International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

Britain and the House of Representatives in the United States, and the second step involving the upper house, the House of Lords in Great Britain and the Senate in the United States. Impeachment is initiated by the lower house, which conducts an investigation and votes articles of impeachment detailing the alleged offenses. The second step is a trial in the upper chamber, which decides the truth or falsity of the charges contained in the articles of impeachment.

In both the United States and Great Britain, articles of impeachment must be approved by the lower house by a simple majority vote of those present. Since a quorum in the United States House of Representatives is 50 percent of the membership, impeachment may be approved by a vote of one-fourth of the total membership of the House plus one. Although not required by the Constitution, the United States House has always used one of its committees to investigate charges that a public official has committed an impeachable offense. This has usually involved fact- finding hearings by the committee.

Once articles of impeachment have been voted by the lower house, the upper house conducts a trial and then votes on each article of impeachment to determine whether the charge contained in that article is true. A finding that a charge is true is known as a "conviction." In the United States, a conviction must be approved by a twothirds majority of the senators present. In Great Britain, the house of Lords may convict by a simple majority. No conviction may be based on offenses not included in the articles of impeachment voted by the lower house.

In the United States, the vice president presides over all impeachment trials in the senate, except those involving the president. In cases involving impeachment of the president, the trial in the Senate is presided over by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. This latter provision was included because it would be unfair for the vice president to preside over a trial in which conviction of the charged party would result in the judge being elevated to the presidency.

The House selects managers from their own membership to serve as prosecutors in the Senate. The senators serve as jurors in deciding the truth or falsity of the charges. The charged official may be represented by counsel and has the right to appear in person. Each side may call witnesses and introduce documentary evidence. The presiding officer rules on questions of admissibility of evidence, but may be reversed by a majority vote of the senators present. There is no provision in the United States Constitution for disqualifying a senator from voting in an impeachment trial because of bias, prejudice, or interest.

Impeachment results in an immediate judgment of conviction and an order of removal from office by the presiding judge or officer of the trial. In addition, the Senate may vote to disqualify the convicted official from ever again holding public office in the United States. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that impeachment is not subject to judicial review.

PAUL M. BROWN


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berger, Raoul, 1973. Impeachment: The Constitutional Problems. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Black, Jr., Charles L. 1974. Impeachment: A Handbook. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Schaapper, M. B., ed., 1974. Presidential Impeachment: A Documentary Overview, Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press.

U.S. Congress. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, 1974. Constitutional Grounds for Impeachment: Report by the Staff of the Impeachment Inquiry, House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary. Ninety-third Congress, Second Session, February 1974: Washington, DC: GPO.

IMPERIALISM. The exertion of political dominance by one nation-state over the people of another nation-state or territory. As shall be seen, the precise source and nature of that domination varies considerably according to the nation-states and historical context concerned in specific cases. Indeed, the historical diversity of imperial systems makes it difficult to assert generalized principles that apply in all cases. Perhaps the only valid generalization is that imperialism is always based upon an uneven power relationship in which the imperializing nation is ultimately able to exert its will over the imperialized. This statement conjures up images of military coercion, but some systems of imperial control have endured without resort to such methods, and in some cases without the capacity for such aggressive measures. Economic sanctions can prove even more effective (and cheaper) than military assault.

Inevitably, generalized statements about imperialism have emerged from specific studies of particular imperial systems, and therefore the best way to address the subject is to examine some of the most important historical and sociological theories of imperialism. To this end, this entry is divided into three subsections. The first considers theories seeking to explain the motives and causes of imperial expansion. The second explores the varying natures of imperial systems, focusing upon the wide variety of ways in which imperial rule is maintained in different circumstances. The final section is concerned with the debate over the consequences of imperialism, whether harmful, indifferent, or beneficial.

Before proceeding, it is worth noting that imperialism appears to have been a constant in history. It was a feature of most stages of historical development in most ethnic and cultural communities. In Europe, imperialism was a characteristic of ancient Greece and Rome. China and the Muslim world also saw the development of empires. From the sixteenth century, the emergent modern European societies exerted control over Africa, Asia, and the Americas,

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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