Imprimis

The Presidency and the Constitution

Mike Pence
Vice President of the United States


Mike PenceMike Pence is the 48th vice president of the United States. A native of Columbus, Indiana, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Hanover College and a juris doctor from the Indiana University School of Law. After graduating, he practiced law, served as president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and hosted a syndicated talk radio show and a weekly television public affairs program. He was elected to Congress from Indiana’s Sixth Congressional District in 2000 and served for six terms. In 2012, he was elected the 50th governor of Indiana.



The following is adapted from a speech delivered on the Hillsdale College campus on September 20, 2010.


The presidency is the most visible thread that runs through the tapestry of the American government. More often than not, for good or for ill, it sets the tone for the other branches and spurs the expectations of the people. Its powers are vast and consequential, its requirements impossible for mortals to fulfill without humility and insistent attention to its purpose as set forth in the Constitution of the United States.

Isn’t it amazing, given the great and momentous nature of the office, that those who seek it seldom pause to consider what they are seeking? Rather, unconstrained by principle or reflection, there is a mad rush toward something that, once its powers are seized, the new president can wield as an instrument with which to transform the nation and the people according to his highest aspirations.

But, other than in a crisis of the house divided, the presidency is neither fit nor intended to be such an instrument. When it is made that, the country sustains a wound, and cries out justly and indignantly. And what the nation says is the theme of this address. What it says—informed by its long history, impelled by the laws of nature and nature’s God—is that we as a people are not to be ruled and not to be commanded. It says that the president should never forget this; that he has not risen above us, but is merely one of us, chosen by ballot, dismissed after his term, tasked not to transform and work his will upon us, but to bear the weight of decision and to carry out faithfully the design laid down in the Constitution in accordance with the Declaration of Independence.