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with energy in other respects; for feebleness in this department implies feebleness in the Government ; and the rigour of action imparted to the Executive power, must be duly proportioned to the exigencies which may arise under the system.
148. The power vested in this department should, however, be proportioned as exactly as possible to the occasions which may be expected to require its exercise ; for if it fall short of them, the public sense of the protection and control of the Government will be weakened, and violations of the Law escape with impunity; and if the quantum of power exceed the exigency of the case, the liberties of the People will be in jeopardy.
149. In a written Çonstitution, it is difficult to adopt general expressions precisely descriptive of the proper extent and limitation of this power; but to guard against its abuse, as well as to insure the faithful execution of the general trusts confided to this department, the Chief Executive Magistrate should be held responsible to the People for official misconduct.
150. These three qualities of promptness, vigour, and responsibility, are most likely to exist in union with each other where the chief Executive authority is limited to a single person.
151. Unity is conducive to energy, which includes both promptness and vigour, as well as decision, activity, secrecy, and despatch; all of which will generally characterise the proceedings of one man in -a much more eminent degree than the proceedings of a greater number; and in proportion as the number is increased, those qualities will be diminished.
152. This unity in the Executive department may
be destroyed, either by vesting the power in two or more Magistrates of equal dignity; or by vesting it "ostensibly in one, subject, in whole or in part, to the control and advice of a council ; both of which me. thods are liable to similar, if not to equal, objections.
153. History and experience confirm the theoreti. cal reasoning which renders it obvious that a division of the Executive power in any form, between two or more persons, must always tend to produce dissentions and fluctuating measures, and diminish the re. spectability, as well as the authority and efficiency of the Government.
154. The division of the Executive power has also a direct tendency to destroy responsibility; for there will always be much less temptation to depart from duty, and much greater solicitude for character, where there are no partners to share the odium of bad mea. sures, or to communicate by their example, confidence in the perpetration of abuses, from the greater probability of escaping punishment.
155. Plurality in the Executive department, be. sides depriving the People of these great securities for the faithful exercise of delegated power, tends to depress the character of the nation abroad; whilst unity in that branch of the Government not only affords greater security at home, but increases that efficacy which is requisite to command the respect of foreign nations.
156. In accordance with these principles, the Executive power is vested by the Constitution in a single Chief Magistrate, under the name of “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES;" and, in the examination of the functions of this high officer,
I. The qualifications required by the Constitu
* tion for the office of President, the mode and duration of his appointment, and the provision for his support, are first to be con. sidered.
157. No person is eligible to the office of President, except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years resident within the United States.
158. To avoid the dangers and difficulties to be apprehended, under the most favourable circumstances, from the popular election of a Supreme Exécutive Magistrate for a whole nation, the Constitution does not refer the election of the President directly to the People; but confides the power to a small body of electors, representing for that purpose. the People at large, and appointed in each State under the direction of the Legislature.
159. Each State appoints, in such manner as its Legislature may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators, and Representatives, which it may be entitled to send to Congress.
160. To prevent the person in office at the time of the election from having an improper influence in procuring his re-election, it is provided that no Senator or Representative in Congress, nor any person holding an office of trust or profit under the United Stateš, shall be an elector. But in no other respect does the Constitution define the qualifications of the electors.
161. In some few of the States the electors are appointed by the Legislature itself, in a mode pre. scribed by Law; but in a great majority of States, the choice of electors is, in accordance with the clear sense and expression of public opinion, as well as with the spirit of the Constitution, referred to the People at large.
162. Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and has prescribed by law that they shall be chosen within thirty-four days previous to the election of the President. .
163. Congress has also a discretionary power to appoint the day on which the electors shall give their votes, which must be the same day throughout the Union; and is, in like manner, fixed for the first Wednesday in December in every fourth year succeeding the last election. But the place for the meeting of the electors is left to the discretion of the State Legislatures, and is usually the seat of the State Government.
164. The electors, when assembled on the day appointed, within their respective States, and duly organized by the appointment of a Chairman and Secretary from amongst themselves, and by the votes of those present, filling up vacancies occurring from death or absence, proceed to vote by ballot for two persons, one of whom, at least, must not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves.
165. According to the original Constitution, the electors were not to designate, by their ballots, which of the two persons voted for, was intended as Presi. dent, and which as Vice President; which last officer was nevertheless to be elected at the same time, in the same manner, and for the same term, as the Pre. sident; but it merely provided that the person having the greatest number of aggregate votes should be President, if such number were a majority of the whole number of electors ; and that the person having the next greatest number, if constituting such ma- . jority, should be Vice President.
166. But a subsequent amendment of the Constitution requires the electors to name, in distinct ballots, the persons voted for as President and Vice President; and declares that the person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed ; and that the person having the greatest number of votes for Vice President, if constituting such majority, shall be Vice President.
- 167. The electors in the several States are then to make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all voted for as Vice President; and of the number of votes given for each respectively ; which lists they are required by Law to sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of Government of the United States. .
168. The Act of Congress also directs the certificates of the votes to be delivered before the first Wednesday in January next ensuing the election, to the President of the Senate, who, before the second Wednesday in February thereafter, in the presence of both Houses of Congress, opens all the certificates; when the votes are counted, and the result declared.
169. The Constitution does not declare by whom the votes are to be counted and the result declared ; but the practice has been for the President of the Senate to perform those duties; the two Houses of Congress being present to witness the proceedings, and to be prepared to act in case no choice be made by the electors.