"Were I to define the British constitution, therefore, I should say it is a limited monarchy, or a mixture of the three forms of government commonly known in the schools [monarchical, aristocratical, and democratical] ... And it is [the] reservation of fundamentals, of the right of giving instructions, and of new elections, which creates a popular check, upon the whole government which alone secures the constitution from becoming an aristocracy, or a mixture of monarchy and aristocracy only."
by:
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
Source:
Boston Gazette, 27 Jan 1766, Adams Papers, V I, pp 167-168
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Mike, Norwalk      
Were I to define the British system I would call it a socialist police state with its head up its a**. NEVER let yourself be disarmed. Look what it did to those guys...
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Were I to define the US Constitution, a great document designed to protect citizens from their government, and is currently being ignored and trampled on by those who swore to uphold it.
     -- jim k, austin     
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    For a long time I've been of the opinion that it is the respect of fundamental natural rights of the individual that was and should be the first check on all of us as individuals and so that being true the first check on the actions of our form of self government administrations before they have any authority to make any decision or legislate any law. That is what they took and oath to do.
     -- Anon     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Adams wrote extensively on the forms of government and their various combinations. What was clear is that the powers of a nation ultimately organized themselves into monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic camps. The US Constitution structured these powers into the Executive, the Senate, and the House of Representatives respectively. This is not a democracy, obviously, even though there are democratic powers included in the republic -- but they are checked by the Senate, Executive and the Judiciary. Each branch was to serve as a check against the other. The aftermath of the War Between the States changed the form of the US government away from the intent of the founding members of the country. The Amendments that followed took on a different tone and context -- from rules for the government into rules for the people. The Senate was soon replaced with a populist democratic system thus upsetting the balance of powers -- this was to force all states to stay within the Union with the Executive as the undisputed ruler of all. The corruptions continue as communist ideology has been welcomed by the poorer classes -- and it is the most powerful that have foisted this con upon them because of the immense amount of power they receive by centralizing everything into a few hands. The poor are easily deluded by the very folks they think they are going to rob only to find themselves still slaves to an even smaller coterie of men. The goal then simply becomes one of power without any moral boundaries, no honor, simply might.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    True and well said Archer!
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    Rousseau had it right when he wrote: "The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during the election of Members of Parliament; as soon as the Members are elected, the people are enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people make such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it"
     -- Jack, Brussels (Belgium) - but I'm British !     
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