"For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other."
- Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" (1776), Chapter III
Impeachment is not the only limit on the president's power
"What's the difference between a president and a king?" This is a question that Americans sometimes ask themselves, and we usually conclude that there are major differences between the two (or at least ought to be). But if you had asked this question at the time of the Constitutional Convention, many Americans would have feared that there wouldn't be much difference between the two under the new Constitution. They might have said that it was too much power to give to one man (like the president), and that powers might be best confined to a larger body like the Congress. They eventually came around to see the presidency as a necessary institution despite these potential hazards, but they still worried greatly about executive power, and were wondering how the Congress could check (or stop) the power of the presidency. The most obvious example of a legislative check on the president is the Congress's power to impeach the members of the executive branch - and, most importantly, the president himself (or herself, depending). But this is far from their only check on the president's power, since there are a number of others to be found in the Constitution, if you know where to look for them. I will be spending this post discussing just five of them.
King George the Third, the monarch that the American Revolution was (partially) fought against