1937 marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the American Constitution. In his address, President Roosevelt recognized, "The world of 1787 provided a perfect opportunity for the organization of a new form of government thousands of miles removed from influences hostile to it. How we then governed ourselves did not greatly concern Europe. And what occurred in Europe did not immediately affect us. Today (in 1937) the picture is different. Now (in 1937) what we do has enormous immediate effect not only among the nations of Europe but also among those of the Americas and the Far East, and what in any part of the world they do as surely and quickly affects us." President Roosevelt argued, "To hold to that course our constitutional democratic form of government must meet the insistence of the great mass of our people that economic and social security and the standard of American living he raised from what they know our resources justify. Only by succeeding in that can we ensure against internal doubt as to the worthwhileness, of our democracy and dissipate the illusion that the necessary price of efficiency is dictatorship with its attendant spirit of aggression...The Constitution of the United States was a layman's document, not a lawyer's contract. That cannot be stressed too often. Madison, most responsible for it was not a lawyer – nor was Washington or Franklin, whose sense of give-and-take of life had kept the convention together." 

Back in 1935, the Hon. Abel P. Tanner, then Dean New London County Bar (in Connecticut) pointed out, "To conserve and safeguard their work the authors of our system devised a method of checks and balances that had never before been tried. They separated the government into 3 great branches: executive, legislative and judicial. They provided that the legislative should function as 2 distinct bodies each differently constituted, so that one could be a check on the other; they invested the executive with a veto power that it might be a check on the other 2; and then they created the Supreme Court that it could be a check on all the others. The purpose of the checks and balances was mainly to arrest the momentum of hasty legislation such as might be propelled by mass psychology or a national craze. They thought it unlikely that the executive and legislative branches would often unite behind questionable legislation, or that the legislative would wantonly override sound executive objections." 

By 1982, Potter Stewart, then senior Justice on the Supreme Court told Richard Reeves of The Milwaukee Journal, "When this country was new, a non-conformist, or someone who just wasn't making it, could always go west. There was always space. Now (in 1982) there is no more space, and the courts have been called on to protect the rights of these individuals. The courts are trying to provide that space. There are more rights, and new laws...Poverty law and environmental law were never heard of when I began (in 1958). Now (in 1982) they are needed to provide the economic opportunity that the frontier was. There was no need for environmental law when there was enough water that you could dump anything into it...Society expects too much now (in 1982). There are too many larger questions here – moral, social, political, economic." J. Vincent Aug, a U.S. Magistrate for the Sixth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals added, "The power of the courts is becoming awesome because they have become the only place the public can find decision-making. You cannot get relief anymore in the executive and legislative branches. Politicians are avoiding decisions on controversial questions. Judges may not want to make those decisions, but they don't shy away from them – especially federal judges who have life tenure. So, increasingly, people who feel they're being pushed around turn to the law or to the press." 

Four years after the end of World War II, General Douglas MacArthur made a speech in 1949 to congratulate "the Japanese people (who) have well earned the freedom and dignity and opportunity which alone can come with the restoration of a formal peace...Politically, progressive gains have been made on the fabrication of a system of government truly representative in character. The lines of separation between the 3 great branches, executive, legislative and judicial, as provided by the constitutional design, have found strength in healthy public discussion of the vital issue of constitutional interpretation, and as a result the affairs of government have advanced with a minimum of overlapping friction and increasing inter-branch co-operation...Both leaders and people are coming to understand that representative democracy draws its strength from the support of a broad majority of the people imbued with the belief that under it they may attain standard of living commensurate with the capabilities of modern civilization – that a prerequisite to that condition is individual freedom of activity in the field of economic enterprise, for no individual bound in economic thralldom can be politically free." 

In the last year of the 2nd Millennium (or "Y2K", the year 2000), Douglas Farah of the Washington Post reported from Lagos, Nigeria: "A year after Nigeria, one of the world's largest oil producers, returned to democracy following 2 decades (1980s-1990s) of brutal and corrupt military rule, the executive and legislative branches of the new democratic government are engaged in bitter verbal warfare that has stymied passage of a national budget." Pini Jason was a political analyst told Douglas, "(President Olusegun) Obasanjo has to find a way to deliver. What we would hate to see is for people to get nostalgic for the old days, saying, 'At least things used to work.' He can't let that happen. Right now there is still a ground swell of support for the civilian government, but the President has to deliver." It was understood General Sani Abacha who ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998, "have siphoned off at least $4 billion from the national treasury, while his military cronies allegedly took billions more. The national treasury was empty when Obasanjo took office on May 29 1999. Since then, the Clinton administration, which views Nigeria's stability as vital to the region, has moved quickly to end the country’s pariah status, under which it was denied military and economic aid. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright earlier this year (in 2000) designated Nigeria one of 4 'key democracies' that would be the focus of U.S. aid, along with Colombia, Indonesia and Ukraine. Albright said Nigeria is engaged 'in a high-stakes test of democracy' and promised U.S. support. Obasanjo acknowledged Nigeria's problems (religious and ethnic crises) which he said, are compounded by the country's estimated $35 billion foreign debt. Servicing the debt accounts for more than 30% of the budget. It is the lack of any tangible democracy dividend, analysts and diplomats say which has resulted in those crises…"

On May 9 1831, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville spent 9 months visiting "the new United States of America." It was understood Alexis was interested "in the people of the United States, in how they governed themselves and what that new form of governing (civil, political and criminal legislation) meant to older societies in Europe." After Alexis returned to France in 1832, Alexis wrote the book 'De la Democratie en Amerique' (or 'Democracy in America'). John Stuart Mill called it "the first philosophical book ever written on democracy as it manifests itself in modern society." 

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