From the preface to Correa Walsh’s 1915 book, The Political Science of John Adams:
The theory reviewed in this work is obsolete, but it was extensively in vogue at the time of the framing of our American constitutions. In fact, we live under arragements produced by a modified form of it. Our State and Federal systems of two chambers and veto-possessing governors or presidents, are remnants of the old theory of mixed government. Luckily the entire theory was not carried out of having all the elements equal in the mixture; yet, unfortunately, it was applied to the extent of making two of them nearly so. Although the balance was not brought up to its ideal, the opportunity for obstruction was suffered to remain.
It is submitted that a theory which has passed away but which has left its effect, is highly deserving of sudy, and in its most perfect manifestation.
The study may also lead to practical results. The theory which presided at their birth being a thing of the past, the form still lasting of our governments is an anachronism, and the question arises whether it should longer continue.
The burden of Adams’ argument was that putting "all authority in one center, that of the nation" (in the words of the French minister and intellectual, Turgot) was a terrible idea. On the contrary, Adams argued that checks and balances were necessary. Adams believed both in separations of power among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches and in a bicameral legislature coupled with an executive armed with a veto. (The burden of his Defence of the Constitutions was, in part, that the separations of power, in practice, need such a "tri-cameral" legislative branch in order to rest secure.)
In this passage from Walsh, we see that, in the first part of the 20th Century, American intellectuals, flush with the belief in progress, concluded that our constitution, with its system of checks and balances was an anachronism, and they sought to change it. Before he became President, Woodrow Wilson praised the Parliamentary system as superior to the American constitutional system. For most of the 20th century, America’s intellectuals regarded checks and balances as anachronistic. The argument between Progressive intellectuals and the founders’ constititon is still very much with us. What has changed is that, a century after the Progressive movement developed, many American intellectuals regard the Progressive tradition as the authentic American tradition.