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on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the United States, and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress. $359. This clause, nevertheless, leaves to the States the right to enact and enforce inspection laws. By inspection laws are meant laws requiring certain articles of commerce to be examined, and their quality, soundness, or healthfulness to be ascertained by officers called inspectors. The object of these laws is not to raise a revenue, but to protect the public from fraud and imposition, and to ascertain the character of the merchandise, so that it shall be suitable for exportation abroad or for domestic use. $ 360. The legislature of Maryland, in 1821, passed an act requiring every importer of goods by wholesale, bale, or package, and every person selling the same by wholesale, bale, or package, to take out a license and pay for it, with certain penalties in case of refusal. The Supreme Court of the United States decided that the act was a violation of the clause we are now considering, and therefore unconstitutional and void. $361. To tax the importer, or to tax the goods in the hands of the importer, was considered by the court to be in effect a tax on imports. If a tax could be levied in that form by a State, it might be levied to such a burdensome extent as to restrain importation, and thus diminish the revenue of the general government from imports, so far as it was drawn from importations into that particular State. $362. But when the importer has so acted upon the
goods imported, that they have become incorporated and mixed up with the mass of property in the country, they then lose their distinctive character as imports, and are subject to be taxed by a State. While, however, they reremain the property of the importer, in his warehouse, in the original form or packages in which they were imported, a tax upon them is a duty on imports, and, as such, is prohibited by this clause.
[Clause 3.] “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such
imminent Danger as will not admit of Delay.”
§ 363. We have already considered the nature of tonnage duties, (§ 197,) and have seen that Congress has power to lay such duties as a part of its general authority to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. It is also in some measure connected with the regulation of commerce, which is likewise intrusted to Congress. This clause does not absolutely prohibit the States from laying a duty on tonnage, but declares that they shall not do so without the consent of Congress, in order that Congress may have supervision and control of the whole subject.
§ 364. The States are also prohibited from keeping troops, or ships of war, in time of peace, except with consent of Congress. The power to declare war, raise and support armies and navies, and provide for the common defence, is vested in Congress, whose authority, extending over all the States, can produce uniformity in the movements, organization, and discipline of the army and navy. But, as it may happen to be necessary in time of peace that the States should keep ships or troops, they are authorized to do so with the consent of Congress. In time of war, the consent of Congress is not made necessary. $365. Another restriction is, that no State shall, with out the consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power. Otherwise, some of the States might possibly form combinations of a political character among themselves, or with foreign powers, which would seriously embarrass the general government or endanger the whole Union. $366. Nor can a State, without the consent of Congress, engage in war, unless it be actually invaded, or is in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay. The power to declare war is vested in the national representatives. Great evils would result to the other States if a single State could declare war whenever it was disposed to do so. The Articles of Confederation contained a provision nearly similar to the above. (Art. 6, see. 1.)
THE EXECUTIVE POWER.
ARTICLE I. as we have seen, treats of the legislative department; we now enter upon Article II., which treats of the executive department.
SECTION 1. [Clause 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.”
$367. By the Articles of Confederation, the executive power was vested in the Congress while it was sitting, and, during the recess, it was delegated, under certain restrictions, to what was called “a committee of the States,” consisting of one delegate from each State, (Art. 9 and 10.) There was no single individual in whom the executive power was vested, and this was considered one of the most serious practical defects of the confederate government.
§ 368. In some countries the executive power is in the hands of several persons, who exercise it jointly, with equal authority and rank. This division of power is apt to lead to a difference of opinion, and to dissension, rivalry, and jealousy between the different magistrates who exercise the power, which occasion delay, unsteadiness, and weakness of action in the government. To prevent these evils, as well as to secure other advantages, the Constitution intrusts the executive power to a single individual, whose title is the President of the United States of America. § 369. When the Constitution was framed, there was much difference of opinion as to the length of time for which the President should hold his office. If the period is too short, the government will be constantly changing hands; one administration will be succeeded by another, before its plans and policy have had a fair trial, and before it has had sufficient time to acquire knowledge from experience; thus there would be no stability in public affairs. $370. Four years, the period finally agreed upon, is intermediate between two years, the period for which representatives are chosen, and six years, the period for which senators are chosen; so that, in one presidential term, the House of Representatives may be twice wholly changed, and two-thirds of the Senate may be changed. § 371. The term of four years, for which the President and Vice-President are chosen, commences on the fourth day of March next succeeding the day on which the votes of the electors are given, which last-mentioned day, according to an act of Congress, is the first Wednesday in December in every fourth year succeeding the presidential election; and the term expires at the end of the third day of March in the fourth year thereafter. There is nothing in the Constitution to limit the number of terms for which a President may be successively reelected; but as George Washington, the first President, declined to be a candidate again at the close of his second term of office, his example has become a precedent by which subsequent Presidents have guided themselves, and