Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


In the state government of Maine there is an Executive Council which has gained such powers that it has become an important unit of the system of checks and balances. Thus, it becomes of importance to examine the extent of these powers, and to determine the advantages and disadvantages of the Executive Council.

The first section of the thesis examines the various councils that preceded the formation of the State Constitution of 1820. The history of councils in other states, particularly that of Massachusetts, is discussed and evaluated. The debates of the Constitutional Convention of 1820 are covered in order to establish a knowledge of the first public discussion of the merits of the Executive Council in Maine. Recent legislative action in Maine as it affects the Executive Council concludes the first section.

An analysis is made of the functions and possible revisions of the Executive Council of Maine. This is broken down into constitutional, statutory, and judicial aspects. The constitutional clauses explain the organization and some of the functions of the Council. The constitutional provisions have been supplemented by a series of judicial opinions written at the request of the various Governors and their Councils. In addition, the Council’s authority has been increased by legislative action which has left one hundred and seventy-four statutes now in effect as the law of Maine.