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67. Military Powers of the President. - As the Constitution makes the President commander-in-chief of the army and navy, he has complete control over their movements. For instance, when Mr. Roosevelt was President, he sent the navy around the world in order that the men might gain experience and that other nations might be impressed with its strength. Some congressmen objected to the cost and threatened to withhold the necessary appropriation. Mr. Roosevelt is said to have replied: “Very well, the existing appropriation will carry the navy halfway around the world and if Congress chooses to leave it on the other side, all right.” President Polk
Copyright, Underwood & Underwood, N. Y. PRESIDENT WILSON REVIEWING THE WEST POINT CADETS.
brought on the Mexican War by ordering the troops across the Nueces River, and President Wilson narrowly averted another war with Mexico in 1914 when he sent the navy to Vera Cruz.
The President directs campaigns and could take personal command of the army or navy if he wished. So long as he acts within the rules of international law he may do anything to weaken the power of the enemy. For instance, he may order the confiscation of property used by the enemy for warlike purposes. In the exercise of this power President Lincoln
Senate has agreed to a treaty providing for the payment of money the House has concurred on a bill appropriating it.
issued the emancipation proclamation during the Civil War, freeing the slaves in certain Southern States.
Whenever the enforcement of federal laws is prevented by combinations too strong to be suppressed by the courts with their marshals, the President may send United States regular troops to protect the mails and interstate commerce, as Cleveland did in 1894 during the Pullman strike at Chicago; or he may call out State militia, as Lincoln did in 1861. When the army occupies the enemy's territory, the President, as commander-in-chief, may assume control of the government, as Lincoln did in certain Southern States during the Civil War, or as McKinley did in Porto Rico and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War.
In case of domestic violence the legislature of a State, or the governor if the legislature is not in session, may request the President to send regular troops into the State to restore order.
68. President's Part in Legislation. The President is primarily an executive officer, but the Constitution bestows upon him many powers which enable him to influence legislation.
Presidential Messages. — When Congress meets in December the President sends his annual message to Congress, and from time to time during the term he sends special messages. In these messages he recommends the enactment of certain laws. They may be laws which the party platform pledged to enact, laws recommended by heads of the departments of administration, or possibly a personal hobby. Most presidents have had their messages read in each house by a clerk, but Wilson and Harding have read their messages to the two houses assembled in one of the chambers. Different parts of the messages are referred to appropriate committees. Full reports from the heads of departments usually accompany the annual message.
The consideration of the recommendations depends upon the influence of the President. They are at least valuable to form public opinion, because the daily papers publish the messages and comment freely upon them.
Extraordinary Sessions. A President may call an extra session of Congress whenever he deems it proper. In 1921 Harding called an extra session. When it convened he appeared in person before the houses meeting in joint session, and urged tariff and tax revision. The session continued from April 11 until November 23. During this time Congress revised the tax laws, passed a budget law, and debated tariff at some length.
Congress then adjourned for a short vacation before the regular session convened the first Monday in December.
Issue of Ordinances. When the President must execute a law which does not specify means for its enforcement it is necessary for him to issue an ordinance prescribing uniform means for the enforcement of the same. Inasmuch as the Constitution makes the President commander-in-chief of the army and navy he may issue ordinances for their regulation. Congress frequently authorizes the President to issue ordinances for specific purposes. For instance, Con gress has authorized the President to govern the Panama Canal Zone, and in so doing he has the power to issue legislative ordinances.1
The Veto - The President, for any reason, may veto any bill or joint resolution passed by Congress. This veto power
2 enables the President, who is the only representative of all the people, to act as a check upon the legislative branch. Unfortunately the President must sign or veto a bill in its entirety. If he could veto certain items in appropriation bills, as the governors
many States may do, a bold President could save much revenue by preventing appropriations for such purposes as dredging rivers where there is little navigation or building post offices where government buildings are not needed.
Inasmuch as the President can introduce a bill into Congress only through some congressman, he seldom prepares one ; but as party leader he coöperates with any committee of Congress that is preparing an important bill. For instance, when the Currency Bill was being prepared during the summer of 1913, Congressman Glass, Chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee, was continually conferring with President Wilson, and relying upon his influence as party leader to secure the passage of the measure.
i The following proclamation issued by President Taft, as governor of the Canal Zone, is an example of ordinances issued by the President:
“I, William Howard Taft, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Act of Congress, approved August 24, 1912, to provide for the opening, maintenance, protection, and operation of the Panama Canal and the sanitation and government of the Canal Zone, do hereby prescribe and proclaim the following rates of toll to be paid by vessels using the Panama Canal :
1. On merchant vessels carrying passengers or cargo, one dollar and twenty cents ($1.20) per net vessel ton- each one hundred (100) cubic feet of actual earning capacity.
2. On vessels in ballast without passengers or cargo forty (40) per cent less than the rate of tolls for vessels with passengers or cargo.
3. Upon naval vessels other than transports, colliers, hospital ships, and supply ships, one dollar and twenty cents ($1.20) per net ton, the vessels to be measured by the same rules as are employed in determining the net tonnage of merchant vessels.
The Secretary of War will prepare and prescribe such rules for the measurement of vessels and such regulations as may be necessary and proper to carry this proclamation into full force and effect.”
2 Joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution are not sent to the President. This is the only exception.
Extra-Legal Methods. There are many indirect methods by which a President can persuade congressmen to support his measures, although he has no part directly in legislation. Roosevelt threatened to “take the stump” against congressmen who would not support his measures, and Lincoln allowed a congressman to name the appointee to a $20,000 position in the Custom House of New York in consideration of a vote which was necessary to admit Nevada into the Union, for without Nevada's vote Amendment XIII to the Constitution of the United States could not have been ratified.
69. Pardoning Power. — The pardoning power of the President is absolute for all offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment, where a pardon may never be granted. Of course he cannot pardon offences against State law; but for crimes committed in territories or the District of Columbia, or offences against federal laws such as the postal, revenue, or banking laws, the accused may be pardoned either before or after conviction.
If an individual is involved, a pardon is seldom granted before conviction. But in 1889 President Harrison issued a proclamation known as amnesty, which pardoned the Mormons who had violated the anti-polygamy laws applying to the territories of the United States. The President may pardon conditionally provided the condition is reasonable, or he may commute a sentence by decreasing the penalty. He may reduce a fine or remit it entirely. By a law of 1910 a board of parole was created at each of the three federal prisons. This board hears applications for release on parole and makes recommendations to the Attorney-General, who grants or refuses the parole. 70. Independence of the President. - The President, as head
, of one of the three branches of government, must have a degree
1 At Leavenworth, Kan., Atlanta, Ga., and McNeil Island, Wash.