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indifferent to their success or failure. Thus, that open and public responsibility for measures, which properly belongs to the Executive in all governments, and especially in a republican government, as its greatest security and strength, is completely done away. The Executive is compelled to resort to secret and unseen influence, to private interviews, and private arrangements, to accomplish his own appropriate purposes ; instead of proposing and sustaining his own duties and measures by a bold and manly appeal to the nation in the face of its representatives. One consequence of this state of things, is, that there never can be traced home to the Executive any responsibility for the measures, which are planned, and carried at his suggestion. Patronage may be quite as effective under a different form. It may confer office on a friend, or a relative, or a dependent. The hope of office, in future, may seduce a man from his duty, as much as its present possession. And, after all, the chief guards against venality, in all governments, must be placed in the high virtue, the unspotted hcnor, and the pure patriotism of public men. On this account, it has been doubted, whether the exclusion of the Heads of Departments from Congress, has not led to the use of indirect and irresponsible influence, on the part of the Executive, over the measures of Congress, far more than could exist, if the Heads of Departments held seats in Congress, and might be there compelled to avow and defend their own opinions. The provision, however, as it stands, has hitherto been found acceptable to the American people, and ought not lightly to be surrendered.
Mode of Passing Laws.
$ 147. The seventh section of the first article, declares the mode of passing laws. The first clause is, "All bills for raising revenue, shall originate in the House of Representatives ; but the Senate may propose, or concur with amendments, as in other bills.” This clause had its origin in the known rule of the British Parliament, that all money bills shall originate in the House of Commons. And so jealous are the House of Commons of this valuable privilege, that they will not suffer the House of Lords to make the least alteration or amendment to any such bill. The general reason, assigned for this privilege, in that kingdom, is, that all taxes and supplies, raised upon the people, should originate with their immediate representatives. But, in truth, it was intended by the popular branch of the legislature, by this course, to acquire a permanent importance in the government; and to be able to counterpoise the influence of the House of Lords, a body having hereditary rights and dignity. The same reason does not apply, with the same, force to our republican forms of government. But still, as the same power was exercised under some of the State governments, and as the House of Representatives may be deemed peculiarly well fitted to bring, to such subjects, a full knowledge of the local interests, as well as of the wishes and opinions of the people, there is no inconvenience in allowing to the House the exclusive right to originate all such bills in the course of legislation. But, as taxes and revenue laws may bear with great inequality upon some of the States, and, above all, as direct taxes are, and must, according to the Constitution, be apportioned among the States according to the ratio of their population, as already stated, a power to amend such laws is properly reserved to the Senate, where all the States possess an equal voice. The due influence of all the States is thus preserved over a subject of such vital importance ; and it might otherwise happen, that, from the overwhelming representation of some of the large States, in the House of Representatives, taxes might be levied, which would bear, with peculiar severity and hardship, upon the agricultural, commercial, or manufacturing, interests of the smaller States ; and thus the equilibrium of power, of influence, and of interest, of the several States, in the National councils, might be practically subverted.
§ 148. The next clause respects the power of the President to approve and negative laws. It is as follows :—“Every bill, which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States. If he approve, he shall sign it ; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House, in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large, on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall, likewise, be reconsidered ; and, if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But, in all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill, shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner, as if he had signed it, unless the Congress, by their adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.”
§ 149. The reasons, why the President should possess a qualified negative, (for an absolute negative would be highly objectionable,) are, if not quite obvious, at least, when fairly expounded, entirely satisfactory. In the first place, there is a natural tendency, in the legislative department, to intrude upon the rights, and to absorb the powers, of the other departments of the government. If the Executive did not possess this qualified negative, he might gradually be stripped of all his authority, and become, what the Governors of some of the States now are, a mere pageant, and a shadow of magistracy.
§ 150. In the next place, the power is important, as an additional security against the enactment of rash, immature, and improper laws. In the third place, the President may fairly be deemed the representative of the whole nation, the choice being produced by a different modification of interests and opinions and votes, from that by which the choice of either branch of the National Le
gislature is produced, either that representing the People, or that representing the States. His power, therefore, of a qualified negative, being founded upon the supposition, that he truly represents all the interests and opinions of the Union, introduces a useful element, to check any preponderating interest of any section, in a particular measure. It does not, like an absolute negative, suspend legislation, but it merely refers the subject back, for a more deliberate review of the Senate and House. If two thirds of each branch still concur in favor of the measure, it becomes a law. Thus, a thorough revision of the measure is guarantied; and, at the same time, the deliberate wishes of the States, and of the people, cannot be disobeyed. If two thirds of each branch do not dissent from the President's opinion, the natural inference is, that the measure is not so far beyond all reasonable objections, that it ought ordinarily to prevail. The negative of the President was undoubtedly designed by the Constitution to be applied only on extraordinary occasions and exigencies; and if it were to be applied to the common course of legislation, it might be fraught with great public mischiefs, and weaken, if not overthrow, the just power of legislation by Congress, since it may be presumed, that it can rarely happen, in a country, having such a diversity of interests, and pursuits, and opinions, as ours, that a clear majority of two thirds of each House can be obtained against the known wishes, and natural influence of the Executive department. On the other hand, if Congress should often be driven, by the frequent use of it, to pass laws, in opposition to the President's negative, it would gradually introduce a disregard of his opinions, and a hostile opposition to his authority. Such a state of things would, certainly, in every view, be most inconvenient and undesirable. The evil, however, could scarcely be of a very long continuance ; for, if the President should abuse his power, (as certainly he sometimes may,) the people have the proper remedies in their own hands, and can compel him to relinquish office at no distant period.
$ 151. But the qualified negative is not left wholly without restraint. The President must promptly exercise it, within ten days, excluding Sunday ; otherwise, the bill becomes a law. And, on the other hand, Congress are deprived of the power of preventing its due exercise by a hasty adjournment within the ten days, so as to leave the President without sufficient time for due deliberation. If a qualified negative is to be allowed at all, it would seem thus to be as much restrained, as the public good can require, or, at least, as much, as its proper exercise can justify.
§ 152. The remaining clause provides a like regulation in regard to orders, resolutions, and votes, to which the concurrence of both Houses is necessary. It is,“Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary, (except on a question of adjournment,) shall be presented to the President of the United States ; and, before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.” If this provision had not been made, Congress, by adopting the form of an order, or resolution, or vote, instead of a bill, might have effectually defeated the President's negative in many important portions of legislation. The reason of the exception as to adjournments, is, that this power is peculiarly fit to be acted upon by Congress, according to their own discretion; and, therefore, it is, (as we have seen,) by a preceding clause, vested in both Houses, and devolves on the President, only in cases of their disagreement.
$ 153. We have now completed the review of the structure and organization of the legislative department; and, it has been shown, that it is admirably adapted for a wholesome and upright exercise of the powers confided to it. All the checks, which human ingenuity has been able to devise, or at least all, which, with reference to our habits, our institutions, and our diversities of local interests, seem practicable, to give perfect operation to the machinery, to adjust its movements, to prevent its eccentricities, and to balance its forces; all these have