Conceptions of the Office
S peculative writers have sometimes traced the origins of government to a monarch in the forest who gathered in his person all power. At length wearying of his responsibilities, the hypothetical potentate delegated some of them to followers who eventually became "courts," and shared others with a more numerous body of subjects who in due time organized themselves into a "legislature." The indefinite residuum, called "executive power," he kept for himself.
Thus it happens that, whereas "legislative power" and "judicial power" today denote fairly definable functions of government as well as fairly constant methods for their discharge, "executive power" is still indefinite as to function and retains, particularly when it is exercised by a single individual, much of its original plasticity as to method. It is consequently the power of government that is the most spontaneously responsive to emergency conditions; conditions, that is, which have not attained enough of stability or recurrency to admit of their being dealt with according to rule.
Article II is the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution. To those who think that a constitution ought to settle everything beforehand it should be a nightmare; by the same token, to those who think that constitution makers ought to leave con-____________________