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execute such orders as he shall receive from the President relative to the procurement of naval materials, and the construction, armament, equipment, and employment of vese sels of war, and all other matters connected with the navy.
The bureaus are: Yards and Docks; Equipment and Recruiting ; Navigation; Ordnance; Medicine and Surgery ; Provisions and Clothing ; Steam Engineering ; Construction and Repairs. The United States Naval Academy, located at Annapolis, Maryland, established in 1846, is also under the control of the Navy Department.
520. Department of the Interior.-An act of Congress approved March 3, 1849, established this Department. It is made up mainly of various offices that had before belonged to other Departments, and is less homogeneous than the others. The Patent Office and the Census Office had belonged to the State Department; the Land Office, to the Treasury Department; the Pension Office, to the War and Navy departments; the Office of Indian Affairs, to the War Department: while the President himself had had charge of the Public Buildings. The heads of these several offices are all styled Commissioners, except the head of the Land Office, who is called the Surveyor-General, and the Superintendent of the Census. In 1867 a Department of Education was created, but the next year it was abolished, and a bureau styled the Office of Education was established in the Interior Department. The head of this office is the Commissioner of Education. The principal duty of the Commissioner is to collect facts and statistics in regard to education and schools, and to report annually the results of his investigations, together with such views and recommendations as will subserve the interests of education.
521. Department of Agriculture.-A Department of Agriculture, so-called, was established at Washington in 1862. It was neither an Executive Department nor a bureau in such Department. It was like the Department of Education as originally created. The law creating this Department declares that its general design and duties “shall be to diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with agriculture in the most general and comprehensive sense of that term, and to procure, propagate, and distribute among the people new and valuable seeds and plants.” It was put in charge of a Commissioner of Agriculture. In 1889 Congress made it one of the Executive Departments, and placed it in charge of the Secretary of Agriculture. The Weather Bureau is in this Department.
522. The Cabinet.-The heads of these eight Departments are popularly called the Cabinet. The uame is not found in the Constitution or laws, nor is the Cabinet itself in any way a legal body. The law creates the Departments, defines the duties of their heads, and the Constitution empowers the President to require their opinions in writing concerning all subjects relating to the duties of their several offices. The frequent meeting of these officers as a council, under the presidency of the President, to discuss executive business, is conducive to unity and strength of administration; but such meetings, and the idea that these executive officers constitute a cabinet, rest wholly upon usage. Washington called these heads together for this purpose, and the precedent thus set, which he borrowed from England, has been since followed. The Cabinet, as such, has no legal duties to perform. The President defers more or less to its advice, but is not obliged to follow it in any particular. The Constitution holds him, and not his advisers, responsible for the performance of executive business. At the same time, the heads of Departments are legally responsible so far as their duties are defined by law. At first the Cabinet consisted of the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, and of War, and the Attorney-General. The Postmaster-General did not become a member until the administration of General Jackson. The Secretaries of the Navy, of the Interior, and of Agriculture became members on the creation of their respective Departments. No official record is made of the proceedings of the Cabinet, as its conclusions are recomt
mmendatory only. Neither is the President's office an office of record; all executive records are kept in the several Departments through whose heads the executive business is transacted.
523. Executive Responsibility.–Various efforts were made in the Federal Convention to distribute Executive power and responsibility. One was the proposition already considered to constitute a plural executive. Another was that the President should have a privy council, consisting of the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief-Justice, and the heads of the Executive Departments, whose duty it should be to advise him in such matters respecting the execution of his office as he should think proper to lay before them, but their advice should not be binding, nor affect his responsibility for the measures that he should adopt. The Virginia plan proposed that the Executive and a convenient number of the Judiciary should compose a council of revision, to examine every act of Congress before it took effect, and that the dissent of the said council should amount to a rejection of such act unless it were again passed. Happily, these propositions all failed.
524. Articles I. and II.-There is a marked difference in the ways in which the statesmen of 1787 treated the Legislative and the Executive branches of the Government. The first occupies in the Constitution more than double the space that is occupied by the second, and the language employed is also more specific and definite. Part of the explanation of this disparity is the fact that the legislative power, by its very nature, is more fundamental than the executive power ; while the executive, also by its very nature, is incapable of as strict definition and limitation as the other. The facts that John Quincy Adams thus states are not accidental but natural: “The powers of the Executive department, explicitly and emphatically concentrated in one person, are vastly more extensive and complicated than those of the Legislative. The language of the instrument in conferring legislative authority is, 'All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. But the executive authority is unreserved iu terms,-'The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.' The more carefully the Executive power, as constituted by the Constitution, is studied in the light of the development of the Nation, the greater will its range of application appear to be. It is admitted that the President of the United States, although elected and holding his office for but a limited term, is one of the most powerful executive officers on the globe.
NOTE.-The author of “The Sources of the Constitution" prints some interest. ing notes of a conversation held with Ex-President Hayes, September 30, 1884. An abridgment of these notes is given,
Referring to the action of a President independently of the advice of the Cabinet, he said he himself and other Presidents had so acted occasionally. As to the general relations of the Cabinet, Presidents were masters of the situation, not only by law, but by the fact that Cabinet officers were appointed by and were dependent upon the Executive. The custom of the past had varied; some Presidents had been more influenced by their Cabinets than others; President Bu. chanan was much worried by his Cabinet, because not strong enough to insist on his own will. On the other hand, President Lincoln had decided on his Emancipation Proclamation without consulting his Cabinet, to whom he read it over merely for suggestion and amendment. He (President Hayes) had once decided
a measure, overruling his Cabinet. He knew them to be opposed to it and did not ask their views but announced his own policy and carried it out. In matters of a Department, he gave greater weight to the opinion of the Secretary of that Department if the Secretary opposed his own views; but on two occasions he had decided and carried out matters against the wishes of the Secretary of the Department affected. He had done so in the case of his Secretary of the Treasury, whose opinion he usually valued. In each case, knowing the certainty of diverse views from the Secretary, he had not asked those views, but had announced to the Secretary his own policy and decision. As to whether the President or the Secretaries usually initiated business at meetings of the Cabinet, he said that there was no uniform practice; but that every Secretary was full of ideas as to his own Department. When wishing to introduce a measure, the Secretary usually consulted the President privately. If the President disfavored the proposed measure, it was of course dropped. In fact, no measures could succeed except by the President's own act in either introducing them or approving them.
Few writers or public persons have understood the real power of the American Executive. Practically, the President has the Nation in his hand. He is commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and has control of foreign affairs. He could at any time force Congress into war with foreign powers. The complicated relations with foreign powers rendered this always easy. By law, Congress had the power to declare war, but the real power was with the Executive; if but once war exists, the President has the“war powers,"and no man has defined what those are, or placed a limit on them. The Executive power is large because not defined in the Constitution. The real test has never come, because the Presidents have, down to the present, been conservative, or what might be called conscientious men, and have kept within limited range. There is an unwritten law of usage that has come to regulate an average administration; but if a Napoleon ever became President, he could make the Executive almost what he wished to make it. The war power of President Lincoln went to lengths which could scarcely be surpassed in desprtic principle. . President Lincoln had been practically a dictator. The scope of the power had never been really realized, and that the practical use of power, even by an ordinarily strong President, was greater than the books ever described. Much of the legislation of Congress is ordinarily initiated by the President. The Constitution did not provide for this, but in practice it is done. A large part of legislation was first considered in Cabinet, and tuen started in Congress by contact privately between the Secretaries and the Committees of Congress. The President's message is without legal force, and Congress can be influenced by it or not as it sees fit; but if one were to compare the messages with legislations, it will be found that legislation largely resulted from the suggestions of messages. Really, the message made a public statement of matters, which, less officially, were pressed upon Congress by Cabinet Ministers. While it was a fact that no regular channel of necessary legislative initiative was possessed by the President, he, nevertheless, did initiate a large proportion of, sometimes the leading, legislation of his administration. He had also a certain amount of influence in preventing legislation that was distasteful to him, or even in shaping and amending bills in Congress, by intimating unofficially his disapproval and possible veto.–Page 165, et seq.
VESTING THE JUDICIAL POWER,
The following special references will be found useful: The writings of John Marshall, etc. (A compilation of his great constitutional decisions ; Coxe, Judicial Power and Unconstitutional Legislation; Constitutional History of the United States as seen in the development of American law. A course of lectures before the Politi cal Science Association of the University of Michigan (Thomas M. Cooley, Henry Hitchcock, George W. Biddle, Charles A. Kent, and Daniel H. Chamberlain); Stevens, Sources of the Constitution, Chapter VII.
525. The Period of the Confederation.--The ninth of the Articles of Confederation made Congress the court of last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction, or any other cause whatever. The same article also gave Congress authority to establish courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and courts for reviewing and determining finally all cases of captures. Congress acted in the first capacity on one or more occasions, and also organized courts such as the second provision called for. But neither Congress nor these courts had the power to execute their judicial judgments when they were questioned. The State courts even construed the Articles of Confederation. Evils both numerous and serious resulted from this state of things. Hence it was natural that all the plans of government laid before the Convention proposed a Judicial department of equal rank and dignity with the Legislative and Executive departments,
1 On this topic, consult Jameson: Essays on the Constitutional History of the U S., "The Predecessor of the Supreme Court."