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Anti-Federalist 69

Character of the Executive Office:

[Richard Henry Lee - Federal Farmer] (excerpt)

The great object is, in a republican government, to guard effectually against perpetuating any portion of power, great or small, in the same man or family. This perpetuation of power is totally uncongenial to the true spirit of republican governments. On the one hand the first executive magistrate ought to remain in office so long as to avoid instability in the execution of the laws; on the other, not so long as to enable ]him to take any measures to establish himself. The convention, it seems, first agreed that the president should be chosen for seven years, and never after to be eligible. Whether seven years is a period too long or not, is rather a matter of opinion; but clear it is, that this mode is infinitely preferable to the one finally adopted. When a man shall get the chair, who may be reelected from time to time, for life, his greatest object will be to keep it; to gain friends and votes, at any rate; to associate some favorite son with himself, to take office after him.....

Anti-Federalist 71


February 5, 1788 [AGRIPPA] (excerpt)

The Massachusetts Gazette:

There was a party who attempted to have the President appointed during good behavior, without any limitation as to time; and, not being able to succeed in that attempt, they then endeavored to have him reeligible without any restraint. It was objected that the choice of a President to continue in office during good behavior, would at once be rendering our system an elective monarchy; and that, if the President was to be reeligible without any interval of disqualification, it would amount nearly to the same thing, since, from the powers that the President is to enjoy, and the interests and influence with which they will be attended, he will be almost absolutely certain of being reelected from time to time, as long as he lives. As the propositions were reported by the committee of the whole house, the President was to be chosen for seven years, and not to be eligible at any time after. In the same manner, the proposition was agreed to in Convention; and so it was reported by the comittee of detail....

Old Whig's analysis of the dangers affecting elected majesty

The Powers and Dangerous Potentials of His Elected Majesty

December 11, 1787 [AN OLD WHIG] (excerpt)

.... In the first place the office of president of the United States appears to me to be clothed with such powers as are dangerous. To be the fountain of all honors in the United States-commander in chief of the army, navy, and militia; with the power of making treaties and of granting pardons; and to be vested with an authority to put a negative upon all laws, unless two thirds of both houses shall persist in enacting it, and put their names down upon calling the yeas and nays for that purpose-is in reality to be a king, as much a king as the king of Great Britain, and a king too of the worst kind: an elective king. If such powers as these are to be trusted in the hands of any man, they ought, for the sake of preserving the peace of the community, at once to be made hereditary. Much as I abhor kingly government, yet I venture to pronounce, where kings are admitted to rule they should most certainly be vested with hereditary power. The election of a king whether it be in America orPoland....

Anti-Federalist 72


March 1, 1788 [REPUBLICUS] (excerpt)

The Kentucky Gazette:

Again I would ask (considering how prone mankind are to engross power, and then to abuse it) is it not probable, at least possible, that the president who is to be vested with all this demiomnipotence - who is not chosen by the community; and who consequently, as to them, is irresponsible and independent-that he, I say, by a few artful and dependent emissaries in Congress, may not only perpetuate his own personal administration, but also make it hereditary? By the same means, he may render his suspensive power over the laws as operative and permanent as that of G. the 3d over the acts of the British parliament; and under the modest title of president, may exercise the combined authority of legislation and execution, in a latitude yet unthought of. Upon his being invested with those powers a second or third time, he may acquire such enormous influence-as, added to his uncontrollable power over the army, navy, and militia; together with his private interest in the officers of all these different departments....

   Anti-Federalist analysing Senate Treaties