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dent, as in case of the death, resignation, or removal of the President. Such a case as this has never occurred. If no man has for Vice-President a majority of the votes of the Electors appointed, then the Senate shall choose one of the persons having the two highest numbers on the list for Vice-President. R. M. Johnson lacked one vote of an election in 1836, and the Senate promptly elected him. When the election of the President goes to the House, and the election of the Vice-President to the Senate, the Vice-President may be chosen first.
Section 1, Clause 4.—The Congress may determine the time of choosing the Electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes ; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
Days Fixed.- The Continental Congress appointed the first Wednesday in January, 1789, as the day for choosing the first Electors; the first Wednesday in February as the day for the Electors to give their votes, and the first Wednesday in March as the day for the new Government to go into operation. In 1792 Congress enacted that the appointment of Electors should be made within thirtyfour days preceding the first Wednesday of December, every fourth year; and this rule continued in force until 1845, when Congress made the day uniform throughout the Union,—the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November. From 1792 to 1887 the Electors gave their votes on the first Wednesday in December; the present rule is the second Monday in January. The Old Congress did not fix the day for opening the certificates and counting the votes in 1789; it was done April 16, but since that date the rule has been the second Wednesday of February. The propriety of uniform days for appointing Electors, and for them to give their votes throughout the Union, is manifest.
The first Wednesday in March, 1789, was the fourth day of that month. Congress enacted in 1792 : 'That the term of four years for which the President and Vice-President shall be elected shall in all cases commence on the fourth day of March next succeeding the day on which the votes of the Electors shall bave been given.” Amendment XII. makes this day a part of the Constitution itself.
The following table is a partial exhibit of the methods that have been employed in appointing Electors. (The table is copied, with corrections, from The Nation, No. 1351.)
THE FAILURE OF THE ELECTORAL PLAN.
Johnston's articles, The Executive in United States History, Electors and the Electoral System, Electoral Votes and Disputed Elections (In Lalor's Cyclopædia); Stanwood, History of Presidential Elections; Bryce, The American Commonwealth, Chaps. V., VII., VIII.; The Presidential Count: A Complete Official Record of the Proceedings of Congress at the Counting of the Electoral Votes, Etc. (Published by D. Appleton & Co.)
It was formerly supposed that the electoral method of choosing the President and Vice-President was the happy invention of the Federal Convention. But in later years attempts have been made to find an original for it. Some writers have seen a resemblance between this plan and the election of the Pope by the College of Cardinals. Sir H. S. Maine thought the Convention was influenced by the constitution of the Holy Roman Empire, according to which the Emperor was chosen by seven imperial electors. A far more probable conjecture is that the framers of the Constitution found their copy in provisions of the constitution of Maryland, 1776, which delegated the choice of the fifteen State senators to an electoral body chosen every five years by the qualified electors of the State. But whether invented or copied, the electoral scheme has failed more signally to accomplish the ends for which it was designed than any other part of the Federal Constitution. Professor Johnston, who held the theory of invention, remarks that the system is almost the only feature of the Constitution which was purely artificial, and not a natural growth, that i Stevens: The Sources of the Constitution, pp. 152–154.
it was the one which met least criticism from critics, and warmest praise from “The Federalist,” and that democracy had ridden right over it. The plan excluded Congress from formal participation in choosing the Executive, but it did not shut out Congressional influence; still less did it exclude the people, or prevent those heats and ferments that the members of the Convention thought it so necessary to shun. Our quadrennial presidential elections are just what the men of 1787 supposed they had made impossible. Amendment XII. has corrected the particular evils that it was designed to correct; but it has not hindered in the slightest degree that political development which, while observing all the forms of the Constitution, has wholly defeated the object of the electoral system, viz.: the election of the President and Vice-President by independent electors. In other words, the Constitution of the People is at this point wholly at variance with the Constitution of the Government.
We shall therefore take a general view of the process by which the expected operation of the plan has been frustrated.
467. Party Government.— The role parties play in the politics of the country was not foreseen in 1787. By the close of Washington's second administration, party lines were closely drawn; and since this time, save during the Era of Good Feeling (1816-1824), there have been two powerful political parties, nearly matched in strength, one or the other of which has elected the President. Men divide on political questions; the resulting parties are resolved on giving effect to their ideas and policies; and to do this, organization and party machinery become necessary. This development of party government it is that has completely changed the operation of the electoral plau. How this came about, a sketch of the modes of making nominations will show.
468. Nomination by Consent.-In 1788 and 1792 Washington was nominated by the unanimous voice of the people, without delegates, conventions, or popular assemblies. Adams was nominated for Vice-President in a similar way, but not with equal unanimity. In 1796, when the Federal and Democratic Republican parties were already formed, Adams and Pinckney, Jefferson and Burr, were designated as candidates by the common consent of their respective parties, and in 1800 Adams and Jefferson were again named in much the same way.
469. Nomination by Congressional Caucus.-The first step in this direction was taken in 1796, when the Democratic-Republican members of Congress agreed to support Jefferson and Burr. The second step was taken in 1800 when Adams and Jefferson were named as Presidential candidates in secret caucuses of the Federal and Republican Senators and Representatives. But the first regular Congressional nominating caucus was held in 1804, when the Republican members nominated Jefferson and Clinton for President and VicePresident. From this time until 1824 the caucus was as much the regular party machine for making nominations as the National Convention is now.
470. Nomination by State Legislatures.-Owing to the extinction of the Federal party organization, there was but one, or more properly speaking, no, political party in the Era of Good Feeling. The four Presidential candidates of 1824 had all belonged to the Democratic-Republican party. King Caucus had falleu into disrepute. A small number of Senators and Representatives nominated W. H. Crawford, of Georgia, for President, but the nomination hindered rather than helped him. The candidates of 1824 really stood on their personal merits. Still, legislative cancuses, legislatures, and even county conventions recommended their favorite statesmen to the support of the country. Nominations were in fact made by the general agreement of certain sections of the people. In 1828 it was much the same way, only no Congressional caucus was held, and the State Legislatures took a more important part.
471. Nomination by National Conventions.—The first National Convention was held by the Anti-Masons in 1831, and nominated William Wirt for President. The second was a National Republican Convention that nominated Henry Clay, also in 1831. The next year the Jackson men, or the Democratic party of recent times, held a convention to declare their “highest confidence in the purity, patriotism, and talents of Andrew Jackson,” who had already been nodiinated by local conventions and State Legislatures many times over, and to nominate a candidate for Vice-President. Since that time National conventions have been regularly held by the several parties, except that the Whigs held none in 1836.
472. The Caucus System.--At first National conventions were very simple, having some features of the mass convention, but now they have become so thoroughly organized as to constitute real party parliaments. The convention is the crown of the National Caucus System, the simplest elements of which are seen in the primary meetings, or caucuses, and executive committees of wards and town.