Imágenes de páginas

ington and Adams, used to meet both Houses of Congress in person, and deliver addresses to them concerning national affairs. This practice was discontinued by Mr. Jefferson, upon the occasion of his first annual message, and written messages have taken the place of such speeches. Congress is not obliged to adopt the recommendations made by the President, but may take such action therein as in its judgment it shall deem proper. $445. The power to call together both Houses, or either House, of Congress, on extraordinary occasions, is given to the President, because circumstances may arise during the recess in which he might require their advice and assistance. It is under the power thus given, that special sessions of Congress have sometimes been called by the President. § 446. When the two Houses of Congress cannot, themselves, agree upon the time to which they shall adjourn, the President is authorized to adjourn them to such time as he may think proper. $447. The President is authorized to receive ambassadors and other public ministers, because he is the chief magistrate of the country, and is at the head of the government. Consuls are not mentioned in this clause by name, but they have been considered as included within the general language employed. Foreign ministers must present their credentials to the President, which must receive his allowance, or exeguatur, as it is called, before they can perform any official act. § 448. By the clause we are now considering it is mado the duty of the President to “take care that the laws are faithfully executed;” that is, the laws of the United States. This duty is properly charged upon him because he is the chief executive officer of the government. As commander

in-chief of the army and navy, he has ample means of enforcing the observance of the laws.

$449. It belongs to the executive department to execute every law which Congress has the constitutional authority to enact. But if the President should mistake the meaning of an act of Congress, and in consequence of such mistake should give instructions not warranted by the act, any injured party might recover damages against the officer acting under those instructions, which, although given by the President, would furnish no justification or eXCuSe.

$450. The President commissions all the officers of the United States, because the appointing power is vested in him, jointly with the Senate. The commissions of the public officers appointed by the President, are signed by him, and have the great seal of the United States affixed thereto. (See § 427.)

“SECTION 4. The President, Vice-President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

$451. The power of impeachment does not extend to all citizens, but only to the President, the Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States. By civil officers of the United States, are meant all officers who hold appointments, either of an executive or a judicial character, under the general government. But officers in the army or navy are not considered as civil officers, and are not, therefore, liable to impeachment; they are subject, however, to the discipline of the army and navy, to trial by a court-martial, and to dismission from the service by the President. . §452. The words “crimes” and “misdemeanors” have nearly the same signification, but in common usage the word “crimes” is intended to denote offences of a more serious character, while “misdemeanors” denotes those of less consequence. Bribery, as used here, is the giving of money or reward to, or its receipt by, a person in office, as a compensation for acting contrary to his duty. $453. It has generally been considered that members of the Senate and House of Representatives are not liable to impeachment, inasmuch as they hold their appointment under the State, or from the people they represent, and not from the national government. We have already described the proceedings in impeachment; see $114. $454. In England the king is not constitutionally answerable for any of his official misconduct. It is presumed that he acts always by the advice of his ministers, and they are, therefore, held personally responsible for all political measures adopted during their administration. It is for this reason that the ministers resign as soon as they find that a majority of Parliament is against them. But in the United States, the President is, by the Constitution, answerable himself for his own official misconduct, and is, as we have just seen, liable to impeachment for treason, bribery, or other high crime or misdemeanor. $455. The President, in all cases where his official authority and duty are not brought in question, is merely a private citizen, subject to the usual duties and obligations of a citizen. Therefore, if his testimony is necessary in any case for the purposes of justice, he may be subpoe. naed into court and examined as a witness, and may be required to produce papers just as any other citizen, unless the papers relate to State affairs, which should not be disclosed.

$456. The following is a list of the Presidents and VicePresidents for each Presidential term of four years:–

[blocks in formation]


1st, From March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1793. 2d, March 4, 1793, to March 4, 1797. 3d, March 4, 1797, to March 4, 1801. 4th, March 4, 1801, to March 4, 1805. 5th, March 4, 1805, to March 4, 1809. 6th, March 4, 1809, to March 4, 1813. 7th, March 4, 1813, to March 4, 1817. 8th, March 4, 1817, to March 4, 1821. 9th, March 4, 1821, to March 4, 1825. 10th, March 4, 1825, to March 4, 1829. . 11th, March 4, 1829, to March 4, 1833. 12th, March 4, 1833, to March 4, 1837. 13th, March 4, 1837, to March 4, 1841. 14th, March 4, 1841, to March 4, 1845.

15th, March 4, 1845, to March 4, 1849.

16th, March 4, 1849, to March 4, 1853.

17th, March 4, 1853, to March 4, 1857.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


$457. THE executive and administrative business of the government is not all managed directly by the President himself, but has, by various acts of Congress, been distributed among several executive departments, viz.: (1.) Department of State. (2.) Department of the Navy. (3.) Department of War. (4.) Department of Treasury. (5.) Post-office Department. (6.) Department of the Interior. $458. The heads of these departments, together with the Attorney General of the United States, are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, and they constitute what is termed the cabinet, with whom the President consults confidentially upon public affairs. The Vice-President of the United States is not a member of the cabinet. $459. They are the constitutional advisers of the President, and he is authorized by the Constitution (Art. II. sec. 2, clause 1) to “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.” These officers are again recognised by the Constitution in the clause which vests the appointment of certain inferior officers “in the heads of departments,” (Art. II. sec. 2,

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »