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JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD.
JAMES A. GARFIELD had a war record of no small glory when he was elected to Congress. There he came to the front as a champion of specie payment. He was made chairman of the committee of finance and banking, and his speeches laid down the soundest principles of national finance. He was a member of the electoral commission which awarded the Presidency to Mr. Hayes, and he fought in all ways the attempts of his political opponents to control the elections unfairly. He was elected to the Presidency as a compromise candidate in 1880. The one feature of his life in the White House was the celebrated patronage fight.
Garfield held out for the power and dignity of his office, although he conceded the national patronage to the Republican leaders. It was while the quarrel between these leaders for the spoils was going on that he was shot by Guiteau, and, after lingering for a few weeks, died. His administration was not old enough at his death to have had any political questions of moment submitted to it.
CHESTER ALLAN ARTHUR.
As Quartermaster-General of the State of New York during the war, Arthur showed his power of administration. When he became President on the death of Garfield, he set himself at work to quiet the feuds in the Republican party, and in this he succeeded well. His administration was a tranquil one, there being no great questions to settle and no great political issues to be fought out. He appointed that Central and South American commission which finally resulted in the Pan-American Congress. He made a treaty with Nicaragua looking forward to an inter-oceanic canal, and began the work of erecting defenses for the coast, which has gone on steadily ever since. The new navy was begun during his term of office, and the first of those sbips which now give us some power on the sea were designed and built.
The great problem of polygamy in Utah was grappled with, and this tenet of the Mormon belief was done away with. The fight was long, but the government won. The foreign relations of the country during his administration call for but little comment in any way.
THERE had been a long lease of power for the Republican party-from 1860 to 1884—when Grover Cleveland was elected President on the Democratic and Independent-Republican nomination. His career in politics had been almost phenomenally short. Mayor of Buffalo in 1881, and Governor of New York in 1882, he was chosen to carry the standard of the Democracy. During his term of office in Albany he became known as the “ Veto Goy. ernor,” and he earned a similar title in Washington.
Mr. Cleveland had from the first ranged himself on the side of economy in public expenditures. As mayor he saved Buffalo $1,000,000 in a year, and as Governor he refused to sign bills which involved heavy expenditures for the State. When he became President he made it apparent that his belief in his own judgment had not diminished. In two years he had vetoed 115 out of 987 bills passed by Congress.
Mr. Cleveland had the bitterest fight of his term on the question of civilservice reform. His party demanded that all Republicans be turned out of office and their places filled with Democrats. This demand the President refused to comply with.
During his term he took steps to recover the public lands which had been unlawfully seized. He promised protection to the Chinese from the mobs that had attacked them, and he took extremely strong ground against Canada as the result of outrages on American fishermen. The Senate attempted to compel him to give the reasons for such removals as he made from among the office-holders, and this the President resisted strongly and won the fight.
His administration was marked by tranquillity in our relations with other countries and prosperity in our own.
BENJAMIN HARRISON, a grandson of President Harrison, was elected to many local offices in his own State before he was sent to the Senate. In 1888 he was elected President on the nomination of the Republicans.
The features of his term have been the passage of the McKinley bill to increase the tariff, and the Pan-American Congress. At the latter, representatives of all countries in North and South America, except Canada, met in Washington and debated subjects of common interest. From this it is hoped the best results may, in time, come.
The events of President Harrison's term of oflice are too recent to make it necessary to allude to them at length in this place.
THE PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION.
AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE ELECTION OF A PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRES
IDENT, AND DECLARING THE OFFICER WHO SHALL ACT AS PRESIDENT
That the Electors shall meet and give their votes on the first Wednesday in December, at such place in each State, as shall be directed by the Legislature thereof; and the Electors in each State shall make and sign three certificates of all the votes by them given, and shall seal up the same, certifying, on each, that a list of the votes of such State, for President and Vice-President, is contained therein; and shall, by writing, under their hands, or under the hands of a majority of them, appoint a person to take charge of, and deliver to the President of the Senate, at the seat of government, before the first Wednesday in January then next ensuing, one of the said certificates; and the said Electors shall forthwith forward, by the post-office, to the President of the Senate, at the seat of government, one other of the said certiticates; and shall, forthwith, cause the other of the said certificates to be delivered to the judge of that district in which the said Electors shall assemble.
That the executive authority of each State shall cause three lists of the names of the Electors of such State to be made, and certified, and to be delivered to the Electors on or before the said tirst Wednesday in December; and the Electors shall annex one of the said lists to each of the lists of their votes.
That if a list of votes from any State shall not have been received at the seat of government, on the said first Wednesday in January, then the Secretary of State shall send a special messenger to the district judge in whose custody such list shall have been lodged, who shall forthwith transmit the same to the seat of government.
That Congress shall be in session on the second Wednesday in February, and the said certificates, or so many of them as shall have been received, shall then be opened, the votes counted, and the persons who shall fill the offices of President and Vice-President ascertained and declared, agrecably to the Constitution.
That in case there shall be no President of the Senate at the seat of government on the arrival of the persons intrusted with the lists of the votes of the Electors, then such persons shall deliver the lists of votes in their custody into the office of the Secretary of State, to be safely kept and delivered over, as soon as may be, to the President of the Senate.
That in case of a removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice-President, the President of the Senate pro tempore, and in case there shall be no President of the Senate, then the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for the time being, shall act as President of the United States, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
That whenever the offices of President and Vice-President shall both become vacant, the Secretary of State shall forthwith cause a notification to be made to the executive of every State, and shall also cause the same to be published in at least one of the newspapers printed in each State, specifying that Electors shall be appointed or chosen, in the several States, within thirty-four days preceding the first Wednesday in December then next ensuing; Procided, There shall be the space of two months between the date of said notification, and the said first Wednesday in December; but if there shall not be a space of two months between the date of such notification and the first Wednesday in December, and if the term for which the President and VicePresident last in office were elected shall not expire on the third day of March next ensuing, then the Secretary of State shall specify in his notification, that the Electors shall be appointed within thirty-four days preceding the fourth Wednesday in December in the next year ensuing, further action to be followed as prescribed by law for elections ordinarily:
THE PRESIDENTIAL SUCCESSION BILL, passed at the first session of the 49th Congress, reads as follows: Chap. IV.- In case of removal, death, resignation, or inability of both the President and Vice-President, a member of the Cabinet shall, in the following order, act as President until the disability is removed or a President elected : The Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney-General, Postmaster-General, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior; Provided, That whenever the powers and duties of the office of President of the United States shall devolve upon any of the persons named herein, if Congress be not then in session, or if it would not meet in accordance with law within twenty days thereafter, it shall be the duty of the person upon whom said powers and duties shall devolve, to issue a proclamation convening Congress in extraordinary session, giving twenty days' notice of the time of meeting.—[Approved January 19, 1886.)
THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE.
The Presidents and Vice-Presidents are chosen by Electors, the people of each State voting for as many Electors as it has members of both Houses of Congress. After the votes are cast and counted in the several districts in each State, the Electors meet at a place designated in the State law, and vote for the candidate whom they have been elected to choose. “ By this plan the electoral vote of each State is solid for one candidate, and the popular vote for the minority candidate is lost.” It may happen, and has so occurred, that the candidate receiving the largest number of popular votes has not been elected. If the number of votes cast by Electors for each candidate is equal, the House of Representatives is called upon to choose a President. This has happened twice. The Representatives vote, in such a case, by States, each delegation representing one vote for or against.
The plan of procedure when Electors meet is not generally known, and may be of interest: As noted above, they meet on a given day (Act of 1845) after the election, at a place designated by the State law. No particular organization for business is called for. As a rule, however, a chairman is selected when the Electors assemble. Then, by ballot, they vote for President and Vice-President, the ballots for each office being separate. This done, three lists are made of the persons voted for, including designation of the office to be filled and number of votes cast for each.
Following comes the preparation and signing of three identical certificates (one for each of the lists), stating that "a list of the votes for President and Vice-President is contained herein.” To each list of votes is added a list of the names of the Electors, made and certified by the Governor of the State.
The next step is to seal (separately) the certificates, certifying upon each that it contains a list of all the electoral votes of the State. These several documents having been made ready, the Electors appoint by writing a person to deliver one certificate to the President of the Senate at Washington. Another document (duplicate) is forwarded through the post-office, also to the President of the Senate at Washington. The third (or triplicate) is delivered to the Federal Judge of the district in which the Electors assemble.
“The Electoral College is then dead in laxv, whether it adjourns temporarily or permanently, or never adjourns.”