Madison says, "There's nothing more common than to grant general authority, and then to qualify it and limit it in various respects later on." I think that precisely captures Article 2. Certainly both Hamilton and Madison read it that way once the Constitution was put into implementation by the founding fathers. The Executive power was perceived as a doer, an actor, someone who does things, right? Legislatures resolve, they pass high sounding laws, and high sounding resolutions. Judges decide cases, but the Executive is the one that apprehends people, and that prosecutes them. The Executive is the one that negotiates treaties with foreign nations, and has those difficult conversations. A lot of people at the time said the Executive branch is the active principle of government, right? They're not sitting on a bench and passively hearing cases. They're not sitting in a chamber and passing laws. They're out there doing things, and that's what people thought of the Executive branch as this active principle. They gave life to laws, they breathed life into them, otherwise they're just words on a paper. The Executive branch actually helps ensure that those laws have meaning, that they're not mere pageantry.

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