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from the five highest on the list, the Senate shall choose by ballot the President; and in every case after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes shall be Vice-President; but if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them the Vice-President. The Legislature may determine the time of choosing and assembling the Electors, and the manner of certifying and transmitting their votes.
“5. Section 2. “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; nor shall any person be elected to that office, who shall be under the age of thirty-five years, and who has not been, in the whole, at least fourteen years a resident within the United States.'
"6. Section 3. The Vice President shall be ex officio President of the Senate; except when they sit to try the impeachment of the President; in which case the Chief Justice shall preside, and excepting also when he shall exercise the powers and duties of President; in which case, and in case of his absence, the Senate shall choose a president pro tempore. The Vice President, when acting as President of the Senate, shall not have a vote unless the House be equally divided.'
“7. Section 4. "The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have power to make treaties; and he shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, and other public ministers,
Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise herein provided for. But no treaty shall be made without the consent of two-thirds of the members present.
“8. After the words, 'into the service of the United States, in Section 2, Article 10, add and 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.'
“9. The latter part of Section 2, Article 10, to read as follows: 'He shall be removed from his office on impeachment by the House of Representatives, and conviction by the Senate, for treason or bribery; and in case of his removal as aforesaid, death, absence, resignation or inability to discharge the powers or duties of his office, the Vice President shall exercise those powers and duties, until another President be chosen, or until the inability of the President be removed.''
The first clause of the Report was agreed to, nem.
The second clause was also agreed to, nem. con.
The third clause was postponed, in order to decide previously on the mode of electing the President.
The fourth clause was accordingly taken up.
Mr. Gorham disapproved of making the next highest after the President the Vice President, without referring the decision to the Senate in case the next highest should have less than a majority of votes. As the regulation stands, a very obscure
man with very few votes may arrive at that appointment
Mr. SHERMAN said the object of this clause of the Report of the Committee was to get rid of the ineligibility which was attached to the mode of election by the Legislature, and to render the Executive independent of the Legislature. As the choice of the President was to be made out of the five highest, obscure characters were sufficiently guarded against in that case; and he had no objection to requiring the Vice President to be chosen in like manner, where the choice was not decided by a majority in the first instance.
Mr. Madison was apprehensive that by requiring both the President and Vice President to be chosen out of the five highest candidates, the attention of the electors would be turned too much to making candidates, instead of giving their votes in order to a definitive choice. Should this turn be given to the business, the election would in fact be consigned to the Senate altogether. It would have the effect, at the same time, he observed, of giving the nomination of the candidates to the largest States.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS concurred in, and en forced the remarks of Mr. MADISON,
Mr. RANDOLPÅ and Mr. PINCKNEY wished for a particular explanation, and discussion, of the reasons for changing the mode of electing the Executive.
Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS said, he would give the reasons of the Committee, and his own. The first was the danger of intrigue and faction, if the
appointment should be made by the Legislature. The next was the inconvenience of an ineligibility re
quired by that mode, in order to lessen its evils. The third was the difficulty of establishing a court of impeachments, other than the Senate, which would not be so proper for the trial, nor the other branch, for the impeachment of the President, if appointed by the Legislature. In the fourth place, nobody had appeared to be satisfied with an appointment by the Legislature. In the fifth place, many were anxious even for an immediate choice by the people. And finally, the sixth reason was the indispensable necessity of making the Executive independent of the Legislature. As the electors would vote at the same time, throughout the United States, and at so great a distance from each other, the great evil of cabal was avoided. It would be impossible, also, to corrupt them. A conclusive reason for making the Senate, instead of the Supreme Court, the judge of impeachments, was, that the latter was to try the President, after the trial of the impeachment.
Col. Mason confessed that the plan of the Committee had removed some capital objections, particularly the danger of cabal and corruption. It was liable, however, to this strong objection, that nineteen times in twenty the President would be chosen by the Senate, an improper body for the
purpose. Mr. BUTLER thought the mode not free from objections; but much more so than an election by the Legislature, where, as in elective monarchies, cabal, faction and violence would be sure to prevail.
Mr. PINCKNEY stated as objections to the mode, first, that it threw the whole appointment in fact, into the hands of the Senate. Secondly, the electors
will be strangers to the several candidates, and of course unable to decide on their comparative merits. Thirdly, it makes the Executive re-eligible, which will endanger the public liberty. Fourthly, it makes the same body of men which will, in fact, elect the President, his judges in case of an impeachment.
Mr. WILLIAMSON had great doubts whether the advantage of re-eligibility, would balance the objection to such a dependence of the President on the Senate for his re-appointment. He thought, at least, the Senate ought to be restrained to the two highest on the list.
Mr. Gouverneur Morris said, the principal advantage aimed at was, that of taking away the opportunity for cabal. The President may be made, if thought necessary, ineligible, on this as well as on any
other mode of election. Other inconveniences may be no less redressed on this plan than any other.
Mr. Baldwin thought the plan not so objectionable, when well considered, as at first view. The increasing intercourse among the people of the States would render important characters less and less unknown; and the Senate would consequently be less and less likely to have the eventual appointment thrown into their hands.
Mr. Wilson. This subject has greatly divided the House, and will also divide the people out of doors. It is in truth the most difficult of all on which we have had to decide. He had never made
up opinion on it entirely to his own satisfaction. He thought the plan, on the whole, a valuable improve