, the new republic got a combined head of state and head of government entrusted with formidable potential authority.
- Paul Johnson