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But the position of the Senate as an assembly of the States, and certain opinions of its superior fitness for the discharge of some of these duties, had united to make it far too powerful for a safe and satisfactory operation of the government. It was found to be impossible to adjust the whole machine to the quantity of power that had been given to one of its parts. It was eminently just and necessary that the States should have an equal and direct representation in some branch of the government; but that a majority of the States, containing a minority of the people, should possess a negative in the appointment of the executive, and in the question of peace or war, and the sole voice in the appointment of judges and ambassadors, was neither necessary nor proper. Theoretically, it might seem appropriate that a question of boundary between any two of the States represented in it should be committed to the Senate, as a court of the peers of the sovereign parties to the dispute; but practically, this would be a tribunal not well fitted to try a purely judicial question. It became necessary, therefore, to discover the true limit of that control which the nature of the representation in the Senate was to be allowed to give to a majority of the States. There had been some effort, in the progress of the controversy respecting the representative system, to confine the equal power of the States, in matters of legislation, to particular questions or occasions; but it had turned out to be impracticable thus to divide or limit the ordinary legislative authority of the same



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body. If the Senate, as an equal assembly of the States, was to legislate at all, it must legislate upon all subjects by the same rule and method of suffrage. But when the question presented itself as to the separate action of this assembly, how far it should be invested with the appointment of other functionaries, how far it should control the relations of the country with foreign nations, how far it should partake both of executive and judicial powers, it was much less difficult to draw the line, and to establish proper limits to the direct agency of the States. Those limits could not indeed be ascertained by the mere application of theoretical principles. They were to be found in the primary necessity for reposing greater powers in other departments, for adjusting the relations of the system by a wider distribution of authority, and for confiding more and more in the intelligence and virtue of the people; and therefore it is, that, in these as in other details of the Constitution, we are to look for the clew that is to give us the purpose and design, quite as much to the practical compromises which constantly took place between opposite interests, as to any triumph of any one of opposite theories.

The first experiment that was made towards a restriction of the power of the Senate, and an adjustment of its relations to the other departments, was the preparation of a plan, by which the President was to have the making of treaties, and the appointment of ambassadors, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers not otherwise provided for, by


and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The trial of impeachments, of the President included, was transferred to the Senate, and the trial of questions of boundary was placed, like other controversies between States, within the scope of the judicial power. The choice of the President was to be made in the first instance by electors appointed by each State, in such manner as its legislature might direct, each State to have a number of electors equal to the whole number of its senators and representatives in Congress; but if no one of the persons voted for should have a majority of all the electors, or if more than one person should have both a majority and an equal number of votes, the Senate were to choose the President from the five highest candidates voted for by the electors. In this plan, there was certainly a considerable increase of the power of the President; but there was not a sufficient diminution of the power of the Senate. The President could nominate officers and negotiate treaties; but he must obtain the consent of the body by whom he might have been elected, and by whom his re-election might be determined, if he were again to become a candidate. It appeared, therefore, to be quite necessary, either to take away the revisionary control of the Senate over treaties and appointments, or to devise some mode by which the President could be made personally independent of that assembly. He could be made independent only by taking away all agency of the Senate in his election, or by making him ineligible to the office a second time. There were two

serious objections to the last of these remedies, the country might lose the services of a faithful and experienced magistrate, whose continuance in office would be highly important; and even in a case where no pre-eminent merit had challenged a reelection, the effect of an election by the Senate would always be pernicious, and must be visible throughout the whole term of the incumbent who had been successful over four other competitors.


And after all, what necessity was there for confiding this vast power to the Senate, opening the door of a small body to the corruption and intrigue for which the magnitude of the prize to be gained and to be given, and the facility for their exercise, would furnish an enormous temptation? Was it so necessary that the States should force their equality of privilege and of power into every department of the Constitution, making it felt not only in all acts of legislation, but in the whole administration of the executive and judicial duties? Was nothing due to the virtue and sense and patriotism of a majority of the people of the United States? Might they not reasonably be expected to constitute a body of electors, who, chosen for the express purpose, and dissolved as soon as their function had been discharged, would be able to make an upright and intelligent choice of a chief magistrate from among the eminent citizens of the Union?

Questions like these, posterity would easily believe, without the clear record that has descended to them, must have anxiously and deeply employed the fram

ers of the Constitution. They were to consider, not only what was theoretically fit and what would practically work with safety and success, but what would be accepted by the people for whom they were forming these great institutions. That people undoubtedly detested everything in the nature of a monarchy. But there was another thing which they hated with equal intensity, and that was an oligarchy. Their experience had given them quite as much reason for abhorring the one as the other. Such, at least, was their view of that experience. A king, it is true, was the chief magistrate of the mother country against which they had rebelled, against which they had fought successfully for their independence. The measures that drove them into that resistance were executed by the monarch; but those measures were planned, as they believed, by a ministry determined to enslave them, and were sanctioned by a Parliament in which even the so-called popular branch was then but another phase of the aristocracy which ruled the empire. The worst enemy our grandfathers supposed they had in England, throughout their Revolution, was the ministerial majority of that House of Commons, made up of placemen sitting for rotten boroughs, the sons of peers, and the country gentlemen, who belonged to a caste as much as their first-cousins who sat by titles in the House of Lords. Our ancestors did not know they went to their graves without knowing that in the hard, implacable temper of the king, made harder and more implacable by a narrow and bigoted conscien

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