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to such time as he may
to receive ambassadors and other public ministers; to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; to commission all the officers of the United States."
Strangely enough, the greatest power the President possesses is not mentioned in the section defining and limiting his powers. We refer to the veto power. In Section VII of Article I it is provided that every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approve, he shall sign it; if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in which it originated, which shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and shall proceed to reconsider the bill. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass it, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered; and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. Most bills are passed in Congress by a majority vote. A majority is one more than half. Theoretically, therefore, the President by his veto wields a power equal to that of twelve senators and fiftyfive representatives—the difference between a majority and a two-thirds vote. We say theoretically, because it does not always follow that the President is able to convince Congressmen by his objections, and a measure may be passed over his veto, but it is rarely done.
Every four years it becomes the duty of the American people to elect a President. There are many wise and patriotic Americans who think this too often, and that the term of office should be lengthened to six, or even eight years, and the incumbent be made ineligible for re-election. When these reforms are made it is possible that our intricate and antiquated election machinery will also be swept away. This method, as defined by the Constitution, is as follows:
“ Each State shall appoint in such manner as the legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress. The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves. They shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed, to the seat of the Government of the United States directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed ; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President shall be the Vice-President, 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 VicePresident.”
The Electors are chosen on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and VicePresident,” on the same day and in the same manner as the people elect Representatives. The Electors meet on the first Monday of the January following, vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, and forward certificates of the votes given, to the President of the Senate, and also to the United States District Judge of the District in which they assemble. Congress then finishes these tedious proceedings by meeting in the Senate chamber on the second Wednesday of February following, when the Senate, with the House gravely regarding it, counts the votes.
It would seem much more simple and republican for the people to vote directly for the President and Vice-President, and thus do away with the clumsy Electoral College. One important objection to this plan, however is that in place of knowing on the day after election which candidate had been successful, the nation might have to wait days, and even weeks, until the count of the popular vote had been completed. Such delays would be not only very incon
venient, but in times of heated contests even dangerous to the peace of the community,
The President resides in a mansion of classical simplicity placed in spacious and elegant grounds on Pennsylvania Avenue, opposite the beautiful Lafayette Park. As the home of all the Presidents since Washington, the building is an object of interest and even of veneration. " Executive Mansion," it is officially styled, but it is popularly known as the “White House." We have seen that it was designed by James Hoban in 1792. The corner-stone was laid on October, 13, 1792, and its construction went on side by side with that of the Capitol. It was finished before that famous structure, however, as President John Adams and his wife, on arriving here in November, 1800, found it habitable, although but six of its rooms were furnished, and the great East Room, the largest in the house, was littered over with lumber and carpenters' debris. In his design Hoban copied closely the plan of a notable Dublin palace, the seat of the Dukes of Leinster.
The White House is built of Virginia sandstone, so soft and porous that it is covered every year with a coat of white paint to prevent crumbling. The house stands on a rustic base, showing a façade of two stories on the north front and three on the south, and is surmounted by a balustrade. At the main entrance on the north front is a large portico, and on the south front a circular colonnade. The mansion is one hundred and seventy feet long and eighty-six feet deep. Adjoining the house on the west are large conservatories.
If we wish to pay the house—not the Presidenta visit we may do so almost any day between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. The carriage rolls up a semicircular drive that sweeps through the spacious grounds between rows of noble oaks, poplars, and sycamores, and sets us down on the steps of the portico. We enter as we would any public edifice. The main door admits us to a spacious vestibule, from which, at the left, a passage conducts us to the East Room, the one public apartment of the White House. It is a large chamber eighty by forty feet, richly and tastefully fitted with furniture and hangings imported from France in the days of President Monroe. There are on the ground floor three other parlors known as the Green Room, the Blue Room, and the Red Room, and an apartment called the State Dining Room, all of which are closed to visitors during the day, except that sometimes an usher, by special permission, conducts a party through them during the morning hours. The walls of the Green Room are covered with paper of a Nile-green color, threaded with sprays of gold, and its furniture is upholstered in green satin. In the Blue Room the President holds his state receptions.
It is a large oval chamber, with walls of a pale-blue color, and furniture of gilt and blue silk. When the President receives he takes his station in this room; the guests enter from the cloak rooms, and are presented by the Marshal of the District of Columbia, or by some one designated to act in his place. After paying their respects the guests retire to the State parlors, which are open on such occasions. The Red Room, the