Federalist Papers Summary 71
The Federalist Essays Summary No 71: Alexander Hamilton March 18, 1788
This paper deals with DURATION the second requisite to the energy of the executive authority. Duration here has two objects, the personal firmness of the Executive Magistrate in carrying out his constitutional powers, and the stability of the administration which he has assembled. The idea here is that a person without duration acting as a chief magistrate aware that he will only occupy the office for a short time will be little interested in it and will not put in the necessary effort to ward off the ill humors that may appear in the society itself or in a predominant faction of the legislature.
Some say the President should be compliant to the prevailing current in the community or in the Legislature. But it is not said that in a republican government the representatives should bend to every whim of the public for at times the interest of the public is at a variance with their desires. At these times it is necessary for the people whom they have appointed to give the public time for cooler heads to prevail.
With regard to the Legislature, the president must always be ready to ignore the desires of that body and dare to act his own opinion with vigor and decision. The issue here is that there is a history of legislatures overwhelming the chief magistrate for they often believe having been elected directly by the people that they are the people and therefor are the guardians of the public will. For these reasons the executive and judiciary branches have been separated from the legislative branch and for the same reason the president must also remain independent.
Is the duration of a four year term sufficient for the purpose discussed? It is probably adequate in allowing a person to have considerable interest in the position and to assemble a stable team. It is not so long that the public would become alarmed by a president with such confined powers.
Federalist Papers Summary 71 Written by Donald Mellon