Tag

legislature

Consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the legislature is the branch of the U.S. government most closely tied to the people, as its members are directly elected by the people. The express and implied powers of the legislature are outlined in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution.

Along with many delegates at the convention, Charles Pinckney's opposition to the motion for executive appointment of judges was most likely rooted in his colonial experience of King George III and the royal governors.  Both the king and the governors used the appointment power as a patronage system and as a way to influence the legislature.  
Annotated by bacraig on November 06, 2014
In this passage, Edmund Randolph felt a longer term for senators would help counter-balance the influence of the House, a more democratic institution.  Being someone who was more of a moderate, he was worried about the dangers of too much democracy.
Annotated by bacraig on November 04, 2014
In this statement, Nathaniel Gorham argued against Madison's motion for the Senate to conduct a peace treaty on its own during war by saying Congress would have the power of the purse to cut off funding for a war.

In practice, it is very hard for Congress to unilaterally end a war.  Even during one of America's most unpopular war in Vietnam, it was not until June 1973 that Congress passed a provision to cut off funds for combat activities in Indochina.  President Nixon signed this into law months after the Paris Peace Accords were signed.
Annotated by bacraig on October 31, 2014
On August 6th, the Committee of Detail report said "The Senate of the U. S. shall have power to make treaties..." which gave a high-degree of power to the Senate regarding American foreign policy.

In reaction, Gouverneur Morris felt the House and president should be part of the treaty process by having treaties ratified by law.
Annotated by bacraig on October 29, 2014
On August 6th, the Committee of Detail report said "The Senate of the U. S. shall have power to make treaties..." which gave a high-degree of power to the Senate regarding American foreign policy.Some delegates saw the Senate as an enclave of states interest. 

By arguing that the president "should be an agent in Treaties," James Madison felt the country would be better served by having a president, who represented the entire country, be involved in treaties.
Annotated by bacraig on October 29, 2014
Benjamin Franklin favored a more direct democracy, and Charles Pinckney's motion to require members of three branches of government to have property in order to hold office did not suite Franklin.  His simple statement that "some of the greatest rogues I was ever acquainted with, were the richest rogues" might have garned a laugh, but his overall argument proved effective.  Pinckney's motion was rejected.
Annotated by bacraig on October 23, 2014
Pierce Butler is reacting to the vagueness found in Article 6 of the Virginia Plan that stated "that the National Legislature ought to be impowered to enjoy the Legislative Rights vested in Congress by the Confederation & moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation."  The delegates were beginning to struggle with what the states role was in national government.
Annotated by bacraig on October 14, 2014
In his analogy about building a table, Ben Franklin was asking the delegates to compromise. His next statement (passages 1015-1018) would echo the Connecticut Compromise "that the legislatures of the several states shall choose and send an equal number of delegates...who are to compose the 2d. branch of the General Legislature."  The House would have authority over taxes and spending, while the Senate would have authority over executive confirmation and master of "state sovereignty."  Franklin would serve on the Gerry Committee that would give the House proportional representation and give each state equal vote in the Senate.

Franklin's biographer, Walter Isaacson, writes, "He [Franklin] embodied the spirit and issued the call for compromise, he selected the most palatable option available and refined it, and he wrote the and picked the right moment to offer it."
Annotated by bacraig on October 13, 2014
James Madison realized at this point that the delegates should focus first, as Lance Banning writes, "on structural and operational reform."  The delegates could work on the fifteen resolutions faster by avoiding, at the moment, the more contentious issues, such as enumerating the powers of the legislature. 
Annotated by bacraig on October 10, 2014
For Alexander Hamilton, the lower legislature is an important element to governance, by giving people their voice in government.  From the lower house, there is a term limit and these representatives choose the upper house and the executive. 
Annotated by bacraig on October 08, 2014