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Voter News and Issues ~ Helpcom.net - Obama would like the Congress to give him the mantle ''His High Mightiness, the
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Obama would like the Congress to give him the mantle ''His High Mightiness, the
Posted on Wednesday, September 25 @ 07:30:58 MST by editor

Organic Documents

Presidency was obviously modeled after the governorship of the individual states.

Yet Obama refuses to follow the common law constrictors of that form of executive power and has chosen to reclaim the power of the throne that existed before the Magna Charta 800+ years ago this coming June [2014].  Obama's reclaimed power is the very power that led to the revolt of the Lords and the First Great Charter.   It seems that Obama would like the Congress to give him the mantle "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties [this title is explained in the sentence of he last, in the paragraph of the eight below*] ."

Max Farrand in Volume 13 of The Chronicles Of America Series, The Fathers of the Constitution explains:

One whole division of the Constitution has been as yet barely referred to, and it not only presented one of the most perplexing problems which the Convention faced but one of the last to be settled—that providing for an executive. There was a general agreement in the Convention that there should be a separate executive. The opinion also developed quite early that a single executive was better than a plural body, but that was as far as the members could go with any degree of unanimity. At the outset they seemed to have thought that the executive would be dependent upon the legislature, appointed by that body, and therefore more or less subject to its control. But in the course of the proceedings the tendency was to grant greater and greater powers to the executive; in other words, he was becoming a figure of importance. No such office as that of President of the United States was then in existence. It was a new position which they were creating. We have become so accustomed to it that it is difficult for us to hark back to the time when there was no such officer and to realize the difficulties and the fears of the men who were responsible for creating that office.

The presidency was obviously modeled after the governorship of the individual States, and yet the incumbent was to be at the head of the Thirteen States. Rufus King is frequently quoted to the effect that the men of that time had been accustomed to considering themselves subjects of the British king. Even at the time of the Convention there is good evidence to show that some of the members were still agitating the desirability of establishing a monarchy in the United States. It was a common rumor that a son of George III was to be invited to come over, and there is reason to believe that only a few months before the Convention met Prince Henry of Prussia was approached by prominent people in this country to see if he could be induced to accept the headship of the States, that is, to become the king of the United States. The members of the Convention evidently thought that they were establishing something like a monarchy. As Randolph said, the people would see "the form at least of a little monarch," and they did not want him to have despotic powers. When the sessions were over, a lady asked Franklin: "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" "A republic," replied the doctor, "if you can keep it."

The increase of powers accruing to the executive office necessitated placing a corresponding check upon the exercise of those powers. The obvious method was to render the executive subject to impeachment, and it was also readily agreed that his veto might be overruled by a two-thirds vote of Congress; but some further safeguards were necessary, and the whole question accordingly turned upon the method of his election and the length of his term. In the course of the proceedings of the Convention, at several different times, the members voted in favor of an appointment by the national legislature, but they also voted against it. Once they voted for a system of electors chosen by the State legislatures and twice they voted against such a system. Three times they voted to reconsider the whole question. It is no wonder that Gerry should say: "We seem to be entirely at a loss."

So it came to the end of August, with most of the other matters disposed of and with the patience of the delegates worn out by the long strain of four weeks' close application. During the discussions it had become apparent to every one that an election of the President by the people would give a decided advantage to the large States, so that again there was arising the divergence between the large and small States. In order to hasten matters to a conclusion, this and all other vexing details upon which the Convention could not agree were turned over to a committee made up of a member from each State. It was this committee which pointed the way to a compromise by which the choice of the executive was to be entrusted to electors chosen in each State as its legislature might direct. The electors were to be equal in number to the State's representation in Congress, including both senators and representatives, and in each State they were to meet and to vote for two persons, one of whom should not be an inhabitant of that State. The votes were to be listed and sent to Congress, and the person who had received the greatest number of votes was to be President, provided such a number was a majority of all the electors. In case of a tie the Senate was to choose between the candidates and, if no one had a majority, the Senate was to elect "from the five highest on the list."

This method of voting would have given the large States a decided advantage, of course, in that they would appoint the greater number of electors, but it was not believed that this system would ordinarily result in a majority of votes being cast for one man. Apparently no one anticipated the formation of political parties which would concentrate the votes upon one or another candidate. It was rather expected that in the great majority of cases—"nineteen times in twenty," one of the delegates said—there would be several candidates and that the selection from those candidates would fall to the Senate, in which all the States were equally represented and the small States were in the majority. But since the Senate shared so many powers with the executive, it seemed better to transfer the right of "eventual election" to the House of Representatives, where each State was still to have but one vote. Had this scheme worked as the designers expected, the interests of large States and small States would have been reconciled, since in effect the large States would name the candidates and, "nineteen times in twenty," the small States would choose from among them.

Apparently the question of a third term was never considered by the delegates in the Convention. The chief problem before them was the method of election. If the President was to be chosen by the legislature, he should not be eligible to reelection. On the other hand, if there was to be some form of popular election, an opportunity for reelection was thought to be a desirable incentive to good behavior. Six or seven years was taken as an acceptable length for a single term and four years a convenient tenure if reelection was permitted. It was upon these considerations that the term of four years was eventually agreed upon, with no restriction placed upon reelection.

When it was believed that a satisfactory method of choosing the President had been discovered—and it is interesting to notice the members of the Convention later congratulated themselves that at least this feature of their government was above criticism—it was decided to give still further powers to the President, such as the making of treaties and the appointing of ambassadors and judges, although the advice and consent of the Senate was required, and in the case of treaties two-thirds of the members present must consent.

The presidency was frankly an experiment, the success of which would depend largely upon the first election; yet no one seems to have been anxious about the first choice of chief magistrate, and the reason is not far to seek. From the moment the members agreed that there should be a single executive they also agreed upon the man for the position. Just as Washington had been chosen unanimously to preside over the Convention, so it was generally accepted that he would be the first head of the new state. Such at least was the trend of conversation and even of debate on the floor of the Convention. It indicates something of the conception of the office prevailing at the time that Washington, when he became President, is said to have preferred the title, "His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of their Liberties."*

The members of the Convention were plainly growing tired and there are evidences of haste in the work of the last few days. There was a tendency to ride rough-shod over those whose temperaments forced them to demand modifications in petty matters. This precipitancy gave rise to considerable dissatisfaction and led several delegates to declare that they would not sign the completed document. But on the whole the sentiment of the Convention was overwhelmingly favorable. Accordingly on Saturday, the 8th of September, a new committee was appointed, to consist of five members, whose duty it was "to revise the stile of and arrange the articles which had been agreed to by the House." The committee was chosen by ballot and was made up exclusively of friends of the new Constitution: Doctor Johnson of Connecticut, Alexander Hamilton, who had returned to Philadelphia to help in finishing the work, Gouverneur Morris, James Madison, and Rufus King. On Wednesday the twelfth, the Committee made its report, the greatest credit for which is probably to be given to Morris, whose powers of expression were so greatly admired. Another day was spent in waiting for the report to be printed. But on Thursday this was ready, and three days were devoted to going over carefully each article and section and giving the finishing touches. By Saturday the work of the Convention was brought to a close, and the Constitution was then ordered to be engrossed. On Monday, the 17th of September, the Convention met for the last time. A few of those present being unwilling to sign, Gouverneur Morris again cleverly devised a form which would make the action appear to be unanimous: "Done in Convention by the unanimous consent of the states present... in witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names." Thirty-nine delegates, representing twelve States, then signed the Constitution.

When Charles Biddle of Philadelphia, who was acquainted with most of the members of the Convention, wrote his "Autobiography," which was published in 1802, he declared that for his part he considered the government established by the Constitution to be "the best in the world, and as perfect as any human form of government can be." But he prefaced that declaration with a statement that some of the best informed members of the Federal Convention had told him "they did not believe a single member was perfectly satisfied with the Constitution, but they believed it was the best they could ever agree upon, and that it was infinitely better to have such a one than break up without fixing on some form of government, which I believe at one time it was expected they would have done."

One of the outstanding characteristics of the members of the Federal Convention was their practical sagacity. They had a very definite object before them. No matter how much the members might talk about democracy in theory or about ancient confederacies, when it came to action they did not go outside of their own experience. The Constitution was devised to correct well-known defects and it contained few provisions which had not been tested by practical political experience. Before the Convention met, some of the leading men in the country had prepared lists of the defects which existed in the Articles of Confederation, and in the Constitution practically every one of these defects was corrected and by means which had already been tested in the States and under the Articles of Confederation.

Title: The Fathers of the Constitution

Volume 13 in The Chronicles Of America Series

Author: Max Farrand



 
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