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CHOOSING THE PRESIDENT.
power be vested in one person," and he also suggested the choice by special electors.2 The four years' term was fixed by the Committee of Eleven.3 The exclusion of Senators, follows: * The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest umber of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such a Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse, by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a MajorIty, then from the five highest on the List, the said House shall in like manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the VicePresident.
4. The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors; and the day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
5. No Person except a natural-born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
1 June 1, Elliot, V, 140; see also Rutledge and Pinckney, June 2, p. 149.
2 June 2, Id. p. 143; see also Madison, July 19; Elliot Id. 337, and Ellsworth, Id. p. 338.
3 September 4, Elliot, Id. 507. *See Amendment XII.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORS.
Representatives and United States officials from an appointment as an elector was suggested by King and Gerry. The nearest approach to a precedent for the electors was the manner of choosing State Senators in Maryland. The term "appointed” as applying to the electors, was suggested by Mason. Sherman proposed the election of the President by the House of Representatives in certain cases, 5 The governors of the States, at the time when the national Constitution was made, were usually native-born Americans, and as required by most of the constitutions, at least thirty years of age. The qualifications of citizenship, age, and residence, were the work of the Committee of Detail and the Committee of Eleven, though the required age of thirty-five years was proposed by Rutledge.? In no important particular did the Constitution depart from the State instruments so widely as in its provision for the election of the President. The New England States and New York chose their chief executive by popular vote, but the remaining States by joint ballot of the two Houses.
1 2. Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
2 September 6, Elliot, V, 515.
3 Maryland, 1776, Articles XIV and XVIII.
6 For the qualifications of governors, 1776 to 1800, see the Constitutional History of the American People, 1776-1850, Vol. I, pp.
7 August 20, Elliot, V, 462.
The Committee of Eleven originated the clause providing for the succession in case of the removal of the President or Vice-President; and the Committee of Detail, the clause on the President's compensation and his power to fill vacancies. This committee also formulated the oath, though its language was mostly taken from the constitutions of New York and Vermont. Its concluding phrase was suggested by Mason and Madison. That the President should be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States and of the militia, originated with Sherman, but it had been suggested by Madison in his letter to Washington and was a part of Hamilton's plan. Madison and Butler proposed the phrase giving the President power to require the opinions of the heads of departments, though the language in which the entire subject was finally clothed must be attributed to the Committee of Eleven. The
16. In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation, or Inability both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
7. The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be Increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period, any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
8. Before he enter on the Execution of his Office he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:-“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will, to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
2 Section 2: 1. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the Executive Departments, upon any Subject
President's participation, with the Senate, in the treatymaking power, was taken from Hamilton's plan, though Rutledge and Gerry suggested the requirement that twothirds of the Senators present concur in a treaty. The power of the President to fill offices, and to appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and judges, was first proposed by Madison,and later by Gorham, Gouverneur Morris and Dickinson. The power of the President to fill
relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of Impeachment.
2. He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other Public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law; but the Congress may by Law vest the appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of or in the Heads of Departments.
3. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of the next Session.
1. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as be shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers, he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the Officers of the United States.
Section 4: 1. The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
1 September 8, Elliot, V, 527.
2 Madison, June 1, Elliot, V, 141; Gorham, July 18, Id. p. 328; Morris, Id. p. 330; Dickinson, August 24, Id. p. 474.
vacancies during the recess of the Senate was suggested by Spaight;' and his pardoning power, by the Committee of Detail.
Most of these immediate suggestions for the Executive, it will be noticed, were well founded in American precedents. As far back as the Albany plan it had been proposed to give the president-general the power to make treaties with the Indians, to regulate trade, and to declare peace or war with them, with the advice of the grand council.? So, too, the Speaker of this grand council was to succeed the president-general in case of his death, resignation or removal, but the chief precedents for the provisions now adopted were to be found in the State constitutions. The lieutenant governor might succeed the governor in New York, Massachusetts and South Carolina, and the VicePresident, the chief executive in Delaware and New Jersey.
4 The oldest in commission in the council succeeded him in Maryland. The Speaker of the Senate or of the House, in North Carolina and the senior senator, in New Hampshire. Five of the State constitutions made particular provision for the compensation of the chief executive.? The governor of New York took oath that he would take care that the laws be faithfully executed to the best of his
1 September 7, Elliot, V, 524.
2 Similar provisions were proposed in the Hutchinson plan; see Carson, II, 476-477.
3 New York, 77, Article XX; Massachusetts, 1780, Part 1, Chapter II, Section 2, Article III; South Carolina, 1778, Article VIII.
4 Delaware, 1776, Article VII; New Jersey, 1776, Article VII.
5 Maryland, 1776, Article XXXII; North Carolina, 1776, Article XIX.
6 New Hampshire, 1784.
7 Virginia, 1776, Section 7; North Carolina, 1776, Article XXI; South Carolina, 1776, Article XXXIV; 1778, Article XXXVII; Massachusetts, 1780, Part 1, Chapter II, Section 1, Article XIII; New Hampshire, 1784.