Debate of Executive Power (June 1)

was for a vigorous Executive but was afraid the Executive powers of the existing Congress might extend to peace and war and etc., etc., which would render the Executive a monarchy, of the worst kind, to wit an elective one.

James Wilson

moved that the Executive consist of a single person.

seconded the motion,so as to read "that a National Executive to consist of a single pon, be instituted." A consirable pause ensuing and the Chairman asking if he should put the question,

observed that it was a point of great Importance and wished that the gentlemen wouid deliver their sentiments on it before the question was put.

animadverted on the shyness of gentlemen on this and other subjects. He said it looked as if they supposed themselves precluded by having frankly disclosed their opinions from afterwards.changing them, which he did not take to be at all the case. He said he was for vesting the Executive power in a single person, though he was not for giving him the power of war and peace. A single man would feel the greatest responsibility and administer the public affairs best.

said he considered the Executive magistracy as nothing more than an institution for carrying the will of the legislature into effect, that the person or persons ought to be appointed by and accountable to the legislature only, which was the depository of the supreme will of the Society. As they were the best jndges of the business which ought to be done by the Executive department, and consequently of the number necessary from time to time for doing it, he wished the number might not be fixed, but that the legislature should be at liberty to appoint one or more as experience might dictate.

preferred a single magistrate, as giving most energy dispatch and responsibility to the office. He did not consider the Prerogatives of the British Monarch as a proper guide in defining the Executive powers. Some of these prerogatives were of a legislative nature. Among others that of war and peace etc., etc. The only powers he conceived strictly Executive were those of executing the laws, and appointing officers, not appertaining to and appointed by the Legislature.

favored the policy of annexing a Council to the Executive in order to give weight and inspire confidence.

strenuously opposed a unity in the Executive magistracy. He regarded it as the fetus of monarchy. We had he said no motive to be governed by the British Government as our prototype. He did not mean however to throw censure on that Excellent fabric. If we were in a situation to copy it he did not know that he should be opposed to it; but the fixed genius of the people of America required a different form of Government. He could not see why the great requisites for the Executive departement, vigor, despatch and responsibility could not be found in three men, as well as in one man. The Executive ought to be independent. It ought therefore in order to support its independence to consist of more than one.

said that unity in the Executive instead of being the fetus of monarchy would be the best safeguard against tyranny. He repeated that he was not governed by the British Model which was inapplicable to the situation of this Country; the extent of which was so great, and the manners so republican, that nothing but a great confederated Republic would do for it.