1817: President Madison Vetoes His Own Bill

in A Community Built on Words

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780226677231
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226677224 | DOI:
1817: President Madison Vetoes His Own Bill

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The editors of Madison's papers term the “Olmstead affair” the “first public crisis” of his presidency. Madison himself provoked the last when, on the final day of his second term, he vetoed the Bonus Bill, a favorite measure of the Republican leadership in Congress. The veto dumbfounded Madison's congressional allies, who had seen the bill's passage and (as they expected) approval by Madison as a crowning achievement of his administration. Several months later Speaker of the House Henry Clay described their feelings: “no circumstance, not even an earthquake that should swallow up one half of this city, could have excited more surprise than when it was first communicated to this House, that Mr. Madison had rejected his own bill—I say his own bill.” Madison departed public office trailing confusion in his wake.

Keywords: Olmstead affair; President Madison; Bonus Bill; veto; Republican leadership; administration

Chapter.  2922 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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