« AnteriorContinuar »
THE EXECUTIVE AND JUDICIAL DEPARTMENTS.
ALL executive power is vested in a single officer styled The President of the United States.
Term. His term of service is four years; and he may be re-elected. The example of Washington in declining a second re-election has practically limited the term of the office to two consecutive terms.
The President is required to have the following qualifications : 1. He must be a native citizen. 2. He must be at least thirty-five years of age. 3. He must have been for at least fourteen years a resident in the United States.
The manner of choosing a President is as follows: —
Mode of Elec1. The people of each State choose a tion. body of men called Electors. The number of these is the same as the number of senators and representatives which the State sends to : Congress. No senator, or representative, or person holding any office of trust or profit under the United States, can be an elector. A law requires electors to be chosen in all the States on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November.
2. The electors meet in their respective States, usu
ally in the capital, and vote by ballot for Electoral Vote.
amer president. The Constitution requires the electors to vote on the same day in all the States; and a law fixes the first Wednesday in December as the time. The electors make three lists, each containing the names of the persons voted for, and the number of votes for each. These lists are signed by all the electors, and sealed; and a person is appointed by them to carry one list to the president of the senate, at the seat of the national government; another is sent by mail, directed to the same officer; and the third is delivered to the judge of the United States Court for the district in which the electors meet. .
3. If a list of votes has not been received from a Counting the State at the seat of government by the first Votes.
Wednesday in January, a messenger is sent for the one in the hands of the district judge. On the second Wednesday in February, the two houses of Congress meet as one body; and the president of the senate opens the certificates. The votes are then counted by tellers appointed for the purpose; and the person, if such there be, having a number of votes equal to a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, is declared elected. 4. If no person has such majority, then the represen
tatives proceed at once to choose a presiHouse of Repre- dent. For this purpose two-thirds of the
. States must be represented. The voting is by ballot and by States, each State having one vote; and a majority of the States is required for election. The choice of the house must be from the three persons having the highest numbers of electoral votes. The
balloting of the house may continue until the 4th of March ensuing ; when, if there has been no choice, the vice-president assumes the duties of president.
The mode of election as above described is contained in an amendment to the Constitution. The Original Mode original mode, as prescribed by the Consti- of Election. tution, was different. The electors, instead of voting separately for president and vice-president, each voted for two persons, without specifying the office. When the votes were counted, the person having a majority of the votes was declared president; and the person having the next highest number was declared vicepresident. If two persons had a majority, and each had the same number of votes, the house of representatives chose between them. Thomas Jefferson was thus chosen. If no one had a majority, the representatives proceeded to choose a president from the five names on the list having the most votes. John Quincy Adams was chosen by the House after the amendment.
The president may be removed from office by impeachment; and in case of such removal, or death, or resignation, or inability to perform the duties of the office, the Constitution provides that these duties shall devolve upon the vice-president. If neither should be able to perform the duties, Congress has by law declared that the president pro tempore of the senate, or, if there be no such officer at the time, the speaker of the house of representatives, shall act as president of the United States. It is customary for the vice-president to leave the chair of the senate just before the close of each session, that a president pro tempore may be chosen, who, in case the offices of president and vice-president of the United States should
both become vacant during the recess, may perform the duties of president. When both offices become vacant, the law requires
that electors shall be chosen in the States, New Election.
and persons elected to fill the vacancies in the same way as in the regular elections; provided notice of the vacancy can be communicated to the States two months before the first Wednesday in December. Otherwise the election is deferred until the succeeding year. At noon on the fourth day of March, the chief justice
of the supreme court of the United States Oath of Office.
en administers to the president elect the oath of office required by the Constitution: 66 I do solemnly swear 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.” This ceremony is the inauguration of the president; and it is customary for him to deliver an address appropriate to the occasion. The compensation of the president is fixed by Con
gress; but the Constitution requires that Salary.
it shall not be increased or diminished during his term of service, and that he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or from any of the States. During the first term of Washington's administration, the salary was fixed at twenty-five thousand dollars a year; and it remained unchanged until 1873, when it was raised to fifty thousand dollars a year. In addition to this, the executive mansion, called the White House, is furnished to the president rent free, together with its furniture, fuel, lights, care of grounds, etc.
THE VICE-PRESIDENT. When the electors vote for president, they also vote by distinct ballots for a vice-president.
Election. They make similar lists of the persons voted for, and send them with the others; and the votes are counted at the same time. The person having a majority of the electoral votes is declared vice-president. If no person has such majority, the senate proceeds at once to choose a vice-president from the two persons having the highest number of votes.
The qualifications requisite for the vice-president are the same as for the president; and he is
Duties. chosen for the same term. He is not strictly connected with the executive department, having no executive functions unless in case of a vacancy in the office of president, when he assumes the duties of that position. He is more closely connected with the legislative department, being president of the senate, though he has no vote unless the senate be equally divided. The salary of the vice-president is fixed by Congress, and is now eight thousand dollars a year.
The choice of president and vice-president by electors, and not directly by the people,
Nomination, would seem to preclude a previous nomi- . nation. This was doubtless the intention of the framers of the Constitution, to avoid the excitement of a popular election. But in this respect the purposes of the fathers have been defeated. Each of the political parties of the country has a national, as well as a State, committee. In the summer preceding the choice of electors, these committees issue calls for national conventions composed of delegates from the States. These