Elements of Civil Government eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about Elements of Civil Government.

He may make treaties with foreign countries, but before a treaty can have any effect it must be submitted by him to the Senate, and must be ratified by a vote of two thirds of the senators present.  With the consent of the Senate, he appoints ministers to foreign courts, consuls to foreign countries, judges of the United States Supreme Court, and other officers, of the national government.  He fills vacancies in office which occur during recesses of the Senate, by granting commissions which expire at the close of the next session of the Senate.

He may, in cases of extreme necessity, call special session of Congress, or of either house.  If the Senate and the House of Representatives fail to agree upon a time to which they shall adjourn, the President may adjourn them to such time as he may think proper.  Such a necessity has never arisen, and therefore this power has never been exercised.

The President may receive or refuse to receive ministers and other agents of foreign governments. To receive a minister is to recognize the nation which he represents.  He may also dismiss foreign ministers who do not prove acceptable to our government.

He commissions all officers of the United States.  The power to make appointments of office is called his patronage.  A civil service commission, consisting of three commissioners, has been established by act of Congress, to secure efficiency in the public service, and to prevent the appointment of men to office as a reward for party work.  Before applicants for certain offices can be appointed they must pass an examination prescribed by the civil service commission.


The President’s cabinet is a council of ten official advisers, appointed by him and confirmed by the Senate.  They are often called heads of departments.  The members of the cabinet are the secretary of state, secretary of the treasury, secretary of war, secretary of the navy, postmaster-general, secretary of the interior, attorney-general, secretary of agriculture, secretary of commerce, and secretary of labor.

They may be removed by the President at pleasure, and are directly responsible to him for the conduct of their respective departments.  The President holds frequent meetings of the cabinet for the purpose of conferring upon official business; but he may, if he choose, disregard their advice and act upon his own judgment.

In case of the death, resignation, removal, or disability of both President and Vice President, the presidential office would be filled by a member of the cabinet, in this order:  The secretary of state, the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of war, the attorney-general, the postmaster-general, the secretary of the navy, the secretary of the interior.

Each of the cabinet officers receives a salary of twelve thousand dollars per year.

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Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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