The U.S. Constitution mandates that the executive branch will seek the “advice and consent” of the Senate to treaties with foreign powers. Thus, George Washington as President once determined to “advise and consult” with the Senate on a treaty matter involving negotiations with Indian tribes. Accompanied by his secretary of war, Henry Knox, the president presented himself before the Senate while the clerk read out the main points that concerned Washington – thus seeking a point-by-point constitutional “advice and consent.” Following this dramatic entrance, Washington was ushered out of the chamber and cooled his heels outside while what was later to become known as the “world’s greatest deliberative body” debated how to proceed.
W. B. Allen
W.B. Allen, emeritus dean and professor at Michigan State University, is a senior visiting scholar at the University of Colorado’s Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.