The First Federal Congress Project
Documentary History of the First Federal Congress

The Notes of John Adams

Debate on the Foreign Affairs Act [HR-8]
Can the president remove federal officeholders?
 [15 July 1789] 
Mr. Carrol. The Executive Power is commensurate with the Legislative and Judicial powers.
The Rule of Construction of Treaties, Statutes and deeds.
The Same Power which creates must annihilate. This true where. the Power is Simple, but when compound not.
if a Minister is suspected to betray Secrets to an Ennemy, the Senate not Sitting, cannot the President displace, nor Suspend.
The States General of France, demanded that offices should be during good behaviour.
It is improbable that a bad President should be chosen. but may not bad Senators be chosen.
Is there a due ballance of Power between the Executive & Legislative, either in the General Govt. or State Governments.
Montesquieu  English Liberty will be lost, when the Legislative shall be more corrupt, than the Executive. have We not been witnesses of corrupt Acts of Legislatures, making depredations? Rhode Island yet perseveres.1
Mr. Elsworth. We are Sworn to Support the Constitution.
There is an explicit grant of Power to the President, which contains the power of Removal. The Executive Power is granted— not the Executive Powers herein after enumerated and explained.
The President— not the Senate appoint— they only Consent, and advise—
The Senate is not an Executive Council— has no Executive Power.
The Grant to the President express, not by Implication.
Mr. Butler. This Power of Removal would be unhinging the Equilibrium of Power in the Constitution. The Statholder witheld the fleet from going out, to the Annoyance of the Ennemies of the nation.
in Treaties, all Powers not expressly given are reserved. Treaties to be gone over, Clause by Clause, by the president and Senate together, and modelled.
The other Branches are imbecil
disgust and alarm
The President not sovereign. The U.S. sovereign, or People, or Congress sovereign.
The House of Reps. wd. not be induced to depart, so well Satisfied of the Grounds.
    1. Rhode Island's legislature had passed a law requiring citizens to accept the state's paper money or be disenfranchised. This was widely viewed as an infringement of property rights.

Recommended citation: Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Columbia, S.C.: Model Editions Partnership, 2002). XML version based on the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, ed. Charlene Bickford, et al. (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1988) Vol. 9, pp. 104-117; 134-135; 445-449; 465-467; 483-489. http://adh.sc.edu [Accessed (supply date here)]

Copyright 1988-1994. The Johns Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved.