"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Notes on Va.
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Reader comments about this quote:
"elective despotism" and "Imperial presidency" are, to me, synonyms
 -- Simon Jacobson, white Plains, NY     
    No, elective despotism is democracy. That is what the founders said and believed. The more democratic we become the less free we are. This "Imperial presidency" stuff is a crock of bull. The Congress does far more infringing on our rights with the tax code, pork (vote buying) and their incredibly complex several hundred page multi-issue bills then the president could ever hope to. Simon, I think you are just another Bush hater.
     -- helorat, Milton     
    And it is far past time for congress to do its duty and impeach!
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
    And so is 70% of Americans - he is now giving billions to Saudi - they have never joined in the fray this is obviously the action of a despot. What right does King George, or any President, have to veto the vote of the Senate? We have our politics so messed up no one knows what we are - and then they blame it on Democracy. We don’t have a democracy and never have. The party in power can win every time (elective despotism) until it gets to 30/70.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
     -- dragonswizardz      
    It is high time we started hanging some politicians -- or at least tar and feather a few..
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Seems that some did not get the quote right. It was about balance. Our biggest tyrant is the Supreme Court. They are like royalty. They answer to no one. Then comes the legislature. The congress can hide in their numbers when they legislate their tyranny. But the presedent can't do that. He just gets to take the blame for every thing that any one does not like. We get to see every thing he does while often he is not in a position to disclose all the reasons for his actions because it would jepordize delicate situations. This is always the case when War is present. But now when we are surrounded by a press, pollticians, and some americans that see a loss for America as a good thing for the Democrat party's future we see an ll out war against American success in the field of battle. The founding fathers would say that we have come to disregard all their efforts to give us this great country. I am ashamed of the Americans that put thier politics above the wellfare of this country. I do not believe that if Gore was president that he would have done any different than Bush, perhaps with less competence, but the republicans would have done every thing along with the Dems to secure victory. Unfortunately in our country today when a Republican is in the Oval office we will see the country destroyed rather than give him credit for any thing.
     -- warren giese, olathe ks     
     -- Anonymous      
    Mr. Obamunist Goodwrench the assassin gives a whole new depraved meaning to the phrase imperial presidency. 108% electorate turn out with not one vote going to the second party in a 2 party race gives a whole new meaning to the phrase elective despotism. warren is right about balance AND, when no one branch checks another, only to up their own level of despotism, Jefferson's here quote takes on even greater significance.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I should add; the general bodies of magistracy are very well balanced in transcending their lawful / legal limits with the only ones being effectually checked and restrained are the once sovereign free individuals.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Of course, none of this applies when you have a King like Obama.
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx     
    Just another thought, hmmm
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Whether Bush or Gore, Obama or Romney, our choices have been decided for us to make sure the establishment's power racket continues and the nation yoked to ever unpayable debt. America has been taken over from within -- elective despotism indeed.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Jefferson would puke at the sight of the Imperialist Royalty now ensconced in the White House and the fraud that's running the show...The Nation needs a return to its founding principles..."Yesterday"
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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