In Federalist Paper #69 Alexander Hamilton lays out the difference between a President and a King. At the time of the creation and ratification of the Constitution, many were concerned that the office of president, being held by one person, would become nothing more than a King in disguise. Hamilton takes the time to point out the extremely limited nature of the President to rest any alarm that the office of president would function as a King.
What if we created a standardized test to evaluate our presidents using the standards by which the office was created? Would our presidents pass or fail?
The President or King Standardized Test as authored by Alexander Hamilton:
- A President of the United States would be an officer elected by the people for four years;
- A King is a perpetual and hereditary prince;
- A President, as commander-in-chief, would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy;
- A King’s power extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies;
- A President would be amenable to personal punishment and disgrace;
- A King is sacred and inviolable;
- A President would have a limited power upon the acts of the legislative body;
- A King has an absolute power;
- A President would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties;
- A King has the sole possessor of the power of making treaties;
- A President would have a concurrent authority with a branch of the legislature in appointing to offices;
- A King is the sole author of all appointments;
- A President can confer no privileges whatever;
- A King can make denizens of aliens, noblemen of commoners; can erect corporations with all the rights incident to corporate bodies;
- A President can prescribe no rules concerning the commerce or currency of the nation;
- A King is in several respects the arbiter of commerce, and in this capacity can establish markets and fairs, can regulate weights and measures, can lay embargoes for a limited time;
- A President has no particle of spiritual jurisdiction;
- A King is the supreme head and governor of the national church and can dictate what is lawful and unlawful for the subjects to believe or not believe;
- A President’s power is in the hands of the People;
- A King’s power is limited only by his own will, the power of his throne, and is despotism.
Now score your occupant of the White House; is he president or King? _______________