10 Oct 2022


How Presidents Are Chosen in America

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In his book, The American Commonwealth, James Brice argues out that America as a country does not often choose great leaders as presidents. He says that American would rather go for a safe leader other that a great leader. He compares the United States to European countries such as England, France and Germany. According to Bryce, people are more liberal, free thinking and democratic in those countries than in America. The writer suggests that the chair of the presidency should be earned through merit and leaders chosen should be great and striking through their actions and character. The author has ignored many great things that most American president has achieved. He has not considered the fact that America is where it is, simply as a result of the efforts made by the former leaders. Some of the presidents, even in the current era, have been so inspirational in their characters, efforts, speeches and actions. This essay will argue against the opinion of Bryce on how Americans chose their presidents, and in favor of the American government. 

The author says that most Americans are not interested in politics; an issue he says is quite the opposite in other European countries. The few people who decide to venture into politics may not have what it takes to become great presidents. He also says that the Congress seems to offer few opportunities for personal distinction. The writer says that good men are left out of the race even at the nomination level. A good man may attack some other leaders in his party or even express his dislike towards some issues in the country or his party. The members of the party may then think twice before nominating such a person as their flag bearer. The parties feel that a safe man is far much better that a brilliant man. Famous people are always preferred. 

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According to the writer, in European countries, people are recognized and chosen as leaders or presidents as a result of an aspiring achievement or an outstanding character or action in which they took part. He says eloquence in speech, a stunning achievement in war are among some of the things that may win an individual the seat of the president. In America, the writer says, most people do not object to mediocrity. Due to the party loyalty and organization , anyone selected by the party will get full support as long as he is unstained and his character is good. The writer says that parties do not always chose the good leader to run as president but weigh out their chances with each aspiring candidate. If a person of bad character stands a better chance of winning the seat, the party will absolutely elect that person. 

Bryce in his book, also points out that there is an American attitude that compels most citizens to vote for a leader who comes from a larger county or state. Some states, according to the author, have always favored one political party. In other states, especially those in the south, people are not entirely certain on the party to support. Such tradition does not easily give a chance to some reasonable, brilliant, great men who would aspire to become presidents. Other factors such as religious affiliations may be considered before electing a president. Social issues such as traditions and customs may also come to play when it comes to choosing a president. To sum up his points, the writer points out the reasons why great men have not often been appointed as presidents. They are rare in politics; method of choice does not bring them to the top; they are not absolutely needed. 

Bryce has entirely ignored any good or positive contribution made by any American president. His attitude and opinions towards the issue, themselves, are not entirely factual or even logical. Some of the reasons he gives out are even the opposite of what truly happens in the American political arena.Some of the things which he says don exist in the American political arena, actually exist. He compares America to some of the European countries whose political histories are no better than American history. 

In his book, the writer speaks of Germany, England and France as countries whose citizens are more dramatic when it comes to political issues. He says many people actually vie for the position of president in those countries, which offers the public with more choices of choosing a better leader. As far as anyone is concerned, America is by far one of the most democratic countries in the whole world. Just all those countries which Bryce has mentioned, in America, any individual is free to stand and challenge others for the seat of the president. The countries which the writer compares to America do not possess much of democracy that the United States. The political system in Britain, for example, has fared so poorly in terms of democracy, especially in the past years. Other social issues such as racism have been heard in these European countries, more often than in the United States. Wild and killings of innocent people have made histories in these countries. The writer has no point in comparing the political system of the United States to that of the European countries. 

Bryce has pointed out that one of the reasons why great leaders are not chosen in the US is the fact that such people are few in the political arena. America's political history and tradition matter during elections. Two political parties have been the major parties in the U.S. for a long time. The parties, in some places, have literary divided people into two groups. This , though, does not mean that democracy is undermined in any way. Each American holds the right to vote for a leader of his choice, a leader they believe will make a difference for the country. Most of the presidents in the past have not had any outstanding bad characters. In the new century, Americans have chosen presidents and other leaders, not for other reasons but because of their characters and what they present during the rallies and debates. It is correct to say that President George Bush was not a bad president, for instance. 

The writer also speaks of eloquence speech, character and achievements as some of the qualities that a great leader should possess. On this issue, he says that people in other countries go for these qualities during presidential elections. He ignores that fact these same qualities are cherished and observed keenly by Americans as well. On a closer look, let's check the case of President Barack Obama. American people chose him as the president for two complete terms. He had been elected as a senator before climbing the ladder to become the president. The fact that he is African-American did not stop people from voting for him, for two terms. Talking about good speeches, or speech that can move any crowd at any time, a speech that no one would condemn, not even his opponents, Obama has the most eloquent speech. One would go further on this to note that, Obama's achievements during his first tenure, earned him his second victory.


The writer, Bryce, in his book, condemns bluntly, how people and parties in the United States, elect leaders and presidents. In his piece, he constantly compares the political system and how presidents are chosen in the U.S. to how this is done in some European countries such as England and France. He says that great leaders are not chosen in America because they are rare in politics, the method of choice by parties does not give the opportunities and that they are not really needed. These points are not absolutely factual and logical as the democratic political system in America allows any individual to stand for the position of the president as long as he or she qualifies for the position. Many great presidents, especially in the new century, have been elected whose characters and actions have been great. 


Jones, C. (2016). The American Presidency: A Very Short Introduction. Second Edition : New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 13: 9780190458201. 

Milkis, S., & Nelson, M. (2014). The American Presidency: Origins and Development. Seventh Edition: Washington DC: CQ Press 2016 ISBN: 9781483318691. 

Nelson, M. (2015). The Evolving Presidency: Landmark Documents. Fifth Edition; Washington DC: C Q Press 2016 ISBN: 9781483368566. 

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