The events of September 11 have inspired two wars aimed at disrupting possible terrorist activities.
Civil libertarians have alleged numerous abuses arising out of the conduct of the fight against terrorism. Some have called for impeachment - or at least a thorough investigation - of President Bush.
In all this it has been the judiciary that has defended individual rights, from its declaration that the military commissions set up at Guantanamo Bay were illegal, to its reaffirmation of the writ of habeas corpus.
A narrower interpretation of the Constitution would arguably assist in preventing further questionable practices. But Congress must take some responsibility. A more forceful Congress is crucial in preventing unwarranted growth in Executive power.
Murray Rothbard argues that war is the lifeblood of governments, as it enables the expansion and abuse of power. He finds that in the twentieth century the "single most warlike, most interventionist, most imperialist government has been the United States". Certainly, it is well documented that after beginning the century with small government, there has been a tremendous expansion in the role of government in America. Rothbard suggests this is due to the immense "military-industrial complex" brought about by the World Wars and numerous other foreign conflicts.
By this logic, foreign policy adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan has not just increased defence spending - the wars have also enabled Executive power to broaden in ways not envisioned by the founding fathers. A society where government is pervasive requires citizens to deal with layers of bureaucracy, opening up opportunities for corruption and misuse of administrative power.
The expansion of presidential power in recent times can be linked to fear. The events of September 11 were particularly shocking to Americans, for it constituted a direct attack on the homeland. While American law enforcement had encountered al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s, previous attacks were not on the same scale of destruction. Yet while the spur to aggressive action is understandable, the ends do not necessarily justify the means.