Original Argument: The Lost Chapters. Translated by Joshua Charles

Number 74

The Command of the Military and Naval Forces, and the Pardoning Power of the Executive

Alexander Hamilton

New York Packet

Tuesday, March 25, 1788

The President of the United States is to be the:

“…commander in chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states when called into the actual service of the United States.”[1]

In addition to being in line with all the general precedents of the state constitutions as far as this subject is concerned, it is also so obviously appropriate that it doesn’t require anymore explanation or defense.  Even the state constitutions which have combined the Executive with some sort of executive council (to approve of his decisions) have, for the most part, concentrated the military authority on him alone.  Of all the duties and concerns of government, waging war is unique in that what it requires can only be provided by concentrating the power of waging it into a single hand.  The waging of a war implies having the ability to direct the whole strength of a nation, and the power of directing and using this national strength is part of the unusual and essential definition of Executive authority.

“The President may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.”[2]

This statement merely states the obvious, since the right which it gives the President is automatically part of being President in the first place.  He is authorized “to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”[3] Both the interests of humanity and good policy concur in concluding that the harmless ability of granting pardons should be as little restricted as possible.  Criminal codes all over the world tend to be so necessarily severe that without easy access to exceptions in cases of unfortunate guilt, justice would always appear to be too bloody and cruel.  Since the sense of personal responsibility increases as the number of people who hold that responsibility decreases, we can safely assume that a single man (the President) would be more than capable of taking into account the personal motives and circumstances of certain individuals which might not have been able to hold water when put up against the severity of the law.  Additionally, he would be the one least susceptible to simply trying to protect whomever he wished from the just requirements of the law.  The idea that the fate of a fellow human being would be completely dependent on his decision would naturally inspire the President to be very meticulous and cautious when deciding who to pardon and why.  His desire to not be accused of weakness, or of tacitly encouraging bad behavior, would also cause him to be cautious, but for entirely different reasons.  On the other hand, since men generally derive confidence in numbers, they might encourage each other to be hard headed in deciding whom to pardon, which would make them less fearful of being accused of inappropriately showing mercy.  Because of reasons like this, it appears to me that one man would be more capable of dealing out mercy on behalf of the government than a group of men would be.

If I am not mistaken, the wisdom of giving the President the power of pardoning has only been objected to as it relates to the crime of treason.[4] It has been argued that the power to pardon treason should have required the agreement of one, or both Houses of Congress.  I won’t deny that there are good reasons to require the involvement of one or both Houses of Congress in dealing with pardoning treason.  Since treason is a crime which is directed at society as a whole, once it has been lawfully determined that treason was committed, it would seem appropriate to require the consent of Congress in order to show mercy towards whoever was convicted.  This should actually be how pardoning treason should be dealt with, since it is not entirely possible to rule out a conspiracy of some sort on the part of the President.  But there are also many significant problems with such a plan.  It is beyond doubt that a single man of wisdom and good sense would be much more capable of balancing the arguments for and against pardoning treason than any given group of people would be, no matter the size.  We must also remember that treason typically involves seditious actions as well, as has recently occurred in Massachusetts.[5] In every such case, it is likely that the representatives of the People would be tainted by the same sort of spirit which gave rise to the sedition or treason in the first place.  With similar feelings on both the side of the People and their representatives, it is likely that the desire to do favors for friends, as well as mutual sympathy for either the condemned person (or people) would be enough to garner a vote for a pardon in Congress, when what may actually be needed was a terrifying example of what happens to those who commit such crimes.  On the other hand, if the sedition was the result of things which aroused the anger of the majority party, then they would most likely be unwilling to grant mercy, even when good policy dictated that such mercy should be granted.  But the primary argument in favor of giving the President the full power to pardon is this: during a time of insurrection or rebellion, there are often critical moments when a well-timed offer of pardon to the insurgents or rebels could very well reestablish peace and tranquility.  However, moments like that are few and far between, and if they are not taken advantage of, they may never come again.  The slow process of convening Congress in order to approve any offer of a pardon may allow golden opportunities such as this to slip through our fingers.  The loss of a week, a day, or even an hour may sometimes be fatal.

Some might say that, as a compromise, the President could occasionally be given the power to pardon in certain situations that may require such a power.  My answer to that would be this: first, it is questionable that under a limited Constitution, such a power could be delegated by a law; and secondly, in general, it would be unwise to extend even the prospect of a pardon before it was even required by any particular situation.  An action like that would tend to make the government appear weak, and might even embolden those who are guilty of sedition or treason.

Publius


[1]United States Constitution: Article II, Section 2, clause 1

[2]United States Constitution: same reference as previous footnote

[3]United States Constitution: same reference as previous footnote

[4]United States Constitution: Article III, Section 3

[5]Shays’ Rebellion (1787): Explanation found in Federalist No. 6.

On the radio program this week, Glenn Beck and Pat Gray discussed a series of recent polls that suggest presidential nominee Joe Biden's expected lead may be slipping with traditionally Democratic voters.

A new poll conducted by the Jewish Electorate Institute shows that two-thirds of Jewish voters still plan to vote for the Biden-Harris ticket in November. However, President Donald Trump's support within the Jewish community is also the highest among any Republican candidate in recent history.

In more bad news for Biden, a CNN poll (yes, CNN) released last month showed growing support for President Trump among black voters in swing states. Meanwhile, his support among Latino voters remains at roughly 33%.

"I don't think it's going to go the way the Democrats hope that it will," Glenn said of the election. "If you look at the groups that the Democrats have carefully fostered ... that's falling apart. If Donald Trump can grow that by 5%, and hurt the Democrats by 5% ... that alone could swing the election."

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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We're being set up for a civil war. The Left is grooming us for an Eastern European-style revolution this election, and they're not even trying to hide it any more. The playbook for Mainstreet USA is the exact same that has been used in places like Ukraine, initiated by the same people in order to completely upend the American system.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck takes us through a tale of three chalkboards that will connect the dots: the Obama admin in Ukraine, the State Department's relationship with George Soros, Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots, the Great Reset, public school indoctrination, mail-in voting. It all points to something dangerous happening in November if we don't act now.

Watch the full video below:


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The left has already determined that the wildfires raging across the West Coast were definitely caused by climate change and Big Tech is determined to silence anyone who dares suggest otherwise. Facebook even announced a sweeping policy on Saturday to remove posts that claim the fires were caused by arson from far-left activists.

But on his radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck revealed multiple arrest records for suspected arsonists in California, Oregon, and Washington — and several of those charged and arrested were also instigators in Black Lives Matter rallies, violent protests, and Antifa riots. He also called out the "news gods" in Big Tech, daring them to try to censor his video.

"I asked my staff, to see if there was any evidence [of arson] on the fires. And I don't mean evidence from Twitter. I mean evidence. Is there anybody who has been arrested for arson?" Glenn said. "Well, here they are. And YouTube and Facebook, go ahead. I want you to demonetize this clip. I want you to somehow or another say that we're lying. I want you to throttle this. Go ahead. Because then you're going to have to explain what we got wrong. And I happen to have all the documents right here. So my attorney is really ready for that throttling or demonetization. You say you're a protector of the truth? Great, here it is."

Glenn read off the first 10 arrest records, which combined allege the destruction of more than 120,000 acres and 700 structures, as well as tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes.

"You want to tell us, PolitiFact, how you came to the conclusion ... that there was no arson in these fires?" Glenn asked. "Can you tell me how you came to that conclusion? Because your fact-check seems to be entirely false."

Watch the video below for more details:


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Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders joined Glenn Beck on this week's podcast to share her unique perspective as a trusted adviser and confidante to President Donald Trump for two and a half years, which she also details in her new book, "Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom, and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House."

Sarah described the unprecedented levels of corruption she saw firsthand during the Russia probe and shocking lengths to which Democratic leaders and the mainstream media would go to "take the president down."

Sarah said she often saw sides of Donald Trump that the media never covered. Recently, she went on the record denying the Atlantic's claims that the president mocked our military during a 2018 trip to France. She was on that trip, she told Glenn, and her account of what really happened paints a very different picture.

"The people who are making this outrageous charge are such cowards for doing so in an anonymous way. If you really believed this, and believed it was wrong, one, why did it take you so long? And, two, put your name on it the way the rest of us have," Sarah said.

"He didn't say those things. Not only was I there that day, Glenn, I spent two and a half years traveling all over the world with the president, watching him interact with men and women of our armed forces almost every single day during that two-and-a-half year period," she added.

"This is a person who loves America and loves the people who allow the rest of us to live in America, free, and have prosperity. And I got to see that a lot. I think it is shameful that people are trying to distort who he is and what he has done, particularly when it comes to the men and women in the military."

Watch a clip from the full interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders below:

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