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thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the house of representatives shall not choose a president whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the vice-president shall act as president, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the president.
The person having the greatest number of votes as vice-president, shall be the vicepresident, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if no person have a majority, then, from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the vice-president: a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice.
But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of president, shall be eligible to that of vice-president of the United States.
Questions on the Constitution of the United States, with Explanations.
Who ordained and established the Constitution of the United States? For what objects was it ordained and established? Who ordained and established the Articles of Confederation? Ans. The state governments, not the people at large. One of the objects of the constitution, it is said, was to form a more perfect union; to what union is reference made? Ans. To that which existed under the Confederation, which was found to be very imperfect. What particular things are meant by the expression, "to establish justice?" Ans. To enact laws and establish courts for deciding controversies between different states, the inhabitants of different states, and all questions of national concern. What particular things are meant by the expression, "to ensure domestic tranquillity?" Ans. To prevent quarrels betwe the states and insurrections either against the general government, or the state governments. There had been insurrections in some of the states just previous to the adoption of the constitution. What are some of the particular things included in providing "for the common
defence ?" Ans. The raising and maintain-ing of armies and navies, the building of forts and arsenals, and the manufacture of ammunition and arms. What are some of the particular things included in promoting "the general welfare?" Ans. It includes all the other objects specified in the preamble and some not specified, as for example, the regulation of commerce, with foreign nations and with the Indian tribes, the coining of money, the establishment and regulation of the post office. and numerous other things either enumerated expressly in the body of the constitution, or to be inferred from some of its rules. Explain the expression, "to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity. Explanation. There seems to be some allusion in it to the evils which afflicted the country under the confederation. From the weakness of the union, there was great danger, that our liberties, which had cost us so much, would fall a prey either to foreign enemies, or to anarchy, and through anarchy to domestic ty rants. The innumerable blessings of a good and a free government were in danger of being lost. To secure these blessings was one object of the people of the United States in establishing this Constitution. It should rather
be said it was their great object and one which embraced all the others enumerated.
This instrument is called, not a Confederation, but a CONSTITUTION; what is the difference between the two things? Ans. A Confederation is an agreement between two or more sovereigns, and it depends for its fulfilment either on the will of the parties or on some forcible compulsion. Our confederation depended entirely on the will of the parties. A Constitution is a system of government which does not depend for its efficacy on the will of any sovereigns except that of the sovereign people, and it contains provisions within itself for accomplishing its own purposes. Our confederation depended for the accomplishment of its purposes on the will of the state governments. In the Articles of Confederation there was no plan for enforcing either their own stipulations or the determinations of congress.
Remark. The scholar should commit to memory the exact words of the preamble to the Constitution. It comprises with admirable brevity the substance of the whole instrument.
SEC. 1. In whom are the legislative powers granted by the constitution vested? What are
legislative powers? Ans. Powers of making laws. What is the meaning of the word congress ? Ans. A meeting together, an assembly; it properly signifies an assembly of sovereigns; in this sense it was applied to the meeting of sovereign states by their delegates, under the confederation and in forming the constitution, the term was retained though in a sense somewhat altered. Of what two branches does congress consist? What was the object of dividing the legislative body into two branches? Ans. That in making laws one might serve as a check upon the other. If the whole power of making laws be vested in a single body of men, there is greater danger that laws will be enacted without due deliberation, and also that the law makers will go beyond the powers vested in them, than there is, where after the excitement of the first discussion of a subject is over, it is still to be acted upon by another body of men, so constituted that it will naturally restrain the other from exceeding its just authority.
SEC. 2. By whom and how often are the members of the house of representatives chosen? What is the meaning of the word representative? Ans. One who is present on any