Wherever there is interest and power to do wrong, wrong will generally be done.
—James Madison. Letter to Thomas Jefferson, New York, October 17, 1788.
A well devised constitution will recognize that every official has a natural tendency to exceed and abuse his authority. To counteract this natural propensity it has built into it checks and balances which work by:
- not concentrating power in a single office;
- giving officials the power, duty, and motive to curb the illegitimate activities of each other;
- creating structures that make it difficult for officials to abuse their office, even if they want to.