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A protective tariff, under which our home industries have been Measures fostered and developed until we are able to supply our own markets been called and also reach out for the markets of the world; under which the unconstitutional. farmer has secured a market for his produce at fair and remunerative prices; under which the manufacturer has been able to sell his products and develop and broaden his industries, and under which the laborer of the country has had his wages maintained at a scale nowhere equalled, was unconstitutional. The national banking system of this country was pronounced unconstitutional. The inauguration of the system of internal improvements that has done so much for the building up of commerce and the country was unconstitutional.
The limitation placed on the extension of slavery was unconstitutional. The salvation and preservation of the Union itself was declared to have been done through unconstitutional means. The issuance and redemption of the greenbacks was unconstitutional. The throttling of polygamy at the very threshold of the national capital was unconstitutional. The growth of the nation in the acquisition of Hawaii, Porto Rico, and the Philippines was unconstitutional. But, notwithstanding all this, the nation still lives, the Constitution still lives, and the zenith of our nation's glory has not yet been reached.
The Constitution, instead of being an instrument to strangle and destroy national growth and development, is the very soul and life of the nation in expanding and broadening as the necessities of civilisation and development demand. The extent of our greatness has not yet been measured. With relentless power these constitutional quibbles have been and will be brushed aside, that our nation may grow and develop into the great Republic, the admiration and hope of mankind, the exemplar and the ideal of all liberty-loving people. That this objection to the bill under consideration will meet the same fate we do not doubt, and should the question ever come up for consideration before the Supreme Court, there can be no question but that its decision will add life and not death to the Constitution. . .
The Condesigned to promote
along the Mississippi.
The grants to railways.
The main purpose of this bill is to reclaim worthless property of the Government and make it valuable, The Government has constructed levees along the Mississippi River. Why? Ostensibly to aid commerce; primarily to protect farms and lands from destruction by overflow. Not public lands, either, but private lands. If the Government can do this, why can it not turn water onto its dry and worthless lands to make them valuable and productive? The Government has granted swamp lands to the States upon the condition that they will reclaim them. If it can do this, can it not provide for the irrigation and watering of its own lands in its own way and by the exercise of its own power?
The Government has granted millions of its public domains directly to railroad companies in order that roads might be built across the continent. Some there be who condemn this policy and yet no one can cross this continent and not realise the immeasurable benefit that has been brought to the nation by the construction of these roads, and no one can see the almost insurmountable difficulties encountered and overcome and not appreciate that aid of this kind was necessary to secure the early construction of these roads. What was the object of these grants? Not for the benefit of the corporation or the individual but for the benefit of the nation, for the growth and development of the people, and for the settlement and development of the public domain of the country. If the Government can do this, if it can turn this property over to private individuals in order that its public domain may be settled, can it not take the proceeds of the sale of its public domain and use them in reclaiming these public lands?
There are those who advocate the granting of a subsidy for the building up of the merchant marine. Some of those who advocate such a measure are opposed to this bill. I am in favor of a subsidy if that will place the American flag upon the scas, but if we can use money of the Government for such a purpose and I believe we can - surely the Government can use its money for reclaiming its own lands. If it can improve property of others, it certainly can improve its own. If it can pay others for im
proving its own property, it certainly can improve this property itself.
The Constitution an
What is the Government? Is it not the instrument of the people? The people are not for the Government, as some seem instrument to think, but the Government is for the people, and I believe that of the under our Constitution any measure that results in great good to people. a great number of our people and tends to make the people happier, more prosperous, and more contented will find warrant under the Constitution. If we can expend millions in aid of commerce, we certainly can expend a few millions to create commerce.
29. The Constitution and Executive Practice
The "dark continent" of presidential war power was not explored until the Civil War, when Lincoln, without express warrant from the Constitution, blockaded several Southern ports, authorized the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus at different places, and finally destroyed slavery in many states, although that institution within commonwealths in times of peace was entirely beyond the reach of both Congress and the President. In the following letter written in 1864, Lincoln describes the process of reasoning by which he arrived at the conclusion that he had constitutional warrant for this assumption of power:
The war power
of the President.
to preserve the Con
stitution justified the use of
I did understand, however, that my oath to preserve the Con- The oath stitution to the best of my ability, imposed on me the duty of preserving by every indispensable means, that government nation of which that Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution? indispenBy general law, life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground and now avow it. I could not feel that, to the best of my ability, I had even tried to preserve the Constitution, if, to preserve slavery, or any minor
How Lincoln waited for the imperative necessity.
Jefferson on the
of the doctrine.
matter, I should permit the wreck of government, country, and Constitution altogether.
When, early in the war, General Fremont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity. When, a little later, General Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested arming the blacks, I objected because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity. When, still later, General Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come. When, in March and May and July, 1862, I made earnest and successive appeals to the border States to favor compensated emancipation, I believed the indispensable necessity for military emancipation and arming the blacks would come, unless averted by that measure. They declined the proposition; and I was, in my best judgment, driven to the alternative of either surrendering the Union and with it the Constitution, or of laying strong hand upon the colored element. I chose the latter.
30. The Third Term Doctrine
The principle that no President should accept a third term is as well established in practice as if it were embodied in the Constitution itself. Jefferson thus comments on the origin of the principle:
My opinion originally was that the President should have been elected for seven years, and forever ineligible afterwards. I have since become sensible that seven years is too long to be irremovable, and that there should be a peaceable way of withdrawing a man in midway who is doing wrong. The service for eight years, with a power to remove at the end of the first four, comes nearly to my principle as corrected by experience, and it is in adherence to that, that I determine to withdraw at the end of my second term. The danger is that the indulgence and attachments of the people will keep a man in the chair after he becomes a dotard, that reëlection through life shall become habitual,
and election for life follow that. General Washington set the example of voluntary retirement after eight years. I shall follow it. And a few more precedents will oppose the obstacle of habit to any one after awhile who shall endeavor to extend his term. Perhaps it may beget a disposition to establish it by an amendment of the Constitution. . .
In 1875 when the friends of President Grant were demanding a third term for him, the House of Representatives on December 15 passed this resolution commending the precedent set by Washington and Jefferson and followed by their successors:
Resolved, That, in the opinion of this House, the precedent The House of Repreestablished by Washington and other Presidents of the United sentatives States, in retiring from the presidential office after their second commends term, has become, by universal concurrence, a part of our repub- doctrine. lican system of government, and that any departure from this timehonored custom would be unwise, unpatriotic, and fraught with peril to our free institutions.