IN pointing out the dangers that threaten the people of the United States, a writer of clear discernment speaks of the time when “our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican Government.”
The AMERICAN SENTINEL has shown quite fully the repudiation of every Protestant principle that has been accomplished for the country. We have also called attention to some things that have been against republican principle. And now we are compelled to notice an immense stride that has been made toward the repudiation of republican principle. This is the statement lately made by the Secretary of State, expressing the view of the President of the United States, that the President would not be bound by the action of Congress if that body were to pass a joint resolution, and he veto it, and then Congress pass it over his veto. This is a clear repudiation of the principle of republican government.
It is true this was said with direct reference to a joint resolution recognizing the independence of Cuba. But that matters nothing. If he can so act upon this point in one matter he can do so in all. The Constitution makes but one exception. Here are the words:—
“Every order, resolution or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and the House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.”
And the statement of the Constitution in the case of a bill, is that when repassed by the requisite two-thirds majority over the President’s veto, “it shall become a law.” Secretary Olney’s statement then is formal notice to Congress and the country that President Cleveland does consider himself under any obligation to administer “law” that does not please him.
We know that there is much discussion and difference of opinion as to the “meaning” of the Constitution, this question that has thus been raised. But we are asking any of the parties to this discussion, what Constitution means. We know what it says. And know that those who made it intended it to mean as it says. We know also that the men who framed the Constitution were just as able to say what they meant as any now are to show what they meant by interpreting their language differently from what it says. Although the Supreme Court were to interpret it different from what is says, such interpretation should be separated by the people. For what Abraham Lincoln said is the truth. “The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and Courts; nor overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow those who pervert the Constitution.” And there is not way to pervert the Constitution but by “interpreting” it differently from what it says.
Of this statement by the Secretary of State The Houston (Texas) Post, of January 7, well says:—
“When we come right down to the significance of the declaration by Secretary Olney, it is one of the most revolutionary ever emanating from the executive branch of the Government, short of the assertion of the right to secession which some of Mr. Buchanan’s secretaries … and carried into open warfare….
“We have almost a constitutional monarch in our Presidency. Few constitutional rulers possess such real power. The assertion of one or two prerogatives more and we would become dangerously near a dictatorship.
“Many people will declare that such fears are idle and baseless, but history is full of executive encroachments upon legislative power. With the Republican centralized Government idea uppermost in our politics, the old Hiltonian theory of a strong central government, was reduced to its legitimate conclusions, means a strong executive, will have been greatly fortified if the Presidency or a cabinet officer is permitted to successfully assert the right to disregard an act of Congress, passed by the constitutional two-thirds majority over the Presidential veto.”
If Republican Government is to be maintained in this country, the people of these United States need to study the Constitution of the United States, and think carefully on what it says.