AUTHOR's NOTE: In addition to the three anonymous reviewers, I thank the following for their criticism: Laura Wyndham Ivey Bailey, Robert Faulkner, Dennis Hale, Daniel Klinghard, Marc Landy, Peter Onuf, and Robert Scigliano.
Executive Prerogative and the “Good Officer” in Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John B. Colvin†
Article first published online: 17 NOV 2004
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 34, Issue 4, pages 732–754, December 2004
How to Cite
BAILEY, J. D. (2004), Executive Prerogative and the “Good Officer” in Thomas Jefferson's Letter to John B. Colvin. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 34: 732–754. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2004.00221.x
- Issue published online: 17 NOV 2004
- Article first published online: 17 NOV 2004
Thomas Jefferson's clearest statement on executive prerogative can be found in his letter to John B. Colvin. Although this letter has been cited often, few scholars have considered its argument in its entirety, and no scholar has yet considered its context. By reexamining the letter, this article presents Jefferson's understanding of the prerogative power, which argues that the president must act outside the law when self-preservation or the public good requires but must then declare his action to Congress or the people. Because Jefferson's understanding both expands and demarcates prerogative, it can contribute to the scholarly debate on prerogative.