The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.9.  The first prohibition to the states in the next clause is to “lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing their inspection laws.”  The objections to the power of the states to lay duties have been considered.  They are founded upon the same reasons as have been given for intrusting congress with this power; one of which is to secure uniformity throughout the United States. (Chap.  XXXII, Sec.6.) And as congress is properly prohibited from laying duties on exports, (Chap.  XXXVI, Sec.8, 9,) there can be no good reason for allowing it to be done by the states.

Sec.10.  The exception allowing a state to lay duties necessary to execute its inspection laws was deemed proper.  Laws are passed by the states for the inspection or examination of flour and meat in barrels, leather, and sundry other commodities in commercial cities, to ascertain their quality and quantity, and to be marked accordingly.  By this means the states are enabled to improve the quality of articles produced by the labor of the country, and the articles are better fitted for sale, as the purchaser is thereby guarded against deception.  A small tax is laid upon the goods inspected, to pay for their inspection.  But, lest the states should carry this power so far as to injure other states, these “laws are to be subject to the revision and control of congress.”

Sec.11.  The last restrictions upon the power of the states contained in this section, are:  “No state shall, without the consent of congress, lay any duty of tunnage; keep troops or ships of war in time of peace; enter into any agreement or compact with any other state, or with a foreign power; or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.”  Some of the prohibitions here enumerated have been noticed in this and preceding chapters; and the reasons of the others are so obvious as to render any remarks upon them unnecessary.

Chapter XXXIX.

Executive Department.  President and Vice-President; their Election, Qualifications, &c.

Sec.1.  The second article of the constitution relates to the executive department.  Of the necessity of a separate and distinct power to execute the laws, we have already spoken. (Chap.  VIII, Sec.7.) Under the confederation, as will be recollected, there was no national executive.  This defect has been supplied by the constitution.  “The executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.  He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the vice-president, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows.” (Art. 2, Sec.1.)

Sec.2.  In regard to the organization and powers of the executive department, there was a great diversity of opinion.  Ought the chief executive power to be vested in one person, or a number of persons?  Laws should be executed with promptness and energy.  This is more likely to be done by one man than by a number.  If several were associated in the exercise of this power, disagreement and discord would be likely to happen, and to cause frequent and injurious delays.  Unity being deemed favorable to energetic and prompt action, the chief executive power of the nation was given to a single person.

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