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The founders had read Gibbon. They were aware of the problems present in the Roman state and provided some institutions, hopefully, to prevent the recurrence of those problems. The most significant difference was a written and ratified constitution. The Roman Republic had an unwritten constitution.

The second difference was that institutional tension was formally built into the system. Each of the three branches was reasonably well defined and each had its own prerogatives which each could be expected to defend. The weakness of that system has turned out to be exactly what the founders feared - extreme factional partisanship.

They could have been more explicit in defining norms of public behavior. This should, IMO, have been included in the Preamble, stating explicitly that elected officials, during their tenure, serve the public and the public interest and that serving personal interests through the power of their offices was grounds for immediate removal by impeachment. As it is at least half of the US electorate does not seem to apprehend the requirement. Public service in the public interest should have been enshrined as the highest public virtue.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 8th, 2020 at 05:23:59 PM EST
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