John Hancock: America’s Greatest President

By Doug Newman – email me here
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In the years before the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, America’s governing document was the Articles of Confederation. A chief and highly valid criticism of the Constitution is that it gave far more power to the federal government, as well as the president.

It is important to state that strict constitutional government, such as advocated by Ron Paul, would be a massive improvement over anything anyone reading this has experienced in their lifetimes. The powers delegated to the federal government by the Constitution are, in Madison’s words, “few and defined”. There are numerous checks on all three branches of the federal government. The president is restricted to being little more than a national umpire, calling balls and strikes on the various bills that Congress sends to his desk. The Constitution, while imperfect, is an immensely valuable document.

Had “We the People” resolutely held Uncle Sam within the limits set by the Constitution, the federal government would be almost insignificant. Rather than being the monstrosity that it has become over the last 100 years, it would probably look more like Montpelier, Vermont, the smallest state capital in the nation, with a population of 7600.

But, tragically, this has not been the case. With the blessing of “We the people”, the presidency has become the most powerful, and with that, the most dangerous office, not just in America but on earth, threatening all life on the planet.


Let’s contrast this with the office of president under the Articles of Confederation. The president was elected by a one-house congress. He served a one-year term and couldn’t serve more than one term in a three-year period. He had no assigned powers. He was not commander-in-chief of the military, nor could he pick judges. If anything he was a gavel-banger. He had about as much power as a high school class president.

(Someone recently pointed out to me that the Continental Army, Navy and Marines defeated what was then the most powerful military on earth without a president as commander-in-chief.)


John Hancock Building in Chicago. (1)

In 1785, the congress elected then Massachusetts Governor John Hancock to serve as its president. Hancock never even bothered showing up to take the job because he was in poor health and was simply not interested. He was, therefore, our greatest president.

Contrast this with the orgies of power lust that are our contemporary presidential campaigns. Contrast this with the clamor of millions of Americans for “the right person” to “lead”, to “run the country”, to “be in charge”, to “fix things”,  to usher in “hope and change” and to “make America great again”. No person, no matter how virtuous, should be entrusted with such power. More dangerous yet is that so many millions of Americans at any given time will put absolutely blind and brain-dead faith in the sitting president because he was their candidate..

In the Old Testament – I Samuel 8:4-20 – the children of Israel demanded an earthly political king. God granted them their wish, but also warned them that they would be sorry they ever asked for one. Indeed, Hosea 13:11 tells us that God gave these people a king in His anger. Eventually, the American people will likewise be sorry they were so frantic and desperate for one person to lead them. I don’t know when this will be. And I don’t know any specifics. However, I do know that, as they say in the Navy, we need to stand by for heavy rolls.

(1) Source:


About Food for the Thinkers

My name is Doug Newman. I live in Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver. Food for the Thinkers is mostly about the connection between Christianity and libertarianism. Most Christians do not understand libertarianism. And most libertarians do not understand Christianity. Hopefully, this blog helps clear up those misunderstanding. Check out my old page at And remember: When you let people do whatever they want, you get Woodstock. But when you let governments do whatever they want, you get Auschwitz.
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1 Response to John Hancock: America’s Greatest President

  1. Pingback: Do We HAVE to Have a President? | Foodforthethinkers's Blog

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