Did the Philadelphia convention of 1787 consider and reject votes of no confidence?

Did the Philadelphia convention of 1787 consider and reject votes of no confidence?


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While defending Donald Trump from removal from office by the Senate after Trump's impeachment, Prof. Alan Dershowitz said the framers of the Constitution explicitly rejected the system used in England, by which the head of government serves at the pleasure of the legislature.

The Constitution of the United States was written in 1787. I had the impression that the usage by which the British prime minister resigns if there is a vote of no confidence, today considered a venerable tradition, was new at the time, having begun five years earlier with Frederick North's resignation, so that it was not yet clear that that was to become the usual way of doing things.

How close is my impression to the truth?

Do Madison's notes on the convention of 1787, or any other evidence, indicate that the question of whether to use that kind of system was considered and rejected?


A vote of no confidence only makes sense when the Executive is accountable to Parliament.

Depending on the country, this results in new snap elections (e.g. UK) or a new PM getting nominated by the President (or other Head of State) to form a new government (e.g. France, which has several instances of cohabitation).

My understanding of the US debates at the time is that they wanted none of that. Rather, they wanted equal branches of government, sort of mapped after Montesquieu, with the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary forced to coexist and cooperate with one another whether they liked it or not.

So in short yes, they did consider the idea of a vote of no confidence. Specifically, they made it so that Congress could impeach the Executive in the US Constitution -- which is more or less equivalent for a Presidential system. (See Federalist 65.)

Another factor that likely played is simply that the concept of votes of no confidence barely existed at the time to begin with. In fact, the first ever such motion passed appears to have been in March 1782, following news of the siege of Yorktown's outcome.


Watch the video: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 for Dummies


Comments:

  1. Shakagar

    If you say you cheated.

  2. Bazil

    very valuable piece

  3. Meziramar

    and where at you the logic?

  4. Akir

    I think you are wrong. I can prove it.

  5. Golrajas

    You weren't wrong

  6. Rufo

    Granted, a very useful thing



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