James Madison Papers

Removal of the Executive, [2 June] 1787

Removal of the Executive

[2 June 1787]

Dickinson had moved that the executive be subject to removal by the national legislature when such an action was requested by a majority of the state legislatures.

Mr Madison & Mr. Wilson observed that it would leave an equality of agency in the small with the great States; that it would enable a minority of the people to prevent the removal of an officer who had rendered himself justly criminal in the eyes of a majority; that it would open a door for intrigues agst. him in States where his administration tho’ just might be unpopular, and might tempt him to pay court to particular States whose leading partizans,1 he might fear, or wish to engage as his partizans. They both thought it bad policy to introduce such a mixture of the State authorities, where their agency could be otherwise supplied.2

Ms (DLC).

1JM deleted a word and interlined “leading partizans” some time after Eppes copied the Debates. The deleted word is illegible in the Debates, but in the Eppes copy it is clearly “demagogues.”

2Pierce recorded: “Mr. Maddison said it was far from being his wish that every executive Officer should remain in Office, without being amenable to some Body for his conduct” (Farrand, Records description begins Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 (4 vols.; New Haven, 1911–37). description ends , I, 92). Whether this remark is part of the speech printed above, or a separate comment made by JM later, is uncertain.

Index Entries