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departments. A Representative must be twenty-five, a Senator thirty, and the President thirty-five. Without adverting to the relative importance of the duties confided to each, and which may require a higher qualification, in point of age, in the case of the President than is required in the case of a Representative or Senator, it may be remarked that it will rarely happen that the people of all the states will have had an opportunity to become familiar with the character, capacity, and principles of a citizen of any one state before he has attained the age of thirty-five; or that he will have acquired that experience, knowledge, gravity of character, and solidity of judgment that ought to distinguish a President of the United States.
261. By fixing the qualification, too, at thirty-five, an opportunity is afforded for previous service in both branches of Congress, where the future candidate may acquire experience in public affairs, and at the same time become known to his countrymen. By requiring, also, a previous residence of fourteen years within the United States, he will be likely to have formed habits of attachment to his country and devotion to its institutions. The residence contemplated by the Constitution, however, does not exclude persons who are temporarily abroad in the public service, or on their private affairs.
Disability of the President.
262. 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 office, the same devolves 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 be elected.
263. In pursuance of the constitutional provision, Congress have provided that in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of the President and Vice-President, the President of the Senate pro tempore, and in case there shall be no President of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for the time being, shall act as President, until the disability be removed or a President shall be elected.
264. When the Vice-President succeeds to the office of President, upon the removal, death, or resignation of the latter, he discharges its duties until the close of the term for which the President was elected. But when he succeeds to the office upon the inability of the President, he discharges its powers and duties only so long as such inability continues. On the other hand, when the offices of President and Vice-President both become vacant, Congress have provided that a new election shall take place. Meanwhile the President of the Senate pro tempore, or, if there be no President of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives, acts as President. 265. Congress have also provided that the only evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the office of President or Vice-President shall be an instrument in writing declaring the same, and subscribed by the person refusing to accept or resigning, as the case may be, and delivered into the office of the Secretary of State. 266. In order to provide for the exigency of a vacancy in the office of President during the recess of Congress, it has become usual, as we have already seen (sec. 76), for the Vice-President, a few days before the termination of each session of Congress, to vacate the chair of the Senate, to enable that body to elect a President pro tempore.
267. The Constitution declares that 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
creased from eight to ten thousand dollars per annum. 269. A salary should be granted the President,
otherwise persons of moderate fortunes might be deterred from accepting the office, however well qualified in other respects to perform its duties; or, on the other hand, be impeded in their performance by pecuniary difficulties, and exposed to unworthy temptations in consequence of them. Congress should not have the power to increase or diminish this salary during the period for which the President was elected, because his independence would be thus endangered or destroyed. In order to prevent a diminution of
his salary on the one hand, or to obtain its augmentation on the other, he would be apt to take the will of Congress for his guide, instead of performing his duties in a firm, impartial manner. It has been justly remarked that a control over a man's living is, in most cases, a control over his actions.
270. Before entering upon the execution of his office, the President is required to take the following oath:—“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.”
271. The President is 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 relating to the duties of their respective offices; and he has power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.