The First President of the United States - North American Colonies

Taken from The British Empire in the Nineteenth Century (1898) by Edgar Sanderson

« previous page | start of chapter | next page »

chosen by the people of each state, in numbers proportionate to the population, and under a franchise of local regulation. The Senate consists of members elected by the local legislatures of the several States, two from each State, and they sit for six years, the chamber being renewed by the biennial retirement of a third of the members. The powers and privileges of these two bodies resemble those of the two British Houses of Parliament; the Senate being a republican "House of Lords", with the right of judging officers of state impeached by the House of Representatives. The more popular body, as with us, has the sole right of introducing bills for taxation. The judges hold office, as in Great Britain since the Act of Settlement, "for life or good behaviour". One important restriction exists upon the power and validity of Acts of Congress: they must be in accordance with what is laid down in the written Constitution, and a judge may decide that an Act, or a clause or section of an Act, is contrary thereto, and is thereby annulled.

There could be but one man to whom the eyes of the American people turned as the first President of the new republic, and Washington, inaugurated in that high office in April, 1789, was chosen for a second term in 1793. He died in December, 1799, some two years after the close of his second period of rule, leaving the country mainly of his creation fairly launched on her grand career.

Mr. Chauncy Depew, one of America's greatest living speakers, delivering the Columbian oration at Chicago in October, 1892, referred in proud terms of eulogy to the first century of his country's history. He declared that "the constitution and government of the United States had now passed the period of experiment, after a hundred years of successful trial, and that their demonstrated permanency and power were revolutionizing the governments of the world. Anarchists and Socialists had taken no root, and made no converts, on American soil. Religion had flourished, and a living and practical Christianity was the characteristic of the people. They had accumulated wealth far beyond the visions of the Cathay of Columbus or the El Dorado of De Soto". In describing the effects of the American experiment upon the Old World, the orator claimed that "the sum of human happiness had been boundlessly increased by the millions who had … continue reading »

« previous page | start of chapter | next page »

Scotch-Irish in Virginia homepage