A one-man presidency

Hamilton and Jefferson disagreed on many things, but they agreed that the convention had been right in deciding on a one-man presidency. A plural executive, Hamilton contended, if divided within itself, would lead the country into factionalism and anarchy and, if united, could lead it into tyranny. When power was placed in the hands of a group small enough to admit “of their interests and views being easily combined in a common enterprise, by an artful leader,” Hamilton thought, “it becomes more liable to abuse, and more dangerous when abused, than if it be lodged in the hands of one man, who, from the very circumstances of his being alone, will be more narrowly watched and more readily suspected.” With a single executive it was possible to fix accountability. But a directorate “would serve to destroy or would greatly diminish, the intended and necessary responsibility of the Chief Magistrate himself.”

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.November 1973 Issue of the Atlantic

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