Balanced Government

[Volume 1, Page 345]

CHAPTER 11 | Document 8

The People the Best Governors

1776Chase 1:655, 656

The just power of a free people respects first the making and secondly the executing of laws. The liberties of a people are chiefly, I may say entirely guarded by having the controul of these two branches in their own hands.

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But it seems there is another objection started by some: That the common people are not under so good advantages to choose judges, sheriffs, and other executive officers as their representatives are. This is a mere delusion, which many have taken in, and, if I may be allowed a vulgar expression, the objectors in this instance put the cart before the horse. For they say that the people have wisdom and knowledge enough to appoint proper persons through a State to make laws, but not to execute them. It is much easier to execute, than to make and regulate the system of laws, and upon this single consideration the force of the objection fails: The more simple, and the more immediately dependent (exteris [ceteris] paribus), the authority is upon the people the better, because it must be granted that they themselves are the best guardians of their own liberties.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 11, Document 8
The University of Chicago Press

Chase, Frederick. A History of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover New Hampshire. Edited by John K. Lord. 2 vols. Cambridge: John Wilson & Son, 1891.