« ForrigeFortsett »
§ 5. Members of the House of Representatives are elected in the several States by Congressional districts. When it has been ascertained how many members each State is entitled to, the legislatures of the several States divide them respectively into as manyCongressional districts as they are each entitled to members. These Congressional districts are numbered, for convenience, 1st, 2d, 3d, &c, and are known by their numbers.
The electors of each district vote for but one candidate, though that candidate need not necessarily be a resident of the voter's district. Ho must, however, as we have seen, be an inhabitant of the State in which he shall bo chosen.
§ 6. Several of the States formerly elected their representatives by general ticket; that is, each elector voted for all the members to which the State was entitled, or for a number equal to that number. Until 1842, there was no act of Congress requiring elections of members by Congressional districts; but, Juno 25 of that year, a law was passed requiring the States to elect by districts, and allowing each district to elect but one representative.
ART. VII. —VACANCIES.
When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies. 6.
§ 1. The writ of election is directed to the Congressional district in which the vacancy occurs. The election held in pursuance of such writ is called a special election.
§ 2. The representative elected to fill a vacancy does not serve a full term, but the remainder of the term for which his predecessor was elected. Vacancies can happen only by death, resignation, or expulsion of the incumbent from his seat in the house.
ART. VIII. —CENSUS.
1. How Made. In such manner as Congress shall by law direct.
2. When Made. 1st. The actual enumeration shall be made
within three years after the first meeting of Congress. %d. It shall be made within every subsequent term of ten years. £
§ 1. The manner of taking the census is nnder the control of Congress, to be fixed by law. It has been taken ten times since the organization of the government; viz., 1790, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880.
§ 2. Since the organization of the Department of the Interioi (1849), that department has had general supervision of the matter. The Tenth Census was by law placed under the immediate direction of the Superintendent of the Census, who was made the head of the Census Office. Supervisors had charge of limited districts, one or more in each State, under whose direction the enumerators canvassed their respective subdistricts during the month of June, 1880.
§ 3. The duties of these enumerators consisted in visiting personally every dwelling-house and family within the limits of their respective jurisdictions, and propounding to some member of the family, of suitable age and intelligence, such questions as are required by Act of Congress.
§ 4. These questions relate not only to the number of inhabitants, but their ages, sex, color, ability to read and write, facts relating to agriculture, manufactures, commerce, resources of the country, ila productions, and, in fact, every tiling that may be necessary to give a general view of the condition of the United States.
§ 5. Nor is it left to the discretion of persons questioned, whether they will answer these interrogatories. They are compelled to answer under a penalty of thirty dollars for each refusal; and the person so refusing can be imprisoned until the penalty is paid; and a new refusal can be followed by a new penalty and imprisonment.
§ 6. The Constitution requires that the census shall be taken once in ten years. By act of Congress, it was taken the first time in 1790; and it has been taken decenially ever since. In the Constitutional Convention, the proposition was considered, to take it once in twenty years, and once in fifteen ; but once in ten was finally adopted. Once in ten years was thought to be sufficiently frequent for all practical purposes. It is attended with considerable expense; costing for instance, in 1850, nearly a million and a half of dollars.
§ 7. The following table shows the aggregate population of the United States, according to the various censuses taken since the a loption of the Constitution :—
ART. IX. — HOUSE-POWERS.
1. To choose their speaker and other officers.
2. Sole power of originating impeachments. 7.
3. Sole power of originating bills for raising revenue. 23.
4. Co-ordinate with the Senate in general legislation. 2.
5. When the electors of President and Vice-President of the
United States fail to elect a President, the House of Representatives shall elect one. 04. § 1. The speaker is chosen from among the members themselves, being himself a representative. It is his duty to preside over the deliberations of the House, and to keep order. The other officers are a clerk, sergcant>at-arms, postmaster, and doorkeeper. These officers are not members of the House.
(List of Speakers of the House, Chap. XV., Art. Vm., Part II.)
§ 2. The House of Representatives has the sole power of originating articles of impeachment. An impeachment is a solemn and specific accusation brought against a public officer, drawn out in due form, charging him with treason, bribery, or other crimes and misdemeanors. It is in the nature of an indictment, being only prima facie evidence of guilt, — sufficient, however, to put the accused on trial at the bar of the Senate. Although it requires a two-third majority of the Senate to convict the accused, it requires only a numerical majority to prefer the impeachment by the House.
§ 3. The following course, substantially, is pursued in preferring impeachments :—
1st. Some member of the House, who believes that charges should be made against the public officer, proposes that a committee be appointed to inquire into the matter, and to make report of the results of ..heir invsstigations to the House at some future time. Such committee is generally appointed without opposition; and usually the mover will be appointed its chairman, as he is presumed, from the fact that he makes the move, to have some knowledge of the case.
2d. If the committee find, on investigation, that the charges are well founded, and are of such a character as to render the party implicated worthy of impeachment, they so report to the House, speciti cally defining the charges, and recommend that he be impeached.
3d. The House examines the report, the subject is discussed, ami a vote taken. If the proposed impeachment is adopted by the House, and is not drawn out in due form, the House appoints another committee, to whom this part of the business is submitted, who report the impeachment in specific articles. Another vote is taken by the House on the impeachment, article by article.
4th. A committee is now appointed by the House to take the whole matter before the Senate, and to represent the House in its prosecution. The House has now taken all the steps properly belonging to that body in the proceedings. The proceedings of the Senate in the case will be noticed in treating of the judicial powers of that body.
§ 4. It seems proper that the House should possess the sole power of impeachment, as that body is constituted of the representatives of the people, who may be presumed to be better acquainted with public sentiment in their respective localities than members of the Senate. In England, the power of impeachment is vested in the House of Commons, the people's branch of the legislative department; and the trial of impeachment belongs to the House of Lords, to which our Senate is somewhat analogous.
§ 5. The House of Representatives has the sole power of originating bills for raising revenue. This Ixxly, as has been stated, is constituted of the more immediate representatives of the people; and, as the people are to pay the taxes if any are imposed, it would seem fit and proper that their representatives should be the prime movers in any measures that require money to prosecute them.
§ 6. In the Constitutional Convention, there was considerable opposition to this clause of the Constitution. Even Mr. Madison, who was ever watchful of the rights of the people, at first objected to it He and some others thought that the Senate would be a more capable body of men, and that it would be bad policy to thus discrim'nate against them.
One member characterized it as a "degrading discrimination.'' Another said it would take away the responsibility of the Senate, the great security for good behavior; that it would be a dangerous source of disputes between the two houses.
The workings of government in Great Britain were often referred to in the Convention. All bills for raising revenue there must originate in the House of Commons, which, as has been stated, is the people's branch.
§ 7. Although the report of the committee in Convention, proposing that money-bills should originate with the House only, was declared passed, it did not pass by a majority of the States represented. Enough voted against it to defeat the measure, had the States that were divided in opinion (and therefore lost their vote) been added to their number. But it prevailed, and has thus far worked well.
§ 8. The House is co-ordinate with the Senate in general legislation. There are special powers peculiar to each house; and these are so clearly defined in the Constitution as to take away all ambiguity. There can be no mistaking the powers of one house for those of the other. But in the general, ordinary business of law-making, the houses are co-ordinate, with the foregoing exception.
§ 9. Among the peculiar and exclusive powers of the House of Representatives is that of choosing a President of the United States in a certain contingency. When the electors of President and VicePresident fail to elect a President by a majority of all the electors appointed by the people for that purpose, the election of the President devolves on the House.
§ 10. This has occurred twice since the adoption of the Constitu tion. Thomas Jefferson was elected the first time (1801) by the House of Representatives, on the thirty-sixth ballot. The opposing candidate was Aaron Burr. At that time, there were sixteen States in the Union. When the house elects a President, it is done by States, each State having but one vote. Jefferson received the votes of eight; Burr, six; and two States were divided. The same result