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indictable ; but the author of it may be prosecuted for private damages by the injured party.
$ 6. We are not to infer, because Congress is forbidden to interfere with the freedom of the press, that the press can do no wrong is above the reach of law, and that it is a shield for
abuse. A writer may publish what he pleases; but, if he publishes that which is mischievous or illegal, he is responsible for the publication.
$ 7. The right of the people to meet in peaceable assemblage, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, shall not be infringed. In despotic governments, the people are sometimes denied this right, under the pretense that the assemblies are conspiring against the welfare of the government, and are insurrectionary and riotous in their aims. It is the inestimable birthright of every American citizen to petition the government against the infliction of wrong and injustice.
$ 8. The right of the people to keep and bear arms, with which the General Government is herein prohibited from interfering, refers to an organization of the militia of the States. There have been fears expressed, that the liberty of the people might be destroyed by the perverted power of a formidable standing army. But here is the check to any such danger. The militia, that might be called out at any time on a month's notice, would outnumber, twenty to one, any standing army in time of peace that will ever be tolerated in the United States. Large standing armies might indeed be dangerous in a republican government, but for a much stronger force distributed throughout the ranks of the people.
$ 9. A man's religious views are not to be questioned when appointed or elected to any office under the Government of the United States. This, it must be remembered, does not apply to State officers. In some of the States, religious tests have been applied ; but the Constitution of the United States wisely prohibits inquiry into the religious sentiments of any man, preliminary to his induction into office. Were it otherwise, the political would soon be merged in the ecclesiastical questions of the day; and, ultimately, Church and State might become united. This clause prohibiting religious tests for office is the only place in which the word “religious"
occurs in the Constitution. It was introduced for the purpose of effectually silencing all attempts at an alliance of Church and State in the National Government.
§ 10. In the very first Article of Amendments to the Constitution, Congress is prohibited from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, or from interfering with its free exercise. Congress is not allowed in any way to intermeddle with the religious institutions of the country.
Our fathers felt extreme dread of every thing in the line of religious establishments of State. They felt that religion was chiefly a matter of personal concern between the individual and his Maker. They were familiar with the history of religious intolerance in those European States where the ecclesiastical power bad become superior to the civil. They were well satisfied that the interests of a pure and holy religion demand no alliance with the civil power. Many of the authors of the Constitution were themselves men of strong religious convictions; so that we are not to attribute the clauses on this subject, either in the Constitution or its amendments, as arising from indifference or hostility to the interests of religion.
§ 11. Judge Story says, It was also obvious, from the numerous and powerful sects existing in the United States, that there would be perpetual temptations to struggles for ascendency in the national councils, if any one might thereby hope to found a permanent and exclusive national establishment of its own ; and religious persecutions might thus be introduced to an extent utterly subversive of the true interests and good order of the Republic. The most effectual mode of suppressing the evil, in the view of the people, was to strike down the temptation to its introduction.”
RELATING TO OFFICERS.
ART. I. - INELIGIBILITY. 1. UNITED STATES OFFICERS. - No person holding any office
of trust or profit under the United States shall,
1st. Be appointed an elector of President and Vives
President, 54; nor, 2d. Be a member of either house of Congress during
his continuance in office. 22. 2. CONGRESSMEN. — No senator or representative shall, 18t. Be appointed an elector of President and Vice
President, 54; nor, 2d. During the time for which he was elected, be ap
pointed to any civil office under the United States, 18t. Which shall have been created during
such time ;, nor, 2d. The emoluments whereof shall have been
increased during such time. 22. $ 1. The object of the foregoing provision, which excludes persons who hold
office under the General Government from being appointed electors of President and Vice-President of the United States, was to prevent combinations and intrigues between pre-existing officials and the candidates for the two highest offices in the gift of the people. This clause requires that the electors shall come direct and fresh from the people, untrammeled by existing official relations.
$ 2. The clause forbidding membership of either house to officers under the General Government has been noticed in treating of the eligibility of senators and representatives, and need not be discussed here.
§ 3. Senators and representatives, although not officers of the United States, are excluded from being electors of President and Vice-President. The same reasons, however, why United-States officers should not be electors, bear with increased force against members of Congress assuming that trust. (See Executive Department.)
§ 4. The Constitution forbids the appointment of members of Congress to any civil offices created, or the emoluments whereof have been increased, during the terms for which such members were elected. The object of these provisions is apparent. It is to forbid the
creation of offices with tempting salaries, or the increase of the salaries of offices already in existence, with the design of obtaining those salaries on the part of those who should assist in creating or increasing them. (See appendix to Analysis D.)
ART. II. - FOREIGN PATRONAGE. No person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign State. 50.
§ 1. According to the theory of our government, American citizenship confers equality. Democracy abhors titular distinctions. The chief purpose of this clause is to forbid the acceptance of these distinctions and bribes, in whatever form they may be tendered by foreign powers, which, if received by an officer under our government, might seduce him from the faithful discharge of duty to his own country.
$ 2. A private citizen, it will be observed, does not come under this prohibition; nor does an officer under any State government. It is, perhaps, to be regretted that this prohibition was not extended farther, so as to include all American citizens.
Were a costly present to be made by the Emperor of France or the Queen of England to the President of the United States, he would not be at liberty to accept it on his own account, though he might in behalf of the people, and have it preserved in the archives of the nation, as it might seem rude to decline it.
- THE PRESIDENT. 1. The compensation for the services of the President of the
United States shall neither be increased nor diminished
during the period for which he shall have been elected. 2. He shall not receive within that period any other emolu
ment from the United States, or any State. 58. This article will receive attention when we come to the discussion of the Executive Department.
1. The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the
United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other
high crimes or misdemeanors. 64, 2. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend fur.
1st. To removal from office; and,
honor, trust, or profit under the United States. 3. The party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject
to indictment, trial, judgment, and punishment according
to lav. 14. The subject of impeachment has been fully presented in the first and second chapters of Part II. of this work. It will be found in Art. IX. of Chap. I., and Art. X., Chap. II.
RIGHTS OF STATES.
ARTICLE I. REPRESENTATION. 1. Each State shall have at least one representative. 5. 2. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution depriv
ing any State, without its consent, of its equal suffrage
in the Senate. 78. § 1. The first paragraph of this article is one of the clauses of the fifth paragraph of the Constitution, as it is numbered for convenience of reference. With the clause with which it stands in connection, it reads thus : “ The number of representatives sball not exceed one for every thirty thousand ; but each State shall have at least one representative." It is not here declared that there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, but that the proportion shall not exceed that.
§ 2. At the taking of the first census, in 1790, it was ascertained that the State having the least number of inhabitants, Delaware,