tv History of the Vice Presidency CSPAN April 23, 2016 9:25pm-10:01pm EDT
government. but only after they have sanitized it. announcer: watchmen they night at 8:00 eastern -- watch monday night at 8:00 eastern. tv,ext on american history university of pepperdine school of law professor talks about the origin of the office of vice president. we will hear about the role of the first man who held the office, and the nearly convoluted method of selecting. before the 12th amendment, the office of vice president did not have substantial executive or legislative power. this talk was posted by the university of pepperdine school of law. and it is about half an hour. >> thank you very much for that kind introduction. thank you for that. not just me, the introduction for all of us. welcome here.
i welcome all of you. here at pepperdine, we love having you here on with you for campus in america. speak have been asked to about the origins, and the early history of, the vice presidency -- up to the 12th amendment. you understand why the 12th amendment, i hope. in that way, i hope to answer some of the wonderful questions that were raised by the ambassadors. as a historian, that means i tell a story. let me begin. 1789, the creation of the office of vice president was an afterthought at the constitutional convention. spectacularly little forethought. some delegates dismissed it as a
useless appendage. while others saw it as a constitutional the state. delegates at the convention, even if proponents at the convention did not claim that the office served a significant government purpose, but was rather defended by them as an electoral expedient, let me explain. the idea of having a vice president first arose during the closing weeks of the constitutional convention, after an ad hoc committee of 11 was appointed to resolve outstanding issues with the presidency. which we allplan, know served as the starting point for the deliberation, did not make any mention whatsoever of a vice president. neither did the new jersey plan, nor the alternative proposals for a central government structure offered at the
invention by alexander hamilton or charles pinckney. further, during the extensive deliberation over the nature and structure of the executive, which occurred at various occasions during june, july, and august of 1787, no issue occupied more invention and the nature of the presidency. there was no mention whatsoever, by any delegate, of having a vice president. indeed, on that date of scarcely 4, with two weeks before the convention adjourned, the committee of 11 recommended using electoral votes, that included having a vice president that would assume the office for the remainder of term,ident's four-uyayear should the president die, be removed, or resign office.
resulted in the vice president? that new office was not essential to that structure. the virginia plan had called for a national legislation congress to choose the executive for a fifth term. the convention and initially accepted that approach. delegates however, raised concerns that having congress choose the president, and this is alluded to by the ambassador, particularly if the president has multiple terms in office, that this would undermine the independence of that office and frustrate the checks and balances among the branches that many delegates, following montague, thought was essential. nationalists such as
favored election by voters. some thought it was a disadvantage to their states, whose large slave populations could not vote. small groups worried it would concentrate power to select the president in three or four states. various alternative methods for selecting a president or proposed. task tog assigning the some sort of special elect or. -- the idea came from how to cope was chosen. chosen for that purpose, but none of those proposals could obtain majority support. it remained in the back of the mind of governor morris and others. , someoblem with electors delegates warned, was that they would ever candidates from their
own states, no one would have the majority. when the committee of 11 was appointed on august 31, the convention maned -- remained committed to choose a president, but many delegates had doubts. largely under the influence of governor morris, because many of 11 -- the committee of 11 use a complex method using both state electors and congress. to deal with small states, each state would have the same number of electors as the members of the house and senate. but assured at least three in the smaller and larger states. ofs would deal with concerns house mothership and they extended the 3/5 compromise. assuring more votes for slave as much as under
an approach that allocated power to the state based on the whole number of the free and enslaved people. in short, the electoral college was a compromise. to address concerns expressed by electorselegates that would favor candidates from their own states, the committee proposed that each elector would voteso equal undesignated , only one of whom could company home state. favoredevery elector only candidates from downstate, this approach forced them to vote for at least one person from another state, thus allowing a national candidate to emerge. win the candidate would need to receive one vote from the majority of electors. the candidate receiving the most would become president. if two candidates receiving same number of votes -- received the
same number of votes, congress which is. then we jerryrigged compromise created an anomaly. what principle explanation was there for giving each elector two votes. we know the electoral reason, that what would be the reason for the public. the question could be answered as each elector was a selecting two officeholders. the committee added the candidate receiving the second highest number of votes, even if they came from a minority, would hold a new office of vice president. this was the first suggestion of a vice president. that was at the philadelphia convention. as james madison, who is a better authority -- as he later explained when confronted with the question at his state's ratifying convention he said, each had two votes because one
vote was intended for the vice president. in this way, the vice presidency was created to serve an electoral, rather than a government purpose. having contact -- concocted a federal office, the committee needed to give them something to do. they proposed conferring two principal duties on the vice provednt, taken together problematic for some delegates. first the committee proposed the vice president would become president if the office became vacant during the incumbent term. this assumed an executive role for the vice president, but gave nothing for them to do so long as the president was in office. proposed the vice president preside over the senate, with the power to vote in the case of a tie. the second duty suggested a legislative role, when combined with the first role, raise the
concern about mixing it is late of and executive. evidently they were more concerned about the method of selecting a president and the creation of a high sounding but insignificant office. delegates in a constitutional convention said remarkably the committee of 11 recommendation relating to a vice president. a pass as part of a whole, but not before a telling change between three very harsh critics. future vice president, albert you are -- our jerry of massachusetts and george mason and edwin read off. -- randolph. sherman of connecticut and north carolina's hugh williams. in his notes, madison summarized the exchange. the third section -- vice president shall be ex officio
president of the senate, being thus considered. , mr. jerry opposed this regulation. we might as well put the president himself as the head of the legislature. this makes it absolutely improper. he, meaning jerry, as against having any vice president. mr. sherman, member of the committee of 11 -- he saw no danger in this case. or notvice president president of the senate, he would be without employment. mr. randolph, remember, he introduced the virginia plan. mr. randolph concurred in opposition. thewilliamson from committee of 11 observed such an office of vice president was not
wanted. he was introduced merely for the sake of the valuable mode of election which required to be chosen two to be chosen at the same time. that is the proponent. mason thought the office mixed too much of legislative and executive, which ought to be cut in separate offices. haveis the exchange we from the convention. and then if the vice president should be official of the senate, it past 8-2. -- passed 8-2. even one member of the committee of 11 conceded it was merely for the sake of the election. an afterthought at best. no convention delegate affirmatively defended the office. at most, sherman saw no danger
in it. jerry, randolph, and mason did. jerry and mason cited it as one of several reasons why they refused to sign the constitution of the convention. surviving records of the debates and various state ratifying conventions suggested the members attending those historic enclaves gave at most a scant meaning or attention to the vice presidency, as little as the delegates had at the constitutional convention. little is said about the office. no one attributed importance to it. a few anti-federalist to turns disparaging it. convention, one future president, james monroe declared "the vice president is an unnecessary officer. i can see no reason for such an officer." speaking at the same convention,
george mason added, "the vice president appears to be not only as unnecessary, the dangerous that legislator -- legislature and executive -- i cannot perceive the consequences. i think that, in the course of human affairs, he will be made a tool in order to bring about his own interest in aid in overturning the liberties of this country." he didn't know how, but he was sure somehow -- some members attending other state ratifying conventions also expressed concerns about the vice presidency between the legislative and executive functions. aloneever said this issue was the reason they did not support it. ply carried this along with the constitution to become
part of the new government. that is what we have in origin. we get to the first vice president, straggling the executive and legislative branches. the first occupant, john adams, was far from impressed. viewing the vice presidency as a legislative position and put off by adams's puritan efficient offensiveness -- even adams readily admitted he had no say on patronage and no influence and the administration. he focused his attention on his legislative duties, which he attended to on a daily basis. adams initially joined and offering motions in debating majors in the senate. the senators soon tired of his interference and viral limited the vice president's role to that of presiding officer. as such, adams could not speak to the merit of the matter. in short, as biographer david
mccullough concluded, the role of the vice president made him a political -- after one term, adams concluded, "my country has in its wisdom, contrived for me, the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man or his imagination can see." a member of the first congress joked the office should carry the title, his superfluous excellence -- excellency. for all practical purposes, the vice president under the constitution before the 12th amendment had neither executive authority, nor substantial that is later -- legislative power. adams appreciated as vice president he was as he once put it -- quote only one breath away from the presidency. that breath being washington's of course."
in letters during his term, adams referred to himself, and i am quoting as quote the heir americans --as america's prince of wales." although it proves true, if you look back at how the framers had envisioned the vice presidency, rather than worried about what it was becoming. and underscored how poorly they foresaw the future of american politics in their construction of the office. presidentiala selection process in which independent electors rooted in the politics of their particular state would each vote for two people the viewed as best suited for the president position. the second place serving as vice president. in such a case, the vice president would, in a certain sense, be a competitor and
possible heir to the president. even in the first federal election, and much more so in the second, it became clear that electors implementing the system did so in a manner quite different from what the framers intended. from the outset, they cast one vote per president and another for vice president rather than two for president. in that 1788-89 election, every elector surely a 10 -- intended to vote for george washington as president and adams as vice president. indeed, fearful that so many electors might vote for both washington and adams in this manner, that adams could accidentally come out ahead in , federalistunt leader, alexander hamilton actively encouraged some electors to scatter their second boat so as to assure washington won.
it is hard to believe that hamilton or any of the federalist to voted for adams actually viewed him as the heir apparent to the presidency, or in any way comparable to washington. indeed that is inconceivable, especially in the case of hamilton. quite to the contrary, hamilton, we know from his letters, actually supported adams for vice president to keep him from getting any more meaningful post such as chief justice. there is no evidence that anyone at the convention for cell using the vice presidency as a way to hamilton rivals, yet figured out how to use it in precisely that way in the very first election. the second presidential election, in 1792, a further and racine political development carry the electoral system even further from the framers intention. national political factions had began to replace state political considerations as a driving force in the election. 1788-89 election,
every elector voted for washington as president. them,2, all that five of out of 132, all that five out of 132 electors cast their other vote for the chosen vice presidential nominee of their atoms for ther nationalist and federalist, or new york governor george clinton , who was a former anti-federalist leader, or the state's -- for the state right's minded republicans. electors had become pawns of national factions rather than independent act -- agents. the presidential election became fully apparent in 1798, the third election. after washington declined to go for a third term. inthat election, a lectors virtually every state were chosen based on their commitment to vote for the nominee of the
political party as chosen by their caucuses in congress. the federalist endorsed adams for president in south carolina and thomas thingy for vice president. the republicans countered with jefferson for president and aaron burr for vice president. antiquated electoral vote system did not allow electors to designate their votes for president or vice president. the parties could only obtain their intended outcome by having one or more of their electors gather their second vote to somebody other than the vice presidential nominee. the outcome was expected to be close in 1792. in the end, the federalist won by a three electoral vote rgin, 71-68. by this point, alienated him a totally from adams, hamilton saw in the system an opportunity to bring in thomas pink knee ahead
of adams -- thomas pinckney by having having the south carolina -- desktop to romanians south carolina's vote for thomas pinckney instead of aaron burr. if everything came out plan, thomas pinckney would come out first. even though all of the electors did so with the intention of him being vice president. you can do the math yourself. would have 79y votes to 71 for adams, even though no elector who is voting -- was voting for him as president. adam supporters that wind of the plot and scattered so many second votes away from thomas thingy that jefferson was -- had uniform support -- thomas pinckney that jefferson became vice president even though every elector noting for him had voted for him to become president. clearly the system was not
rking as either the framers or the emerging parties intended. the vice presidency lay at the heart of the problem. for one, the vice president and president were true rivals. spent his time in office undermining the administration from his post as providing officer of the senate. they were talking about the vice president differing, it never happened more than during those four years. with the original electoral vote process already strained almost to the breaking point, the election of 1800 added the last straw that brought down the old the resulting adoption of the 12th amendment. that fundamentally change the vice presidency from an independent office to a partisan accessory to the presidency. in 1800,ar election which featured an unprecedentedly bitter campaign between federalist and republicans that the latter one
by a one state margin would not have changed anything but for a misstep by jefferson. the contest was running close and not wanting adams to slip into the vice presidency as jefferson had in 1786, republicans urge to their electors to cast a unified ballot while failing to direct any one of them to scatter their second vote. accordingly, when the ballots were counted, jefferson and aaron burr each had 73 votes. even though every republican elector had intended to vote for print -- jefferson as president, and aaron burr as a vice, the election was thrown to the house of representatives where neither party controlled. hoping to strike a deal with aaron burr for their support, federalist homily house for seven days and 35 ballots before letting jefferson prevail after republicans threatened civil war and disunion.
these federalist mechanisms underscored the failure of the constitutional provision for electing the vice president. with republicans taking control of both houses of congress, and effort began almost immediately to amend the constitution to -- and effort began almost immediately to amend the constitution to provide a vote for president and a vote for print might president -- for vice president. this provided a shift to partisan ship. and the vice president was considered part of the president's team. it reduce the chances for an minority party -- a minority party to roll the system. -- rule over the system. republicans did not gain a afficient majority to force change until after the midterm election of 1802. they acted then.
commanding 96-38 member majority, republicans in the house of representatives took up as one of their first orders of business the simple amendment providing for the designation of electoral votes. one for president, one for vice president. it passed the house over unified federalist opposition in 11 days. through public hymns stressed how the old procedure was subject to anti-democratic regulation, potentially selecting a president that no elector voted for, as nearly happened. for example, a virginia republican told his colleagues quote when one person is intended for an office and it, sucherson obtains an election, if it can be called an election, is not comparable to the will of those by whom it is made." in arguing against it, federalist stress it would degenerate the vice presidency vote forg electors to
someone deficient to provide. reduced to miss fashion to a mere -- some federalist representatives urged abolishing the office altogether. -- smallerl majority majority than in the house, and one that included friends of aaron burr, senate republican leaders would need every vote they could get to pass the amendment and had to accommodate the interests of potential supporters. the process took longer. nearly three months of debate. the incorporation of more matters into the amendment then simply designation. thatding the requirement to be elected the vice president and president required votes from the majority of the electorate. this was demanded by republican senator stephen bradley who it,ed that without
designation would so diminish the vice presidency that it would be talked about in the market and given as change for votes for the presidency. the majority party -- vote requirement did not cure the problem. tracy oft senator connecticut encountered, it assured the president and vice president would come from the same majority party by busting the mythical and wonderful existing system that by requiring electors to vote for ,wo candidates for president's without knowing who would prevail, encourage voting for only highly qualified candidates. small states would lose as well, tracy added, coupled with the majority vote requirement, it would lead to the selection of a second rate vice president from large state capable of delivering electoral votes. correctlytracy predicted the vice president nomination under the 12 amendment would go to persons
who could balance the party ticket and broaden the appeal. with such recent nominees as joe biden, sarah palin, or dick cheney show, those nominees need not come from large state. -- states. who iswhite of delaware more prophetic -- he predicted on the senate floor about a selection of vice presidential nominees -- "the question will not be asked is he capable, is the honest? can he by his name, by his connections but, by his wealth, by his influence, or by his injury -- injury, best promote the election of the president." as they had in the house, publicans defended designation on the grounds it would ensure the majority party would elect the vice president and prevent a repeat of 1800, when the intended candidates --
they showed how someone put forward as vice president by electors, could, without designation become president. this they said could destroy the union. with time running out to get it ratified before the 1804 election, and taking advantage fromo convenient absences the floor, they reduce the number required for a two thirds majority by one. senate republicans passed the amendment without a vote to spare on december 2, 1803. every single federalist voted no. the house concurred with the senate six days later when the speaker required to vote to supply the necessary two thirds margin. again, every federalist number opposed it. this time with massachusetts federalist representative samuel tagger repeating the charge that the amendment would reduce the vice president to be a mere tool of the president. sent to the states for ratification in december, 1803, with president thomas
jefferson full endorsement, the required gained the three quarters of the state by the end of july, 1804. seven months. in time to govern the 1804 election. in state after state the amend its ratified by the legislatures on the grounds it would help assure in the republic, the voice of the majority should prevail. correct orict was not, the 12 amendment became part of the cost and the ground was laid for the modern vice president -- presidency as the rear writer -- rider. in 1804, george clinton became the first post 12 amendment vice president after having declined to run for governor of new york on the grounds of his advanced age and poor health. the vice thought
presidency was an ideal retirement job because it required little work and left so much time for recreation. clinton was elected to office twice. once with jefferson and once with medicine. he died during the second term. -- madison. he died in his second term. he was succeeded by a 68-year-old. he passed away in less than two years after assuming the role. given their age, neither man was viewed as an heir apparent or competitor to the president, but did play a role in balancing the party ticket. as a big state northerner running with a virginia slaveholder. as intended the 12th amendment brought american politics in the vice presidency more in line with how those institutions had already been involving. -- evolving. first, as stress during the congressional debate, the american -- the amendment fit
the national government emerging two-party structure. both the president and vice president would be chosen from the same majority party. second, except for leaving the office with tie-breaking roles in the senate, by having the vice president chosen on a party ticket with the president, the amendment effectively moved the office from the legislative to the executive branch. with this ratification, a modern, national, american political structure was complete. since that time we have operated and evolved from that basic structure. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> the church committee 40 years later. beginning next weekend on american history tv we will show extended segments of a 1975
hearings that investigated cia fbi irs and nsa intelligence activities. the church committee, 40 years later. next weekend, saturday at 10 a clock sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. only on american history tv on c-span3. >> this sunday night on q&a, historian ron turnout talks about the hit broadway musical, "hamilton." >> he said to me, i was reading your book on vacation in mexico. as i was reading it, hip-hop songs came off the page. i said, really? he started telling me, hamilton's life in the hip-hop narrative. i was thinking, what is he talking about? -- he did not pick up the fact he had a world-class
ignoramus about hip-hop. my question was, can hip-hop bb vehicle for telling this story? he said, ron, i will educate you about hip-hop. . he did on the spot. . he started pointing out that hip-hop can pack more information in the lyrics than any other form because it is dense. he started talking about the fact that hip-hop not only has rhymed endings, it has internal rhymes, wordplay. he started educating me in all of these different devices that are very important to the success of the show. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's q and a. >> during world war ii, the u.s. signal corps produced hundreds of documentaries, training films, and newsreels for the war department. a these are approximately 200 film bulletins created to inform officers and enlisted me