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The rituals that surrounded the inauguration of Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States – the Bible readings, the patriotic anthems –reminded us that the bonds of belief in the American republic are deep, that what has been done over almost 2-1/2 centuries will not easily be undone, that not even this President will be able to casually dismantle the legacy of his predecessors, despite his belligerent, populist, dangerously protectionist inaugural address.

"January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again," Mr. Trump vowed, as four living presidents who had done their best, by their lights, to serve those people, stood behind him. Chin jutting out. Scowl fixed. Even as he read the oath of office, his hand on the Lincoln Bible, he swaggered.

We should fear this swaggering President. In his address, he vowed to undermine the global economic order that has not only brought peace and prosperity to the West, but has lifted a billion people out of extreme poverty in the past 20 years. The final billion were on track to be rescued by 2030, by United Nations estimates, before Mr. Trump arrived, vowing trade wars left and right.

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"We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs," he declared, ushering in a new and dark age of protectionism. "Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength." History tells us it leads only to impoverishment and war.

Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, has tacitly admitted he's afraid of the impact Trumpian protectionism could have on the global and Canadian economy. Why shouldn't we be afraid, too?

Beyond his pledge to dismantle a global order forged in Bretton Woods and accelerated through globalization and the digital revolution, there was that raw populism, something we have never heard in living memory from a President.

"We are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the American people," he declared.

For as long as there has been a Washington, there have been politicians running against its cloistered power. But this was different.

"The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer," he vowed. "Everyone is listening to you now." Huey Long, the dangerously populist and autocratic governor of Louisiana, whose ambitions terrified Franklin Roosevelt before the Kingfish was struck down by an assassin's bullet, would have used those words.

So how do we get through this? First and foremost, there's the Constitution, which was expressly designed to constrain the executive. People lament that, in Washington's deeply polarized environment, nothing gets done because the Constitution demands consensus between the executive and both houses of Congress, with further review by the Supreme Court. This is why the founders insisted on that consensus: to constrain an overreaching executive.

In their confirmation hearings, Mr. Trump's cabinet nominees came across as knowledgeable, qualified, anything but rogue. Apart from a near-universal animus toward China, they shared the world view you would expect from old, rich, powerful, conservative, white men. For better or worse, such men have run the country for most of its history.

In any case, it is only 654 days until the midterm congressional elections, when American voters will again have their say.

The American republic is robust. American innovation will continue to thrive while Donald Trump is President. American culture will continue to dominate the world. Governors will govern their states, and some of those states will join Canadian provinces in fighting climate change, whatever Mr. Trump may think.

Let's never take our eyes off this President, even for a moment. Let's hold him to account as no administration has ever been held to account. But let's also remember: America is a strong country. It will endure.

The members of the crowd on the Washington Mall The Globe spoke to at tDonald Trump's inauguration were excited, with high hopes for the incoming President.

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