...I renew the recommendation contained in my communication to Congress dated the 18th July last--a copy of which accompanies this message--that the judgment of the people should be taken on the propriety of so amending the federal Constitution that it shall provide--
1st. For an election of President and Vice-President by a direct vote of the people, instead of through the agency of electors, and making them ineligible for re-election to a second term.
2d. For a distinct designation of the person who shall discharge the duties of President, in the event of a vacancy in that office by the death, resignation, or removal of both the President and Vice-President.
3d. For the election of senators of the United States directly by the people of the several States, instead of by the legislatures; and
4th. For the limitation to a period of years of the terms of federal judges.
Profoundly impressed with the propriety of making these important modifications in the Constitution, I respectfully submit them for the early and mature consideration of Congress. We should, as far as possible, remove all pretext for violations of the organic law, by remedying such imperfections as time and experience may develop, ever remembering that "the Constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all." ...
Washington, December 9, 1868.