Imágenes de páginas

tary aristocratic body; while the House of Commons, which is the most powerful factor, is chosen by the people and is a republican body. The same is true in a less degree of Germany.

22. Immediate and Representative Governments. This divis. ion is made with reference to the identity or non-identity of the government with the state. If the two are identical, the government is immediate or direct; if they are not identical, the government is representative or indirect. Evidently, immediate government is the simpler and the more readily understood of the two.

23. Representative Government.—The principle of political representation was practically unknown to the ancient world. Says Mr. Fiske: "No statesman of antiquity, either in Greece or at Rome, seems to have conceived the idea of a city sending delegates armed with plenary powers to represent its interests in a general legislative assembly.

In an aristocratic Greek city, like Sparta, all the members of the ruling class met together and voted in the assembly; in a democratic city, like Athens, all the free citizens met and voted ; in each case the assembly was primary and not representative.”i The German mind is entitled to the credit of inventing representative government, to which political progress in modern times is more largely due than to all other political causes put together.

24. The Republic.—The people of a republic govern themselves by means of chosen men whom they call representatives. Republicanism is government by the people in an indirect sense, and is sometimes called democratic. President Lincoln called it “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The United States is a democratic republic. The word means the public weal, the commonwealth. In antiquity and the middle ages, a republic was a government of any kind without an hereditary king at its head. The so-called republics and democracies of antiquity and the middle ages were not such according to modern ideas. To quote Sir F. Pollock: “After all, the citizens for whose welfare Aristotle conceived the state to exist were, even in the most democratic of constitutions, a limited and privileged class. They are people of leisure and culture, not living by the work of their hands. To make a true citizen of the worker in mechanical arts, the handicraftsman who has not leisure, is thought by Aristotle a hopeless task, and this even with reference to the skilled and finer kinds of work. The grosser kind of labor is assumed to be done by slaves, who are wholly outside the sphere of political right. Not that Aristotle would neglect the welfare of inferior freeman or even of slaves. He would have the statesman make them comfortable, and bring

pp. 59, 71.


them as near happiness as their condition admits. But of happiness in the true sense they are incapable.”

25. Centralized and Dual Governments.--Here the principle of division is the consolidation or distribution of political powers. In centralized governments, authority is lodged in a single organization, as in England and France. Local government may exist, but only as the creature of the central government, by which it can be changed or set aside. In dual governments, the state delegates certain powers to one organization and certain other powers to a second one. The two may be strictly co-ordinate, and so independent in their different spheres; or one may be dependent upon the other; or, if they are independent, one may employ the other as an agency.

26. Forms of Dual Government.-Writers differ in the number of forms of dual government that they recognize. Only two call for mention in this place, viz.: Confederate Government and Federal Government; or, as the Germans call them, the Staatenbund and the Bundesstaat. Both of these forms are illustrated by the United States at different periods of their history, as we shall see hereafter.

A confederate government is the creation of the several local governments or states, rather than of the nation ; it represents those governments and not the people ;' and it acts upon them and through them, and not upon the nation directly. For example, if it needs money to fill its treasury or men to recruit its army, it calls upon the states for the needed supplies and the states respond in their own way. Sovereignty resides in the states, and not in the one people. A federal government, on the other hand, is the creation of the nation; it acts directly upon the people and not indirectly through the states; it employs its own agencies and not those of the states, and it is commonly much better developed in all respects. While a legislative council or cougress may serve the purposes of a confederacy, only a fully differentiated system-legislative, executive, and judi. cial branches-will serve the purposes of an efficient federal state. Plainly, sovereignty is here vested in the one people or nation. Our study of the American Government will give us the best opportunity that history affords to illustrate these two forms of political dualism.

27. Federal Government. The relations of the local aud general governments in a Federal State may be thus summarized :

On the one hand, each member of the union is wholly independent in those matters which concern itself only; on the other hand, all members are subject to a common authority in those matters which concern the whole body collectively. Thus, each member fixes for itself its laws, and even the details of its political constitution, not as a matter of privilege or concession, but as a matter of right, as an independent commonwealth ; while in all matters concerning the general body, the several members have no power whatever. Each member is perfectly independent within the local sphere; but in the national sphere its independence, or rather its separate existence, vanishes. It is invested with every right and power on one class of subjects; on another class, it is as incapable of separate political action as any province or city of a monarchy or of a unitary republic. Peace and war, and, generally, all that comes within the sphere of International Law, is reserved wholly to the central power; foreign nations know nothing of the states, and deal only with the general government. A federal union forms one state or power in relation to other powers, but many states in relation to internal administration.1

1 Page 28.

28. The Advantages of Centralized and Dual Governments.Each of these governmental forms has its own peculiar advantages. A centralized or unitary government secures greater internal peace, and diminishes faction, party strife, and local prejudice, as well as enhances immunity from the evils of war, both domestic and foreign. A federal government secures greater local freedom, more intense patriotism, and higher political education. We Americans claim that our federal system measurably secures the peculiar advantages that have been claimed for large and small states, local autonomy and national power. We hold that in an extended empire, like our own, local independence is as essential to freedom as centralizeil power is to peace and security, 29. Civil Government. The word civil is used in a variety oi

Sometimes it is used in a sense so broad as to make civil government and government the same thing. But the word is derived from the Latin civis, meaning citizen, which again is related to civilas, meaning state ; and we commonly limit it to those more advanced social conditions in which proper states are found. Roving savages are not citizens, because they do not constitute a state. In the proper sense, civil society and civilized society are the same thing. Civil government is the government of the state, and is coextensive with civil society. It is a government of regular and settied order. In the best sense, it is a government of laws resting upon intelligence and moral force. It is discriminated from military government, which is government by the army, and also from the government of savage tribes.

30. Civil and Political Rights.-Definitions of rights are both numerous and conflicting. The ideas that the term conveys change


1 See Freeman: History of Federal Government, Chap. I.

with intellectual, social, and political conditions. A Chinese cannot understand it as the Greek understood it; nor do men living under absolute governments, as Russia, know what it means to the people of the United States. A general discussion of the subject is not here called for, but two species of rights that are often confounded must be carefully discriminated.

The use of the common highways, the protection of person and property, the pursuit of whatever trade or calling one sees fit to follow, are civil rights. Participation in the government, as in voting and holding office, are political rights. The civil rights, and still more the political rights, enjoyed by men differ greatly in different countries. As a rule, the freer the government the larger the measure of rights possessed by the citizen or the subject. These two classes of rights are by no means accorded to men in the same country in equal measure. The citizen may enjoy full civil rights and have no political rights whatever; or he may enjoy full political rights while his civil rights are not well protected. That is, his rights of person


property may be protected, while he is denied all participation in the government; or he may participate freely in the government, while not enjoying civil protection. Civil and political rights are defined and protected by law in all well-ordered states.

31. Civil and Political Liberty. -Strictly speaking, civil liberty pertains to the enjoyment of civil rights; political liberty, to participation in politics or the affairs of government. Some writers blend them in one whole. Dr. Lieber says that “when the term civil liberty is used there is now always meant a high degree of mutually guaranteed protection against interference with interests and rights held dear and important by all classes of civilized men,” and also "an effectual share in the making and administration of the laws as the best apparatus to secure that protection.” 1 In other words, Dr. Lieber holds that political liberty is essential to civil liberty, and that practically the two kinds of rights cannot be separated.


32. Kinds of Constitutions.-Theoretical writers recognize two or more kinds of constitutions. Dr. Browuson calls one kind Constitutions of the People," another kind “Constitutions of the Government.” Judge Jameson calls them “Constitutions as objective facts” and “ Constitutions as instruments of evidence." This distinction further illustrates the difference between society and gove ernment, the state and the political system. Constitutions "as they ought to be” are ideal constructions, like Plato's Republic and More's Utopia.

1 Pp. 89.

33. The Constitution of the People.-Jameson calls this “its make-up as a political organism ; that special adjustment of instrumentalities, powers, and functions, by which its form and operation are determined.” This constitution is a part of the political character and life of the people. It is the constitution actually existing and working at any given time. It is never summed up in a document. It grows up with the state, and is not made or ordained. It changes as the people change.

34. The Constitution of the Government.--Dr. Brownson defines this as “simply a law ordained by the nation or people, instituting and organizing their government.” Jameson says it is “the result of an attempt to represent in technical language some particular constitution existing as an objective fact." Commonly this secondary constitution is in general accord with the primary one, but it always varies from it more or less widely. The Constitution of the People of the United States says that the President and Vice-President are elected by the people voting by States; the Constitution of the Government says they are elected by electors appointed as the several State Legislatures may direct. Our caucus system is a part of the one, but pot a part of the other.

35. Constitutional Governments.-Every nation has a constitution considered as an objective fact, or a constitution of the people, But only those governments are called constitutional that are insti. tuted and organized by some rules or statutes of binding force called constitutions. These constitutions may, in whole or in part, be the immediate concessions or grants of a king, as Magna Charta was, but this is rarely the case unless they are sternly demanded by the state. The object of constitutions is to institute political power, and to define and limit its extent. Constitutions are of two kinds, written and unwritten.

36. Written Constitutions.— The main difference between such a constitution and an ordinary law is that a constitution is ordained by the state, or sovereign power, for the purpose of instituting the government, defining its powers and directing by whom they sball be exercised; while a law is enacted by the law-making power that the constitution has instituted, as a congress or a legislature. Such a constitution is also called an organic act and the fundamental law. It is therefore a much more significant and solemn act than a common statute. A written constitution may be composed of old materials, and will be so to a large extent if it is a good one; but it is

1 Chap. III.

« AnteriorContinuar »