The first government of the United States, which was established by the Articles of Confederation (1781), consisted only of a legislative branch. The lack of an executive reflected the colonists' distrust of kings. In 1787, the Founding Fathers scrapped the Articles and wrote the Constitution of the United States. This new government would have three discrete branches: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The Founding Fathers probably sought a robust legislature.
However, the executive and judicial branches became more powerful as American history unfolded. Although George Washington was a cautious president, many of his successors—such as Andrew Jackson and the two Roosevelts—aggrandized the presidency. The judiciary branch also became much stronger because of John Marshall, Chief Justice from 1801 to 1835.
The legislature was granted the power to impeach the president, but this has never happened. As of 2020, three presidents had been tried but not one was convicted....
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