For their confederal government, the Founders recreated the “First” British Empire on this side of the Atlantic, but they used the Roman Republican model to replace the nobility. The lack of nobility is the most radical part of their experiment. Everything else they did was simply to conserve the rights of Englishmen as they existed in the 17th century England.
The President is a substitute for the King, his veto for royal assent, the Senate is the House of Lords, House of Representatives is for the Commons, our Bill of Rights in 1791 replaced the English Bill of Rights from 1689. Our governors replaced the royal governours. The individual States–such as Virginia, New York, North Carolina, etc.–replaced England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, etc.
The common law was taken in its entirety except for the establishment of one church at the confederal level and titles of nobility. The States continued to have their own official churches though. St. George Tucker’s footnotes to Blackstone’s “Commentaries on the Laws of England” contain the only differences between the two systems. Jefferson wanted the State governments to be secular too. The rest of the Founders disagreed.
The great sin of the “United States” was the stupid concept of Dual Federalism–the idea that the Federal government can check the states’ policies, and vice versa. Both Washington and Madison were guilty of this. Madison was wobbly though. Madison and Jefferson asserted that the Federal government was the servant of the states with their Principles of 1798. The Federalists, Whigs, and the Great Triumvirate pretended this interpretation did not exist in order to make money for themselves by installing British mercantilism and re-branding it the “American System.” Lincoln was a Whig.
Jefferson was wrong in thinking legislatures should almost be unchecked by executives. That’s why he hated Hume’s history of England. It showed the King as a necessary check on Parliament. Ironically, he was almost unchecked as a President. He was also too giddy about the anti-clerical strain of classical liberalism. Both he and Paine fell for the French Revolution and had to learn about the progressives the hard way. Otherwise, Jefferson was correct about everything else. John Adams was a disaster in thinking the Federal government should have as much power as Massachusetts. He was wise in other matters.
The American Revolution just wasn’t as radical as many Founders wanted it to be. The constitutional conventions of the States wouldn’t allow them to get everything they wanted. Whether its juries, the right to bear arms, the inviolability of home and person, the sanctity of contracts, etc., its the Americans who are more like archaic Britons than the modern British.
Secede in your mind.