Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex. The amendment was adopted on August 18, 1920 as the culmination of the women's suffrage movement in the United States, which fought at both state and national levels to achieve the vote, it overruled Minor v. Happersett, in which a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment did not give women the right to vote. Since the 1860s, an increasing number of states had given women the right to vote, but several states still denied women the right to vote at the time the amendment was ratified; the Nineteenth Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1878 by Senator Aaron A. Sargent. Forty-one years in 1919, Congress submitted it to the states for ratification, it was ratified by three-fourths of the states a year with Tennessee's ratification being the last needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
In Leser v. Garnett, the Supreme Court rejected claims that the amendment was unconstitutionally adopted; the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation; the United States Constitution, adopted in 1789, left the boundaries of suffrage undefined. The only directly elected body created by the original Constitution was the House of Representatives, for which voter qualifications were explicitly delegated to the individual states. At that time, all states denied voting rights to women. While scattered movements and organizations dedicated to women's rights existed the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention in New York is traditionally held as the start of the American women's rights movement. Suffrage was not a focus of the convention and its advancement was minimal in the decades preceding the Civil War. While suffrage bills were introduced into most state legislatures during this period, they were disregarded and few came to a vote.
The women's suffrage movement took hold during the Reconstruction era. During this period, women's rights leaders advocated for inclusion of universal suffrage as a civil right in the Reconstruction Amendments. Despite their efforts, these amendments did nothing to promote women's suffrage. Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly discriminated between men and women by penalizing states who deprived adult male citizens of the vote, but not for denying the vote to adult female citizens. In Minor v. Happersett, 88 U. S. 162, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not provide or protect a right to vote to women. Continued settlement of the western frontier, along with the establishment of territorial constitutions, allowed the issue to be raised continually at the state level. Through the activism of suffrage organizations and independent political parties, women's suffrage was established in the newly formed constitutions of Wyoming Territory and Washington Territory.
Existing state legislatures began to consider suffrage bills, several held voter referenda, but they were unsuccessful. Efforts at the national level persisted through a strategy of congressional testimony and lobbying. There were several attempts to amend the Constitution, prior to the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, to grant universal and limited suffrage to women. One of the attempts, the "Petition for Universal Suffrage", signed by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among others, called for a Constitutional amendment to "prohibit the several states from disenfranchising any of their citizens on the ground of sex" in 1865. In another attempt, an amendment proposed in the House of Representatives called for limited suffrage for women who were spinsters or widows and owned property in 1888. Two rival organizations, the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were formed in 1869; the NWSA, led by suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B.
Anthony, attempted several unsuccessful court challenges in the mid-1870s. Their legal case, known as the New Departure strategy, was that the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment together served to guarantee voting rights to women. Three Supreme Court decisions from 1873 to 1875 rejected this argument, so these groups shifted to advocating for a new constitutional amendment; the Nineteenth Amendment is identical to the Fifteenth Amendment, except that the Nineteenth prohibits the denial of suffrage because of sex and the Fifteenth because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". Colloquially known as the "Anthony Amendment", it was first introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Aaron A. Sargent of California. Sargent, who had met and befriended Anthony on a train ride in 1872, was a dedicated women's suffrage advocate, he had attempted to insert women's suffrage provisions into unrelated bills, but did not formally introduce a constitutional amendment until January 1878.
Stanton and other women testified before the Senate in support of the amendment. The proposal sat in a committee until it was considered by the full Senate and rejected in a 16 to 34 vote in 1887. A three-decade period known as "the doldrums" followed, during which the amendment was not considered by Congress and the women's suffrage movement achieved f
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments. Arguably one of the most consequential amendments to this day, the amendment addresses citizenship rights and equal protection of the laws and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War; the amendment was bitterly contested by the states of the defeated Confederacy, which were forced to ratify it in order to regain representation in Congress. The amendment its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education regarding racial segregation, Roe v. Wade regarding abortion, Bush v. Gore regarding the 2000 presidential election, Obergefell v. Hodges regarding same-sex marriage; the amendment limits the actions of all state and local officials, including those acting on behalf of such an official. The amendment's first section includes several clauses: the Citizenship Clause, Privileges or Immunities Clause, Due Process Clause, Equal Protection Clause.
The Citizenship Clause provides a broad definition of citizenship, nullifying the Supreme Court's decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, which had held that Americans descended from African slaves could not be citizens of the United States. Since the Slaughter-House Cases, the Privileges or Immunities Clause has been interpreted to do little; the Due Process Clause prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without a fair procedure. The Supreme Court has ruled this clause makes most of the Bill of Rights as applicable to the states as it is to the federal government, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy; the Equal Protection Clause requires each state to provide equal protection under the law to all people, including all non-citizens, within its jurisdiction. This clause has been the basis for many decisions rejecting irrational or unnecessary discrimination against people belonging to various groups.
The second and fourth sections of the amendment are litigated. However, the second section's reference to "rebellion, or other crime" has been invoked as a constitutional ground for felony disenfranchisement; the fourth section was held, in Perry v. United States, to prohibit a current Congress from abrogating a contract of debt incurred by a prior Congress; the fifth section gives Congress the power to enforce the amendment's provisions by "appropriate legislation". Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed, but when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, having taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof, but Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. Section 4; the validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave.
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. In the final years of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, Congress debated the rights of black former slaves freed by the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 1865 Thirteenth Amendment, the latter of which had formally abolished slavery. Following the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by Congress, Republicans grew concerned over the increase it would create in the congressional representation of the Democratic-dominated Southern States; because the full population of fre
Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. This amendment codifies the right to a jury trial in certain civil cases and inhibits courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact. An early version of the Seventh Amendment was introduced in Congress in 1789 by James Madison, along with the other amendments, in response to Anti-Federalist objections to the new Constitution. Congress proposed a revised version of the Seventh Amendment to the states on September 28, 1789, by December 15, 1791, the necessary three-quarters of the states had ratified it. Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson announced the adoption of the amendment on March 1, 1792; the Seventh Amendment is considered one of the more straightforward amendments of the Bill of Rights. While the Seventh Amendment's provision for jury trials in civil cases has never been incorporated every state voluntarily complies with this requirement; the prohibition of overturning a jury's findings of fact applies to federal cases, state cases involving federal law, to review of state cases by federal courts.
United States v. Wonson established the historical test, which interpreted the amendment as relying on English common law to determine whether a jury trial was necessary in a civil suit; the amendment thus does not guarantee trial by jury in cases under maritime law, in lawsuits against the government itself, for many parts of patent claims. In all other cases, the jury can be waived by consent of the parties; the amendment additionally guarantees a minimum of six members for a jury in a civil trial. The amendment's twenty dollar threshold has not been the subject of much scholarly or judicial writing and still remains applicable despite the inflation that has occurred since the late 18th century; the amendment as proposed by Congress in 1789 reads as follows: In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
After several years of comparatively weak government under the Articles of Confederation, a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia proposed a new constitution on September 17, 1787, featuring a stronger chief executive and other changes. George Mason, a Constitutional Convention delegate and the drafter of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, proposed that a bill of rights listing and guaranteeing civil liberties be included. Other delegates—including future Bill of Rights drafter James Madison—disagreed, arguing that existing state guarantees of civil liberties were sufficient and that any attempt to enumerate individual rights risked implying that the federal government had power to violate every other right. After a brief debate, Mason's proposal was defeated by a unanimous vote of the state delegations. In the final days of the convention, North Carolina delegate Hugh Williamson proposed a guarantee of trial by jury in federal civil cases, but a motion to add this guarantee was defeated.
However, adoption of the Constitution required that nine of the thirteen states ratify it in state conventions. Opposition to ratification was based on the Constitution's lack of adequate guarantees for civil liberties. Supporters of the Constitution in states where popular sentiment was against ratification proposed that their state conventions both ratify the Constitution and call for the addition of a bill of rights. One charge of the Anti-Federalists was that giving the U. S. Supreme Court jurisdiction "both as to law and fact" would allow it to deny the findings of jury trials in civil cases. Responding to these concerns, five state ratification conventions recommended a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to jury trial in civil cases. In the 1st United States Congress, following the state legislatures' request, James Madison proposed twenty constitutional amendments based on state bills of rights and English sources such as the Bill of Rights 1689. Among them was an amendment protecting findings of fact in civil cases exceeding a certain dollar value from judicial review.
Madison proposed that this amendment should be added directly to Article III, though Congress determined to add the proposed Bill of Rights to the end of the Constitution, leaving the original text intact. Congress reduced Madison's proposed twenty amendments to twelve, these were proposed to the states for ratification on September 25, 1789. By the time the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification, opinions had shifted in both parties. Many Federalists, who had opposed a Bill of Rights, now supported the Bill as a means of silencing the Anti-Federalists' most effective criticism. Many Anti-Federalists, in contrast, now opposed it, realizing that the Bill's adoption would lessen the chances of a second constitutional convention, which they desired. Anti-Federalists such as Richard Henry Lee argued that the Bill left the most objectionable portions of the Constitution, such as the federal judiciary and direct taxation, intact. On November 20, 1789, New Jersey ratified eleven of the twelve amendments, rejecting an amendment to regulate congressional pay raises.
On December 19 and 22 Maryland and North Carolina ratified all twelve amendments. On January 19, 25, 28, 1790 South Carolina, New Hampshire, Delaware ratified the Bill, though New Hampshire rejected the amendment on Congressional pay raises, Delaware rejected the Congressio
Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect; the Twentieth Amendment was adopted on January 23, 1933. The amendment was designed to limit the "lame duck" period, the period served by Congress and the president after an election but before the end of the terms of those who were not re-elected. Indirectly, the amendment requires the incoming Congress, rather than the outgoing Congress, to hold a contingent election in the event that no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote in a presidential election; the amendment establishes procedures in the case that a president-elect dies, is not chosen, or otherwise fails to qualify prior to the start of a new presidential term. Section 1; the terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified.
Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day. Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified. Section 4; the Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them. Section 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.
Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission. Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 of the Constitution states that Congress must meet at least once per year, on the first Monday in December, though Congress could by law set another date and the president could summon special sessions; the original text of the Constitution set a duration for the terms of federal elected officials, but not the specific dates on which those terms would begin or end. In September 1788, after the necessary nine states had ratified the Constitution, the Congress of the Confederation set March 4, 1789, as the date "for commencing proceedings" of the newly reorganized government. Despite the fact that the new Congress and presidential administration did not begin operation until April, March 4 was deemed to be the beginning of the newly elected officials' terms of office, thus of the terms of their successors.
The Constitution did not specify a date for federal elections, but by the time of the second presidential election in 1792, Congress had passed a law requiring presidential electors to be chosen during November or early December. By 1845, this was narrowed in early November. Congressional elections were held on the same day; the result of these scheduling decisions was that there was a long, four-month lame duck period between the election and inauguration of the president. For Congress, the situation was even more awkward; because Article I, Section 4, Clause 2 mandated a Congressional meeting every December, after the election but before Congressional terms of office had expired, a lame duck session was required by the Constitution in even-numbered years. Special sessions sometimes met earlier in the year, but this never became a regular practice, despite the Constitution allowing for it. In practice, Congress met in a long session beginning in Decembers of odd-numbered years, in a short lame duck session in December of even-numbered years.
The long lame duck period might have been a practical necessity at the end of the 18th century, when any newly elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and undertake an arduous journey from his home to the national capital, but it had the effect of impeding the functioning of government in the modern age. From the early 19th century onward, it meant that a lame duck Congress and presidential administration would fail to adequately respond to a significant national crisis in a timely manner; each institution could do this on the theory that at best, a lame duck Congress or administration had neither the time nor the mandate to tackle problems, whereas the incoming administration or Congress would have both the time, a fresh electoral mandate, to examine and address the problems that the nation faced. These problems likely would have been at the cente
The Corwin Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that would shield "domestic institutions" of the states from the constitutional amendment process and from abolition or interference by Congress. Although the Corwin Amendment does not explicitly mention slavery, it was designed to protect slavery from federal power. Congress proposed the Corwin Amendment on March 2, 1861, shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, but it was not ratified by the requisite number of states. In the period after the 1860 presidential election, several Southern states announced their secession and formed the Confederate States of America. During this period, several legislative measures, including the Corwin Amendment, were proposed in the hope of either reconciling the sections of the United States, or avoiding the secession of the border states. Senator William H. Seward and Representative Thomas Corwin introduced the Corwin Amendment, endorsed by President James Buchanan.
The amendment had been ratified by just five states by June 1863, far short of the number required for ratification, with the amendment falling out of favor during the Civil War. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State; the text refers to slavery with terms such as "domestic institutions" and "persons held to labor or service" and avoids using the word "slavery", following the example set at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which referred to slavery in its draft of the Constitution with comparable descriptions of legal status: "Person held to Service", "the whole Number of free Persons... three fifths of all other Persons", "The Migration and Importation of such Persons". In December 1860, when the second session of the 36th Congress was convened, the deepening rift between slave states and free states was erupting into a secession crisis.
The Senate formed a "Committee of Thirteen" to investigate possibile legislative measures that might solve the slavery predicamet. The House formed a "Committee of Thirty-three" with the same objective. More than 200 resolutions with respect to slavery, including 57 resolutions proposing constitutional amendments, were introduced in Congress. Most represented compromises designed to avert military conflict. Senator Jefferson Davis proposed one. A group of House members proposed a national convention to accomplish secession as a "dignified and fair separation" that could settle questions like the equitable distribution of the federal government's assets and rights to navigate the Mississippi River. Senator John J. Crittenden proposed a compromise consisting of six constitutional amendments and four Congressional resolutions, which were tabled on December 31. On January 14, 1861, House committee submitted a plan calling for an amendment to protect slavery, enforce fugitive slave laws, repeal state personal liberty laws.
The proposed constitutional amendment declared: No amendment of this Constitution, having for its object any interference within the States with the relations between their citizens and those described in second section of the first article of the Constitution as "all other persons", shall originate with any State that does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the Union. While the House debated the measure over the ensuing weeks, Florida, Georgia and Texas had joined South Carolina in seceding from the Union; the contentious atmosphere in the House during the debate was relieved by abolitionist Republican Owen Lovejoy of Illinois, who questioned the amendment's reach: "Does that include polygamy, the other twin relic of barbarism?" Missouri Democrat John S. Phelps answered: "Does the gentleman desire to know whether he shall be prohibited from committing that crime?"On February 26, Congressman Thomas Corwin, who had chaired the earlier House committee, introduced his own text as a substitute, but it was not adopted.
The following day, after a series of preliminary votes, the House voted 123 to 71 in favor of the original resolution, but as this was below the required two-thirds majority, the measure was not passed. On February 28, the House returned to and approved Corwin's version by a vote of 133 to 65, just above the two-thirds threshold; the Senate took up the proposed amendment on March 2, 1861, debating its merits without a recess through the pre-dawn hours on March 4. When the final vote was taken the amendment passed with the needed two-thirds majority – 24-12. Soon afterward, it was sent to the states for ratification; the joint resolution containing the Corwin Amendment called for the amendment to be submitted to the state legislatures, as it was believed that the amendment had a greater chance of success in the legislatures of the Southern states than would have been the case in state ratifying conventions, given that state conventions were being conducted at that time throughout the South at which votes to secede from the Union were successful.
The Corwin Amendment was the second proposed "Thirteenth Amendment" submitted to the states by Congress. The first was the ill-fated Titles of Nobility Amendment in 1810. Outgoing President James Buchanan endorsed the Corwin Amendment by taking the unprecedented step of signing it, his signature on the Congressional joint resolution was unnecessary, as the President has no formal role in the constitutional amendment process. Abraham Lincoln, in his first inaugural address on March 4, said of the Corwin Amendm
Signing of the United States Constitution
The Signing of the United States Constitution occurred on September 17, 1787, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, when 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, representing 12 states, endorsed the Constitution created during the four-month-long convention. In addition to signatures, this endorsement, the Constitution's eschatocol, included a brief declaration that the delegates' work has been completed and that those whose signatures appear on it subscribe to the final document. Included are, a statement pronouncing the document's adoption by the states present, a formulaic dating of its adoption, along with the signatures of those endorsing it. Additionally, the convention's secretary, William Jackson, signed the document to authenticate the validity of the delegate signatures, he made a few secretarial notes. The language of the concluding endorsement, conceived by Gouverneur Morris and presented to the convention by Benjamin Franklin, was made intentionally ambiguous in hopes of winning over the votes of dissenting delegates.
Advocates for the new frame of government, realizing the impending difficulty of obtaining the consent of the states needed for it to become operational, were anxious to obtain the unanimous support of the delegations from each state. It was feared that many of the delegates would refuse to give their individual assent to the Constitution. Therefore, in order that the action of the Convention would appear to be unanimous, the formula, Done in convention by the unanimous consent of the states present... was devised. The U. S. Constitution lays out the frame of the nation's federal government and delineates how its 3 branches are to function. Of those who signed it every one had taken part in the American Revolution. In general, they represented a cross-section of 18th-century American leadership, with individuals having experience in local or colonial and state government. Jonathan Dayton, age 26, was the youngest to sign the Constitution, while Benjamin Franklin, age 81, was the oldest. On July 24, 1787 convention delegates selected a Committee of Detail to write-up a draft constitution reflective of the resolutions passed by the convention up to that point.
The final report of this committee, a twenty-three article document, became the first draft of the constitution. Overall, the draft produced by the committee conformed to the resolutions adopted by the Convention, though some portions were rephrased during the process. After it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September; the draft constitution section by section and clause by clause. Details were attended to, further compromises were effected. On September 8, 1787, a Committee of Style, with different members, was impaneled to distill a final draft constitution from the twenty-three approved articles; the final draft, presented to the convention on September 12, contained seven articles, a preamble, a closing statement, cleverly written by Gouverneur Morris so as to make the constitution seem unanimous. The committee presented a proposed letter to accompany the constitution when delivered to the Congress of the Confederation; the final document, engrossed by Jacob Shallus, was taken up on Monday, September 17, at the Convention's final session.
Several delegates were disappointed by the numerous compromises contained in the final document, believing that they had impaired its quality. Alexander Hamilton called the Constitution a "worthless fabric", certain to be superseded. Luther Martin regarded it as a stab in the back of the goddess of liberty; the most that Madison and the majority of delegates hoped, was that this practical, workable constitution, planned to meet the immediate needs of thirteen states with four million people, would last a generation. In all, twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention. Several attendees left before the signing ceremony, three that did not refused to sign. Benjamin Franklin summed up the sentiments of those who did sign, stating: "There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them." He would accept the Constitution, "because I expect no better and because I am not sure that it is not the best".
The closing endorsement of the U. S. Constitution serves an authentication function only, it neither assigns powers to the federal government nor does it provide specific limitations on government action. It does however, provide essential documentation of the Constitution's validity, a statement of "This is what was agreed to." It records who signed the Constitution, plus where they signed. It describes the role played by the signers in developing the document. Due to this limited function, it is overlooked and no court has cited it when reaching a judicial decision. On the final day of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin delivered an address endorsing the Constitution despite any perceived imperfections. Hoping to gain the support of critics and create a sense of common accord, Franklin proposed, the convention agreed, that the Constitution be endorsed by the delegates as individual witnesses of the unanimous consent of the states present, thus the signers subscribed their names as witnesses to.
The signers' names are, with the exception of Convention Pres
Article Two of the United States Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the President of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, establishes the president's powers and responsibilities. Section 1 of Article Two establishes the positions of the president and the vice president, sets the term of both offices at four years. Section 1's Vesting Clause declares that the executive power of the federal government is vested in the president and, along with the Vesting Clauses of Article One and Article Three, establishes the separation of powers between the three branches of government. Section 1 establishes the Electoral College, the body charged with electing the president and the vice president. Section 1 provides that each state chooses members of the Electoral College in a manner directed by each state's respective legislature, with the states granted electors equal to their combined representation in both houses of Congress.
Section 1 lays out the procedures of the Electoral College and requires the House of Representatives to hold a contingent election to select the president if no individual wins a majority of the electoral vote. Section 1 sets forth the eligibility requirements for the office of the president, provides procedures in case of a presidential vacancy, requires the president to take an oath of office. Section 2 of Article Two lays out the powers of the presidency, establishing that the president serves as the commander-in-chief of the military and has the power to grant pardons and require the "principal officer" of any executive department to tender advice. Though not required by Article Two, President George Washington organized the principal officers of the executive departments into the Cabinet, a practice that subsequent presidents have followed; the Treaty Clause grants the president the power to enter into treaties with the approval of two-thirds of the Senate. The Appointments Clause grants the president the power to appoint judges and public officials subject to the advice and consent of the Senate, which in practice has meant that presidential appointees must be confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate.
The Appointments Clause establishes that Congress can, by law, allow the president, the courts, or the heads of departments to appoint "inferior officers" without requiring the advice and consent of the Senate. The final clause of Section 2 grants the president the power to make recess appointments to fill vacancies that occur when the Senate is in recess. Section 3 of Article Two lays out the responsibilities of the president, granting the president the power to convene both houses of Congress, receive foreign representatives, commission all federal officers. Section 3 requires the president to inform Congress of the "state of the union"; the Recommendation Clause requires the president to recommend measures he deems "necessary and expedient." The Take Care Clause requires the president to obey and enforce all laws, though the president retains some discretion in interpreting the laws and determining how to enforce them. Section 4 of Article Two establishes that the president and other officers can be removed from office through the impeachment process, further described in Article One.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows Section 1 begins with a vesting clause that confers federal executive power upon the President. Similar clauses are found in Article I and Article III; the former bestows federal legislative power to Congress, the latter grants judicial power to the Supreme Court. These three articles create a separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government. In addition to separation of powers and important to limited government, each independent and sovereign branch provides checks and balances on the operation and power of the other two branches; the President's executive power is subject to two important limitations. First, the President lacks executive authority explicitly granted to Congress. Hence the President cannot declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, or regulate commerce though executives had wielded such authority in the past.
In these instances, Congress retained portions of the executive power that the Continental Congress had wielded under the Articles of Confederation. In fact, because those actions require legislation passed by Congress which must be signed by the President to take effect, those powers are not executive powers granted to or retained by Congress per se. Nor were they retained by the U. S. Congress as leftovers from the Articles of Confederation; the Articles of Confederation, Continental Congress and its powers were abolished at the time the new U. S. Congress was seated and the new federal government formally and replaced its interim predecessor, and although the President is implicitly denied the power to unilaterally declare war, a declaration of war is not in and of itself a vehicle of executive power since it is just a public declaration that the U. S. government considers itself "at war" with a foreign political entity. Regardless of the inability to declare war, the President does have the power to unilaterally order military action in defense of the United States pursuant to "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces".
By U. S. law, this pow