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tonal authority. There was, pero congress from the operation of such haps, too much of this. It savored an executive. When that body of apathy and indifference, which, elects a president, it makes itself on such a subject, he regarded as his partizan. Instead of exercising the worst of evils. If the people a control; it will feel bound to suswould not elect a president, some tain the president of its choice, and one must. Their indifference will the independence of the legislagive a morbid energy to political ture is destroyed." To say nointriguers and office hunters. thing here of corruption, there is
They will seek importance by in- hardly a man among us, proud as fluencing the election of the ex- we are of our own dignity, who ecutive. God forbid, said he, that cannot have the sternness of his we should put it into the power of virtue relaxed by a smile, or an act men to raise themselves by such of confidence on the part of the means. Let our aspirations rather executive. The people are withbe, “ Lead us not into temptation.” out the circle of this influence; but
By the present constitution, the we, their virtuous legislators, can three highest candidates are refer- be reached by a thousand modes.” red to Congress. Is this because In congress, such is the state of congress is more intelligent than things, that, in general, the choice the people ?
of the people must be defeated. If the people are capable of Minorities will always combine voting for three, they are capable against majorities. The man who of voting for one. The evils of is the choice of the nation stands both systems are at present united. on his own principles. You canThe candidates are sent to con- not approach him; and, upon 'a gress without giving any latitude principle as certain as gravitation, of discretion-yet enough for the minorities will unite against him. purposes of corruption.
The vote is by states; and by the In this government the execu- corruption of the smaller states, a tive acts unseen. He expends mo. president may be elected. Even ney, distributes armies, regulates excluding the idea of corruption, and controls not in the public eye, the effect is to array factions in before which the legislature acts; congress, and to render it probable but in silence. He is only brought that the executive will be elected before the public through the le- by a minority. What will be the gislature, and that sees him only consequence of bringing in a prethrough the lumbering documents sident under such circumstances ? on the table. He would preserve You place him at the head of affairs, with the consciousness that he temptation which few can resist. has no power, and his whole pa. Satan himself could not devise a tronage will be used to bolster up scheme, which would more infallihis popularity. He is compelled bly introduce corruption and death hy his situation to become a poli- into our political Eden. This is the tical intriguer. He feared the in- fountain of our danger. The hisfluence of executive patronage. tory of every free government ilHe had well considered it when he lustrates it. They all have fallen said, that since man was created, under the corrupting influence of there never was a political body executive patronage. which would not become corrupt. Are we exempt ? he asked. Are Corruption steals upon us in a the statesmen of the United States thousand shapes. The bribery of more pure? The people, indeed, office is the most dangerous, since are, from the peculiar structure of it can be effected in the guise of society, superior to the people of patriotism..
England. But there is no country, All experience teaches us the where office has more attraction irresistible power of temptation, than in the United States. He did when vice assumes the form of not say this in censure, or in praise. virtue. The great enemy of man- Human nature is the same every kind would not have consummated where. We are, however, somethe ruin of our first parents, had he what worse than in England. A appeared in his native deformity: member of parliament would disbut he came as the serpentas the dain to accept a petty office at the president may—and presented a hands of the king. A member of beautiful apple, and told his glo- congress will accept any office. zing story, you can be guilty of no We see all principles, all the cocrime; you will obtain the know- lours of the rainbow in our cabiledge of good and evil. Such was net-a sacrifice of principle at the the process : and here you have a shrine of power. beautiful illustration of the frailty These evils must be resisted now, of man. We are not liable to be in their incipient state, or never. corrupted!! To ambitious mem- To effect this desirable object, bers of congress, there are offices, he offered the following modificawhich may appear as beautiful as tion of his original proposition. the apple of Eden. You are ap- That the constitution should be so plied to by the highest power of amended, as to prevent the election the nation ; honor, power, wealth of president and vice president, are all held out to you. This is a from devolving upon the house of representatives. 2dly. That an the same time, should preserve the uniform system of voting by dis- just influence and power of the setricts in each state, equal in num- veral states of the confederacy. ber to the senators and representa- The parties to the compact came tives of that state, ought to be es- together, in the character of sepatablished, and that each district rate and independent communities should have one vote. 3dly. That of people, distinct and sovereign. a select committee be appointed, to In all that related to their external report a joint resolution embracing relations, and in much that conthose objects.
cerned their domestic prosperity, These resolutions, and the argu- their true and obvious policy was ments, by which they were support- the same. The formation, howed, necessarily provoked much dis- ever, of a common government, cussion. Mr. Storrs, of New-York, was attended with great difficulopposed them in a speech which, ties. made a strong impression on the The natural advantages of some the house. He entirely denied the of the states, and the habits and fundamental principles upon which character of their citizens, had led the mover of the resolutions had them to look to commerce, as the advocated them, viz. that the ori- chief source of their prosperity. ginal adjustment of the electoral In other states a difference of situpower, was intended to obtain the ation and habits, had caused ansense of a majority of the people other interest to predominate. In of the United States, in the elec- several of the states there existed tion of a president; that in that ad- common political interests, pecujustment, the democratic representa- liar in their character, and closetive principle was introduced into ly connected with their internal the system; that the district system peace and security—perhaps their is most congenial to the spirit of very existence—which these states the constitution ; and that the gene- could never safely subject to the ral ticket system, tends to subvert operation of any system, not under the will of a majority of the peo- their exclusive control. It was a ple. He regarded the great end to most difficult and delicate matter be accomplished in the formation to unite, even for the most desiraof the constitution was, the esta- ble ends, the various and, in some blishment of a national govern- respects, repugnant interests of the mnent, which should be adequate to parties to the federal constitution. the objects, in which we all had a At that time, the security of all common interest ; and which, at these various interests was con
fided, to legislatures immediately election of an executive, as founded responsible to the several states. on the pure popular representative The power and resources of the principle which the amendment states were in the hands of these professes to adopt. In settling legislatures, as the guardians of the that part, as in the other branches common political interests, of the of the government, the principles people who created them. In the upon which the compromise for formation of a federal government, the preservation of these various inthey were called upon, to take from terests was made, were consulted. their state legislatures many of the The senate was not established on powers of sovereignty, and to con- such a basis : Nor was the house of fer them on the national govern- representatives. There was one ment. In the distribution not only interest, which helped to swell the of these powers; but of all those numerical power of some of the incidentally accessary to the new states in that house, which was System, they were most sensiby subversive of the whole foundation alive to the security of their sepa- of popular representation in a free rate interests, and the preservation government; and, in any event, of their just relative political influ- the smaller states are secured one ence, in that peculiar system, which representative on principles, which was to be established more or less were not necessarily connected on the basis of the popular princi- with their population. ple of a representation of the peo- The distribution of the electoral ple of the several states, as differ- power has been graduated among ent sovereign communities. This the states, by their collective numewas the intention of the framers of rical power, in the house and the the constitution. The compact is senate, carrying in it the ingrebetween the people of the respec- dient of all the federative, as well tive states, as distinct sovereign as representative principles, which communities. It is not to be entered into this political system. treated as the creature of the state From these principles he conlegislatures. They were not par- cluded, that in the election of ties in any sense to this compact. president it was intended to preThe constitution speaks throughout serve inviolably, the expression of of the parties, in the character of the will of the people of the several distinct state communities. He states, as distinct political commuinferred, that it was an error to nities. It was not to collect the treat that part, which prescribes the sense of the people of the United
States as one common mass; but approximates to a consolidation ; as representing the will of separate, which must, at last, annihilate their independent republics.
influence in the confederacy. On this point, too, they have If the free states, by the enterprise manifested extreme jealousy, in the of their citizens, or other causes, manner in which they have secured have acquired a relative power the exercise of this right, from the which did not exist at the adoption interference of congress. The con- of the constitution ; that result was stitution has provided, that the then foreseen, and a fair equivalent 66 times and manner” of election was then given and received, for may be altered by congress ; but the advantages secured to them by the choice of the electors is taken that compact. But it is not the completely beyond the reach of free states that are most concerned any interference by the other states, in the consequences, which must and all power over the subject is result from a disturbance of the withheld from congress. The original adjustment of power by equivalent for this augmentation of the constitution. From the compower in the large states, by this mencement of the government, state vote in the electoral colleges, they have steadily advanced in a is to be found when the election is greater ratio of increase than the brought into the house ; but even rest of the union ; and every suc. then, the federative principle is cessive census indicates an appreserved in the ballot. This right, proach to that point, which will then, of choosing electors in their give to the free states two thirds own way being thus retained by of the numerical strength of this the states, by the original compact, house. The state sovereignties is to be exercised, only as they shall now hold this power in check ; deem best for the preservation but every movement disturbing of their just political importance. their stability in this system, weakWhen the large states consent to ens the foundations of the governsurrender it, or suffer themselves ment. to be broken up into fragments by Is the mover of these resoluthis amendment, which proposes to tions, then, ready to adopt his melt down into one common mass, principles in their full extent, and the people of the several states, to apportion the electoral power they have surrendered their strength; between the states according to and will finally find, that they have their respective numbers of free sacrificed their interests. Every citizens ? Will he consent to give step taken towards this system, up the power which many of the