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A. Yes, of all who voted. Four, two in Virginia and two in Maryland, did not vote; and the eight votes to which New York was entitled were not cast because the legislature could come to no agreement upon how the electors should be appointed. There should have been 81 votes; he received 69.
Q. How did the first inauguration proceed?
A. The Senate Journal narrates it as follows: "The House of Representatives, preceded by their Speaker, came into the Senate Chamber, and took the seats assigned them; and the joint Committee, preceded by their Chairman, agreeably to order, introduced the President of the United States to the Senate Chamber, where he was received by the Vice President, who conducted him to the Chair; when the Vice President informed him, that 'The Senate and House of Representatives were ready to attend him to take the oath required by the Constitution, and that it would be administered by the Chancellor of the State of New-York'-To which the President replied, he was ready to proceed:-and being attended to the gallery in front of the Senate Chamber, by the Vice President and Senators, the Speaker and Representatives, and the other public characters present, the oath was administered. After which the Chancellor proclaimed, 'Long live George Washington, President of the United States.' The President having returned to his seat, after a short pause, arose and addressed the Senate and House of Representatives The President, the Vice President, the Senate and House of Representatives, &c. then proceeded to St. Paul's Chapel, where divine service was performed by the Chaplain of Congress, after which the President was conducted to his house, by the Committee appointed for that purpose.'
Q. Was Adams sworn in as Vice President before Washington took the oath of office as President?
A. No. Neither the Vice President nor any senators took the oath of office until June 3. The first act of Congress, June 1, provided for the oath. In the House the Speaker and members present on April 8 had taken an oath provided for by a resolve on April 6 of that House, and the act of June 1 recognized that oath as sufficient for those who had taken it.
Q. What cities have been capitals of the United States government?
A. The Continental Congress sat at Philadelphia, 1774-76, 1777, 1778-83; Baltimore, 1776-77; Lancaster, 1777; York, 1777-78; Princeton, 1783; Annapolis, 1783-84; Trenton, 1784; and New York, 1785-89. The first capital under the Constitution of the United States was in New York, but in 1790 it was moved to Philadelphia. Here it was continued until 1800, when the permanent capital, Washington, in the new District of Columbia, was occupied. Q. How was the manner of address of the President of the United States decided?
A. Both Houses of Congress appointed committees to consider the proper title to give the President, but they could not agree. The Senate wished it to be "His Highness the President of the United States of America and Protector of their Liberties." The House considered this as too monarchical, and on May 5 addressed its reply to the inaugural speech merely to "The President of the United States." The Senate on May 14 agreed to this simple form. See pp. 374-376.
Q. What is meant by the term "constitution"?
QUESTIONS ON ORGANIZATION
A. A constitution embodies the fundamental principles of a government. Our constitution, adopted by the sovereign power, is amendable by that power only. To the constitution all laws, executive actions, and judicial decisions must conform, as it is the creator of the powers exercised by the departments of government.
Q. Why has our Constitution been classed as "rigid"?
A. The term "rigid" is used in opposition to "flexible" because the provisions are in a written document which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws. The British Constitution, which is unwritten, can, on the other hand, be changed overnight by act of Parliament.
Q. What was W. E. Gladstone's famous remark about the Constitution? A. It was as follows: "As the British Constitution is the most subtle organism which has proceeded from the womb and long gestation of progressive history, so the American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man."
Q. What is the source of the philosophy found in the Constitution?
A. The book which had the greatest influence upon the members of the Constitutional Convention was Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, which first appeared in 1748. The great French philosopher had, however, in turn borrowed much of his doctrine from the Englishman, John Locke, with whose writings various members of the Convention were also familiar.
Q. Are there original ideas of government in the Constitution?
A. Yes; but its main origins lie in centuries of experience in government, the lessons of which were brought over from England and further developed through the practices of over a century and a half in the colonies and early state governments, and in the struggles of the Continental Congress. Its roots are deep in the past; and its endurance and the obedience and respect it has won are mainly the result of the slow growth of its principles from before the days of Magna Carta.
Q. What state papers should be considered in connecting the Constitution of the United States with Magna Carta?
A. The Great Charter was confirmed several times by later medieval monarchs, and there were various statutes, such as those of Westminster, which also helped to develop the germs of popular government. The Petition of Right, 1628, against the abuse of the royal prerogative, the Habeas Corpus Act, 1679, and the Bill of Rights, 1689, to establish the claims of the Petition, are the great English documents of more modern times on popular freedom. Meanwhile, the colonial charters became the foundation of the Americans' claim to the "rights of Englishmen," and were the predecessors of the state constitutions which owed their origin to the American Revolution. The Declaration of Independence established the principles which the Constitution made practical. Plans for colonial union were proposed from time to time, the most important of them being the Albany Plan of 1754, of which Benjamin Franklin was the author. The united efforts to establish independence gave birth to the Articles of Confederation, which though inadequate, were a real step toward the "more perfect Union" of the Constitution. See the "Liberty Documents," post.
Q. In what respect had the Confederation failed?
A. It had three great weaknesses. It had no means of revenue independent of that received through its requisitions on the states, which were nothing more than requests, which the states could and did disregard; and it had no control over foreign or interstate commerce. Behind these lacks was its inability to compel the states to honor the national obligations. It could make treaties but had no means to compel obedience to them; or to provide for the payment of the foreign debt. It had responsibility but no power as a national government; no means of coercing the states to obedience even to the very inadequate grant given to the "League of Friendship" by the Articles of Confederation. But its greatest weakness was that it had no direct origin in, or action on, the people themselves; but, unlike both the Declaration of Independence and the later Constitution, knew only the states and was known only to them, calling them sovereign.
Q. How extensively has the Constitution been copied?
A. All later constitutions show its influence; it has been copied extensively throughout the world.
Q. The United States government is frequently described as one of limited powers. Is this true?
A. Yes. The United States government possesses only such powers as are specifically granted to it by the Constitution.
Q. Then how does it happen that the government constantly exercises powers not mentioned by the Constitution?
A. Those powers simply flow from general provisions. To take a simple example, the Constitution gives to the United States the right to coin money. It would certainly follow, therefore, that the government had the right to make the design for the coinage. This is what the Supreme Court calls "reasonable construction" of the Constitution (Art. I, sec. 8, cl. 18).
Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the states.
A. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, because of his forceful and eloquent orations interpreting the document.
Q. Must a member of the House of Representatives be a resident of the district which he represents?
A. The Constitution provides only that no person shall be a representative "who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen"; but makes no requirement as to residence within the district. (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 2).
Q. Have the English a greater representation in their House of Commons than Americans in their House of Representatives?
A. In Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) there is a member in the House of Commons for approximately every 70,000 of population, while in the United States membership in the lower House is based upon every 279,712 of population (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3).
Q. What was the ratio of representation in Congress 100 years ago and what is it now?
A. In 1837 there was apportioned one representative for every 47,700
QUESTIONS ON CONGRESS
inhabitants, the total number being 242. In 1937 there was one representative for every 279,712, the total number being 435 (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 3).
Q. Is it possible to impeach a justice of the Supreme Court?
A. It is possible to impeach a justice of the Supreme Court or any other official. The Constitution makes provision for impeachment by the House and trial of the accused by the Senate sitting as a court of "all civil Officers," which includes the justices (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 5; sec. 3, cl. 6, 7; Art. II, sec. 4). Q. Are senators, representatives, and justices of the Supreme Court civil officials of the United States?
A. Justices are, but the others are probably not. The Constitution in several places seems to make a clear distinction between legislators and officials, though this has been contested. Members of Congress are not subject to impeachment, but are liable to expulsion by the vote of the house of which they are members (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 2).
Q. What would be the proceeding in case of the impeachment of a Cabinet officer?
A. An impeachment proceeding may be set in motion in the House of Representatives by charges made on the floor on the responsibility of a member or territorial delegate; by charges preferred by a memorial, which is usually referred to a committee for examination; by charges transmitted by the legislature of a state or from a grand jury; or the facts developed and reported by an investigating committee of the House. After the impeachment has been voted by the House, the case is heard by the Senate sitting as a court. When the President of the United States is impeached and tried the proceedings are the same except that the Senate is then presided over by the Chief Justice of the United States (Art. I, sec. 2, cl. 5; sec. 3, cl. 6, 7; Art. II, sec. 4).
Q. What is meant when it is said that senators are paired?
A. Sometimes a senator belonging to one party agrees with a senator belonging to the other party that neither will vote if the other is absent, the theory being that they would always vote on opposite sides of the question. This is called a pair. Sometimes pairs are secured on a particular vote only. For example, if a senator is in favor of a certain piece of legislation and is ill or unavoidably detained, his friends arrange for some one on the opposite side not to vote. This insures for each a record as to his views. While many are opposed to general pairs, as the first is called, all are glad to arrange a pair for a specific measure if a senator is unavoidably prevented from being present (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 2).
Q. What is the mace of the House of Representatives and what purpose
does it serve?
A. The mace consists of thirteen ebony rods, about three feet long, representing the thirteen original states. It is bound together with silver in imitation of the thongs which bound the fasces of ancient Rome. The shaft is surmounted by a globe of solid silver about five inches in diameter upon which rests a massive silver eagle. The mace is the symbol of the paramount authority of the House within its own sphere. In times of riot or disorder upon the floor the Speaker may direct the sergeant-at-arms, the executive officer of the House, to bear the mace up and down the aisles as a reminder that the dignity and decorum of the House must not be overthrown. Defiance to such warning is the ultimate disrespect to the House and may lead to expul
sion. When the House is sitting as a body the mace rests upright on a pedestal at the right of the Speaker's dais; when the House is sitting in committee of the whole, the mace stands upon the floor at the foot of its pedestal. Thus, when the House wishes to "rise" from committee of the whole and resume business as a legislative body, lifting the mace to its pedestal automatically effects the transition. The origin of the idea of the mace is based upon a similar emblem in the British House of Commons (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 2).
Q. Who administers the oath of office to the Speaker of the House of Representatives?
A. It is usually administered by the oldest member in point of service (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 2).
Q. What is meant by the "Father" of the House of Representatives?
A. It is a colloquial title informally bestowed upon the oldest member in point of service (Art. I, sec. 5, cl. 2). It was borrowed originally from the House of Commons.
Q. Why is a member of the House of Representatives referred to on the floor as "the gentleman from New York," for example, instead of by name?
A. It is a custom in all large deliberative bodies to avoid the use of the personal name in debate or procedure. The original purpose of this was to avoid any possible breach of decorum and to separate the political from the personal character of each member (Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 1).
Q. Do members of Congress get extra compensation for their work on committees?
A. No (Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 1).
Q. Could members of the President's Cabinet be permitted to sit in Congress without amending the Constitution?
A. No. A national officeholder cannot at the same time be a member of either house of Congress (Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 2).
Q. Must all revenue and appropriation bills originate in the House of Representatives?
A. The Constitution provides that all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives. It is customary for appropriation bills to originate there also (Art. I, sec. 7, cl. 1).
Q. What is meant by the word veto, in the President's powers?
A. The word is from the Latin and means "I forbid." The President is authorized by the Constitution to refuse his assent to a bill presented by Congress if for any reason he disapproves of it. Congress may, however, pass the act over his veto but it must be by a two-thirds majority in both houses. If Congress adjourns before the end of the 10 days, the President can prevent the enactment of the bill by merely not signing it. This is called a pocket veto (Art. I, sec. 7, cl. 2).
Q. If, after a bill has passed both houses of Congress and gone to the President, Congress desires to recall it, can this be done?
A. A bill which has reached the President may be recalled only by concurrent resolution. The form used is as follows: Resolved, by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the President be requested to return to the House of Representatives the bill... (title). After the concurrent resolution passes both houses it is formally transmitted to the