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The third great department in the state governments is the Executive power.
In all the states the executive power is vested in a governor, who in all the states but Virginia and South Carolina, is elected by the people; in those two states he is elected by joint vote of both houses of their respective legislatures.
Some of the states elect a Lieutenant Governor at the same time, who, in case of death, resignation or impeachment of the governor, will perform the duties of governor until the next election. In other states, if the gubernatorial chair become vacant the president of the senate performs the duties of gover
In Maine, New York, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri and Arkansas, the governor must be a native born citizen. In New Hampshire he must be of the protestant religion. In Missouri he must be thirty-five years
In other states he must be 30 years
What is the third great department in the state governments ?
In some of the states the governor, as we have seen, is chosen annually, in others once in 2 years, in others once in 3 years, and in others once in 4 years. In most of the states the governor is voted for directly by the people; and if no candidate has such a majority as is required, the legislature elects the governor out of the candidates voted for by the people. In two of the states he is chosen by joint ballot of both houses of the legislature.
In some of the states the governor appoints the judges, in other states he only commissions them. In each state the governor also commissions all military officers. The governor of each state is commanderin-chief of the militia of the state, except when they are called into the service of the United States. The governor in most of the states has power to remit fines and forfeitures incurred under the state laws, and also to grant reprieves and pardons for offences committed against the laws of the state.
For what length of time is he chosen ?
After several ineffectual attempts to ascertain the public sentiment, in regard to the revision of the federal system of government, as established in the articles of confederation, it was finally proposed that a convention be held at Philadelphia in May, 1787, composed of delegates from all the states, for the adoption of some new system which would impart more general powers to the general government. Of the 13 original states Rhode Island was the only one which was not represented on that occasion. After a session of some four months, our present constitution was framed, and submitted to congress by the president of the convention, George Washington, accompanied by the following explanatory letter:
IN CONVENTION, Sept. 17, 1787. SIR:
We have now the honor to transmit to the consideration of the United States in congress assembled, that constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable.
The friends of our country have long seen and desired that the power of making war, peace, and treaties, that of levying money, and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the union; but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one
body of men is evident; hence results the necessity of a different organization.
It is obviously impracticable in the Federal Government of these states to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be preserved; and, on the present occasion, this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several states as to their situation, extent, habits, and particular interests.
In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our union, in which is involved our prosperity, felicity, safety-perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each state in the convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude than might have been otherwise expected; and thus, the constitution which we now present is the result of a spirit of amity, and that mutual deference and concession, which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensable.
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every state is not perhaps to be expected; but each will, doubtless, consider that had her interest
alone been consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to the others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.
With great respect, we have the honor to be, sir,
your Excellency's most obedient and humble
servants. By the unanimous order of the convention,
GEO. WASHINGTON, Pres't. His Exc. the President of Congress.
Congress resolved, unanimously, that the Report with the letter accompanying it, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of Delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof.
Accordingly conventions were called in eleven of the states, and the sentiments embraced in the articles submitted being in accordance with the views of the respective states, they were adopted, and presented in the following Constitution of the United States: