From the nation’s inception, Americans have looked to their presidents for leadership and inspiration, even though neither were formally mentioned in the Constitution. The few formal duties of the president were briefly described in Article 2, sections 2 and 3. At the time, Americans saw no need to assign additional duties to the office as they expected George Washington to be the first president and trusted him to do what was right and proper for the nation.
Since then, the authority and powers of the president have changed dramatically, but the president today is no more influential than Washington was at the time. Indeed, one could argue that the person selected to be president in 2016 will be much less influential than Washington, and the president’s primacy will be substantially eroded by the very nature of this corrosive campaign.
When voters cast their ballots for the new president in 1789, they had few preconceived notions of the office, as opposed to today. They knew they did not want their president to take on the trappings of a European monarch. Washington understood that and proceeded cautiously. During his eight years in office, he surrounded himself with some of the nation’s best minds and he listened closely to their advice as he laid out the foundation for the new nation. He also traveled throughout the North and South to meet with his fellow citizens and to remind them that they were an integral part of the new nation, unlike other nations. READ MORE