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Items 41-60 of 91
  • Federalist 53

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 53 Federalist 53 1 James Madison Publius often returns to the problem posed by majority tyranny. Here he expresses his preference for biennial over annual elections. February 9, 1788 The Same Subject Continued: The House of Representatives I shall here, perhaps, be reminded of a current observation "that where annual elections end, tyranny begins." If it be true, as has often been remarked, that sayings which become proverbial are generally founded in reason, it is not less true that when once established they are often applied to cases to which the reason of them does not extend. I need not look for a proof beyond the case before us. What is the reason on which this proverbial observation is founded? No man will subject himself ...
  • Federalist 55

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 55 Federalist 55 1 James Madison Under the Constitution's original formula, the House would have sixty-five members. This number was too small according to Anti-Federalists. Publius employs a number of arguments to demonstrate that the ratio of elected representatives to constituents is prudent. February 13, 1788 The Total Number of the House of Representatives The number of which the House of Representatives is to consist forms another and a very interesting point of view under which this branch of the federal legislature may be contemplated. Scarce any article, indeed, in the whole Constitution seems to be rendered more worthy of attention by the weight of character and the apparent force of argument with which it has been ...
  • Federalist 57

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 57 Federalist 57 1 James Madison Publius explains the necessity of virtue in elected representatives and of a spirit of manly vigilance in the American people. February 19, 1788 The Alleged Tendency of the New Plan to Elevate the Few at the Expense of the Many Considered in Connection with Representation The third charge against the House of Representatives is that it will be taken from that class of citizens which will have least sympathy with the mass of the people, and be most likely to aim at an ambitious sacrifice of the many to the aggrandizement of the few. Of all the objections which have been framed against the federal Constitution, this is perhaps the most extraordinary. Whilst the objection itself is leveled against ...
  • Federalist 62

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 62 Federalist 62 1 James Madison The Senate, with its equal representation of each state and members selected by state legislatures, was at once a concession to small states and a bulwark of federalism. Due to its structure, it would also lend the legislative branch stability and wisdom. February 27, 1788 The Senate Having examined the constitution of the House of Representatives, and answered such of the objections against it as seemed to merit notice, I enter next on the examination of the Senate. The heads into which this member of the government may be considered are: I. The qualification of senators; II. The appointment of them by the State legislatures; III. The equality of representation in the Senate; IV. The number of ...
  • Federalist 63

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 63 Federalist 63 1 James Madison To the Anti-Federalists, the Senate's six-year term and smaller number seemed too aristocratic. But to Publius, the selection of senators by state legislatures was a built-in protection for state interests. As a footnote to this argument, in making senatorial elections popular, the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 changed not just the Senate, but the entire architecture of the Founders' Constitution. March 1, 1788 The Senate Continued A fifth desideratum, illustrating the utility of a senate, is the want of a due sense of national character. Without a select and stable member of the government, the esteem of foreign powers will not only be forfeited by an unenlightened and variable policy, proceeding ...
  • Federalist 70

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 70 Federalist 70 1 Alexander Hamilton To prevent the president from becoming monarchical, Anti-Federalists recommended a plural executive, shorter terms, and a one-term limit. Publius argues for the presidency as structured in the Constitution, and explains the necessity of an energetic executive. March 14, 1788 The Executive Department Further Considered There is an idea, which is not without its advocates, that a vigorous executive is inconsistent with the genius of republican government. The enlightened well-wishers to this species of government must at least hope that the supposition is destitute of foundation; since they can never admit its truth, without at the same time admitting the condemnation of their own principles ...
  • Federalist 71

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 71 Federalist 71 1 Alexander Hamilton Publius continues his defense of the presidency under the Constitution. March 18, 1788 The Duration in Office of the Executive Duration in office has been mentioned as the second requisite to the energy of the executive authority. This has relation to two objects: to the personal firmness of the executive magistrate in the employment of his constitutional powers, and to the stability of the system of administration which may have been adopted under his auspices. With regard to the first, it must be evident that the longer the duration in office, the greater will be the probability of obtaining so important an advantage. It is a general principle of human nature that a man will be interested ...
  • Federalist 72

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 72 Federalist 72 1 Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists argued that an executive without term limits could, through demagoguery, keep office for as long as he could manipulate the public. Publius counters that re-eligibility will encourage good behavior. Subsequently, the Twenty-Second Amendment, enacted in 1951, limited the presidency to two terms. March 21, 1788 The Same Subject Continued, and Re-eligibility of the Executive Considered The administration of government, in its largest sense, comprehends all the operations of the body politic, whether legislative, executive, or judiciary; but in its most usual and perhaps its most precise signification, it is limited to executive details, and falls peculiarly within the province ...
  • Federalist 73

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 73 Federalist 73 1 Alexander Hamilton Although all legislation originates in Congress, the executive plays an integral role through the veto power. March 21, 1788 The Provision for the Support of the Executive, and the Veto Power The third ingredient towards constituting the vigor of the executive authority is an adequate provision for its support. It is evident that without proper attention to this article, the separation of the executive from the legislative department would be merely nominal and nugatory. The legislature, with a discretionary power over the salary and emoluments of the Chief Magistrate, could render him as obsequious to their will as they might think proper to make him. They might, in most cases, either reduce ...
  • Federalist 74

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 74 Federalist 74 1 Alexander Hamilton The president can act "with secrecy and dispatch," two qualities which the legislature and the judiciary will never possess. March 25, 1788 The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive The President of the United States is to be "commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States." The propriety of this provision is so evident in itself and it is at the same time so consonant to the precedents of the State constitutions in general, that little need be said to explain or enforce it. Even those of them which have in other respects coupled the ...
  • Brutus XI

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Essay XI Essay XI 1 Brutus Here Brutus criticizes the power granted by the Constitution to an independent judiciary. January 31, 1788 The nature and extent of the judicial power of the United States, proposed to be granted by this constitution, claims our particular attention. Much has been said and written upon the subject of this new system on both sides, but I have not met with any writer, who has discussed the judicial powers with any degree of accuracy. And yet it is obvious, that we can form but very imperfect ideas of the manner in which this government will work, or the effect it will have in changing the internal police and mode of distributing justice at present subsisting in the respective states, without a thorough investigation ...
  • Federalist 78

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 78 Federalist 78 1 Alexander Hamilton Defending the idea of judicial review—the authority of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional—Publius denies that it leads to judicial supremacy. The courts must never substitute "will" for "judgment," as all branches of government answer to the Constitution. June 14, 1788 The Judiciary Department We proceed now to an examination of the judiciary department of the proposed government. In unfolding the defects of the existing Confederation, the utility and necessity of a federal judicature have been clearly pointed out. It is the less necessary to recapitulate the considerations there urged as the propriety of the institution in the abstract is not disputed; the only questions which ...
  • Marbury v. Madison

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Marbury v. Madison Marbury v. Madison 1 John Marshall (1755-1835) Thomas Jefferson's election as president is often called the "Revolution of 1800," because it marked the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another. Despite its uniquely pacific character, the election's aftermath was marked by partisan rancor. The day before Jefferson took office, President John Adams commissioned fifty-eight Federalist judges. Upon assuming office Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, to withhold their commissions. One of them, William Mar-bury, brought a case that eventually reached the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Marshall wrote an opinion that established the power of judicial review. 1803 Mr. Chief Justice ...
  • Draft of the Declaration of Independence

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Draft of the Declaration of Independence Draft of the Declaration of Independence 1 Thomas Jefferson Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a critique of King George III's involvement in the slave trade. Although not approved by the entire Second Continental Congress, it indicates that the leading Founders understood the slavery issue in moral terms. 1776 ...He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare ...
  • Federalist 54

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Federalist 54 Federalist 54 1 James Madison Madison here gives voice to the understanding of the South regarding the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, which required that three-fifths of the slaves in each state be counted for purposes of representation. This clause had a strange history. Most Southerners argued that slaves should be counted as full persons for voting purposes, while Northerners opposed to slavery advocated that they not be counted at all. Here Madison's "Southerner" presents the compromise position with approval, but in the process admits much of its moral illogic. February 12, 1788 The Apportionment of Members Among the States ..."We subscribe to the doctrine," might one of our Southern brethren observe, "that ...
  • Letter to Edward Everett

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    Letter to Edward Everett Letter to Edward Everett 1 James Madison In this 1830 response to Massachusetts statesman Edward Everett, Madison maintains that a state does not possess the authority to strike down as unconstitutional an act of the federal government. The contrary doctrine, known as nullification, would take on later significance. August 28, 1830 I have duly received your letter in which you refer to the "nullifying doctrine," advocated as a constitutional right by some of our distinguished fellow citizens; and to the proceedings of the Virginia Legislature in 98 and 99, as appealed to in behalf of that doctrine; and you express a wish for my ideas on those subjects. I am aware of the delicacy of the task in some respects; and ...
  • The Constitution and the Union

     |  Roots of the Slavery Crisis

    The Constitution and the Union The Constitution and the Union 1 Daniel Webster (1782-1852) Webster began representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate in 1813, and by the 1830s had attained a national reputation—in part as a result of his Senate debates with nullification proponent Senator Robert Hayne of South Carolina. Webster spent the final decade of his life attempting to avert the growing sectional divide, never wavering in his defense of the Union. In this speech he restated his longstanding conviction that "Peaceable secession is an utter impossibility." He died two years later, in 1852, with the nation divided. March 7, 1850 Mr. President: I wish to speak today, not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American ...
  • Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act 1 Abraham Lincoln Supporters of the Compromise of 1850 lauded it as a continuation of the Missouri Compromise, which had helped maintain peace for thirty years. But four years later, the Missouri Compromise was eviscerated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Authored by Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas, it was in fact two provisions, one providing for the territory of Nebraska and the other for the new territory of Kansas. Breaking with the Missouri Compromise's ban on slavery in this part of the country, it established the policy of "popular sovereignty": Slavery would be voted on by the citizens of each territory, and made legal or illegal according to the will of the majority. For Lincoln, this ...
  • Republican Party Platform of 1856

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Republican Party Platform of 1856 Republican Party Platform of 1856 1 Northern anger toward the Kansas-Nebraska Act reached its zenith in the late spring of 1854, when various anti-slavery forces coalesced in Jackson, Michigan. Organized around the principles of the Declaration of Independence, the Republican Party was born out of this meeting. It would adopt a platform two years later that called for repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and restoration of the Missouri Compromise. June 17, 1856 This convention of delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are opposed to the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, to the policy of the present Administration ...
  • Dred Scott v. Sandford

     |  Crisis of Constitutionalism

    Dred Scott v. Sandford Dred Scott v. Sandford 1 Roger Taney (1777-1864) Like Stephen Douglas, Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney believed that his response to the slavery controversy would resolve the issue. His ruling in Dred Scott v. Sandford had the opposite result, throwing the country into even greater turmoil. The case was brought by a slave, Dred Scott, who was taken by his master into territory in which slavery was illegal. Asked to rule simply on whether Scott's residency in a free territory meant that he should be granted freedom, the Court ruled that Congress had no power to regulate slavery in the territories and that persons of African descent could not be citizens, rendering both the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 unconstitutional ...
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