Page images

with the People, and, in case of need, follows a similar course; with this exception, that the ultimate choice is with the Senate, who vote by senators and not by States. The Vice-President is, ex-officio, President of the Senate, and in case of equal division, has a casting vote. Thus a man who is the choice of the People at large presides over the House, which is elected by the States in their corporate capacity.


SECTION V.-1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members; and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as each House may provide.

2. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings; punish its members for disorderly behaviour; and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.

These clauses are entirely National in their character, and are in accordance with the practice of our own House of Commons. They both form a negative on State sovereignty. The first is, of course, in constant operation. The second can point to a precedent so early

as 1797, when the Senator from Tennessee was expelled for "a high misdemeanour entirely inconsistent with his public trust and duty as a Senator;" his offence being an attempt to seduce an Indian agent from his duty, and to alienate the affections of the Indians from the authorities of the United States. He was afterwards impeached.1


SECTION VI.-1. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.

Compensation to members of Congress for their services is here provided for. It is "ascertained by law." They are not paid by the session, but by the day; and, in addition, a mileage allowance for distance between home and the seat of government is enacted. They are not paid by the separate States, but from the "Treasury of the United States." The receipt of it is not optional: the words are"They shall receive." Before doing so they take a solemn oath "to support the Constitu

1 STORY'S Comm., 299.

tion;" and thus the compensation becomes, as it was doubtless intended to be, an acknowledgment of its National character. By the first draft of the Constitution, each State must have paid its own members, in accordance with the old rule of the "Confederation;" but, for the reason we have now given, a large majority of the States ultimately decided upon payment from the National treasury.

"The compensation," says Story, "is fixed with a liberal view to the National duties, and is paid from the National purse. If the compensation had been left to be fixed by the State Legislatures, the General Government would have become dependent upon the Governments of the States; and the latter could almost at their own pleasure have dissolved it. Serious evils were felt from this source under the Confederation, by which each State was to maintain its own delegates in Congress; for it was found that the States too often were operated upon by local considerations, as contradistinguished from general and National interests."

' STORY'S Comm. Abridgment, 306,


SECTION VII.-1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.

Under the Confederation, the revenue was raised by requisitions upon each State. But the Constitution acts upon individuals, and not States. Its power, as De Tocqueville says, “is not borrowed, but self-derived." The right of orginating taxation rests therefore, as in our own House of Commons, exclusively with the representatives of the people.1



SECTION I.-1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows:

as the

2. Each State shall appoint, in such manner 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.

An amendment of the Constitution, very exactly worded, provides that there must be a 1 Democracy in America, American edition, i. 137.

clear majority of the whole body of electors to constitute an election; and if this fail, the choice from among the three highest candidates is to fall upon the House of Representatives, where the votes are to be taken by States-one vote from each State; so that in this case the election would be more Federal than National-Rhode Island having the same power as the Empire State.

We see, then, that in the United States the choice of President is left, in the first instance, to the people in every State, voting in proportion to the population, by means of a double election. Our own Crown is at once elective and hereditary, for it is subject, by the Act of Settlement, to the consent of Parliament. The office of President differs from it principally in this, that it is vacated every four years, and that its occupant is chosen by the People, and its power controlled by their representatives. In all other respects the power of the President is not less than that of the English Crown; in one respect it is practically greater, because the legislative veto, being subject to reversal by the votes of

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »