Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

Presidential madness (Rounds 5 and 6): Treasury and attorney general

March 28, 2013 by NCC Staff


Our two-week contest to pick the best presidential Cabinet ever continues with two matchups involving the leaders who controlled the money and the legal system for the executive branch.

Join Presidential Madness!

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal.svgAt Constitution Daily, madness in March doesn’t just apply to the NCAA—it’s also an awesome excuse to give the bracket treatment to the executive branch of government. This year, it’s all about the presidential Cabinet.

Get into Presidential Madness by downloading a bracket [PDF] and predicting who you think will make it to the finals as best Cabinet member of all time. Check in and vote each day at Constitution Daily for the latest round of polling.

Round 5: Secretary of the treasury

The treasury secretary has been a key government figure since 1789, when the new federal government united commerce among the states.

1. Alexander Hamilton. Served 1789 – 1795. Hamilton was the first secretary of the treasury and used his belief in federalism to centralize the economy, much to his opponents’ dismay.

2. Albert Gallatin. Served 1801 – 1813. Gallatin was the longest tenured treasury secretary and was known for his masterful financial skills.

3. Andrew Mellon. Served 1921 – 1932. The famed banker managed to cut America’s public debt in half during the 1920s, but the onset of the Great Depression ended that policy’s effectiveness.

4. Henry Morenthau. Served 1934 – 1945. Morgenthau led the Treasury Department through the New Deal and World War II, but not without controversy.

5. Robert Rubin. Served 1995 – 1999. Rubin led the department during parts of Clinton's two terms, and helped deal with international debt crises.

Pick your favorite in our polls below, and check back each day to see a new Presidential Madness vote!

[polldaddy poll="6997104"]

Note: If you can't see the poll above, use this link:

Round 6: Attorney general

The attorney general is the head of the Justice Department and another key adviser in helping the executive branch enforce laws.

1. Edmund Randolph. Served 1789 – 1794. One of the esteemed Virginia Randolphs, Edmund was the nation’s first attorney general and also a Constitutional Convention delegate (though he was among three delegates to refuse to sign the Constitution).

2. Harlan Stone. Served 1924 – 1925. Stone was appointed by his old schoolmate, Calvin Coolidge, to clean up the Harding administration's Justice Department, before moving on a Supreme Court career.

3. Robert F. Kennedy. Served 1961 – 1964. As the high-profile attorney general in his brother’s administration, Kennedy had powers that expanded further than the office’s traditional role, serving as his brother's closest political adviser.

4. Edwin Meese. Served 1985 – 1988. Meese was a key adviser to Ronald Reagan with a strong interest in constitutional issues.

5. Janet Reno. Served 1993 – 2001. The first woman to serve as attorney general, Reno led the Clinton-era Justice Department for eight years.

[polldaddy poll="6997111"]

Note: If you can't see the poll above, use this link:


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