Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Four Years

                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article II, Section 1, Clause 1:  "[The President] shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years…."  This constitutional provision guaranteed that the people could choose whether or not to allow the President to serve another term in office.

                    "Concerning the length of time for the President's term of office, Wilson of Pennsylvania preferred three years with authorization for reelection.  Mason, on the other hand, favored a term of seven years without permitting the President to run for reelection.  He felt this was important so that the President would not waste any of his time as the national executive in campaigning for another election.  Bedford of Delaware protested that the people might make a mistake and seven years could prove disastrous under a poor President.  One of the reasons a number of the delegates favored a long term for the President was because they were quite certain that Washington would be elected to that high office.  They had so much confidence in him that it was difficult for them to imagine what it would be like with a man of lesser ability or integrity occupying that position.  After considerable debate it was decided that the term should be for four years" (W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 513).

                    "After deciding that a President would not be reappointed by the Legislature, the Framers debated whether a President should be eligible for a second term at all….  After removing the exclusion to reeligibility after a first term, the Framers turned to determine how many years a given term would be (proposals ranged from three to twenty).  Eventually, the Framers settled on four years.  According to Justice Joseph Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, the period of four years is not long enough to risk any harm to the public safety.  Although some Anti-Federalists thought that four years was sufficient time `to ruin his country,' Hamilton wrote in The Federalist No. 71 that duration in office is `requisite to the energy of the executive authority' and that a four-year term struck the proper balance, giving a President enough time `to make the community sensible of the propriety of the measures he might incline to pursue' and to not `justify any alarm for the public liberty'" (David F. Forte in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 182-183).

                    Can you even imagine the damage that Obama would do to the United States if he were in office seven or more years?  I am fairly certain that he would thoroughly "transform" our nation into something that we would not even recognize!  I am grateful for the wisdom of the Framers who limited presidential terms of office to four years.

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