1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/United States, The/Constitution and Government
VII.—Constitution and Government
§ 1. A description of the government of the United States falls naturally into three parts:-
First, an account of the states and their governments.
Second, an account of the Federal system, including the relation of the states as communities to the Federation as representing the whole nation.
Third, an account of the structure and organization of the Federal government considered as the general government of the nation.
As the states are older than the Federal government, and as the latter was, indeed, in many respects modelled upon the scheme of government which already existed in the thirteen original states, it may be convenient to begin with the states and then to proceed to the national government, whose structure is more intricate and will require a fuller explanation.
Before entering, however, on a description of the state governments, one feature must be noticed which is common both to the states and to the Federation, and gives to the governmental system of both a peculiar character, different from that of the government of Great Britain. This feature is the existence of a supreme instrument of government, a document, enacted by the people, which controls, and cannot be altered by, any or all of the ordinary organs of government. In Great Britain parliament is the supreme power, and can change any of the laws of the country at any moment. In the American Union, and in every state of the Union, there exists a documentary or rigid constitution, creating and defining the powers of every authority in the government. It is the expression of the ultimate sovereignty of the people, and its existence gives to the working both of the Federal government and of the several state governments, a certain fixity and uniformity which the European, and especially the British, reader must constantly bear in mind, because under such a constitution every legislative body enjoys far scantier powers than in the United Kingdom and most European countries.
II.—The State Governments.
§ 2. The state is the oldest political institution in America, and is still the basis and the indestructible unit of the American Origin of the American State. system. It is the outgrowth from, or rather the continuation of, the colony, as the latter existed before the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In every one of the North American colonies there was in operation at that date a system of self-government, in seven colonies under a charter from the Crown. In each there was a governor, with minor executive officers, a legislature, and a judiciary; and although the Crown retained the power of altering the charter, and the British parliament could (in strict legal view) legislate over the head of the colonial legislature so as to abrogate statutes passed by the latter, still in practice each colony was allowed to manage its own affairs and to enact the laws it desired. Thus the people were well accustomed to work their institutions, and when they gained their independence continued to maintain those institutions with comparatively little change. In two colonies, Rhode Island and Connecticut, the colonial charter was substantially maintained as the constitution of the state for many years, in the former case till 1842, in the latter till 1818.
§ 3. Each state was under the Confederation of 1781 sovereign (except as regarded foreign relations), and for most purposes Rights and Powers of a State. practically independent. In adopting the Federal Constitution of 1787-1789, each parted with some of the attributes of sovereignty, while retaining others. Those which were retained have been to some extent diminished by the 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, and if the right to secede from the Union ever existed (a point much controverted), it was finally negatived by the Civil War of 1861-65. Otherwise, however, these attributes survive. The powers of a state are inherent, not delegated, and each retains all such rights and functions of an independent government as it has not, by entering the Union, affirmatively divested itself of in favour of the Federal government. Each has its own documentary constitution; its legislature of two elective houses; its executive, consisting of a governor and other officials; its judiciary, whose decisions are final, except in cases involving Federal law; its system of local government and local taxation; its revenue, system of taxation, and debts; its body of private civil and criminal law and procedure; its rules of citizenship, which may admit persons to be voters in state and national elections under conditions differing from those prevailing in other states.
The rights and functions of a state practically cover the held in which lie most of the relations of private citizens to one another and to the authorities with which they come into contact in daily life. An American may through a long life never be reminded of the Federal government, except when he votes at Federal elections (once in every two years), lodges a complaint against the post office, or is required to pay duties of customs or excise. His direct taxes are paid to officials acting under state laws. The state (or a local authority created by the state) registers his birth, appoints his guardian, provides schools for him and pays for them, allots him a share in the property of a parent dying intestate, licences him when he enters a trade (if the trade needs a licence), marries him, divorces him, entertains civil actions against him, tries and executes him for murder. The police that guard his house, the local boards which care for the poor, control highways, provide water, all derive their powers from the state. Nevertheless the state is (as will be explained later) a slightly declining factor in the public life of the nation, because public interest tends more and more to centre in the Federal or national government.
§ 4. The constitution of each state is framed and enacted by the state itself, without any Federal interference, save State Constitutions. that the Federal Constitution requires that the Constitution under which a new state seeks admission to the Union must be “republican”; and under this requirement, Congress has seemed to assume a right of making the adoption, or omission, of any particular provision in a state constitution a condition of the admission of that particular state. Even in these cases, however, the constitution derives its force not from the national government, but from the people of the state. The invariable method of forming a constitution is for the citizens to elect by special popular vote a body called a convention to draft the document, which, when drafted and circulated, is usually, though not quite invariably, submitted to popular vote. This is done either when a state is to be formed out of a Territory (as to which see post, § 10), or when an existing state desires to give itself a new constitution
A state constitution usually consists of the following parts:—
A description of the state boundaries (now frequently omitted);
A bill of rights, defining the so-called “primordial rights” of the citizens to security of life, liberty and property;
A declaration and enactment of the frame of state government, i.e. the names, functions and powers of the houses of the legislature, the chief executive officials, and the courts of justice, with provisions regulating the electoral franchise;
Provisions creating, or directing the creation of, a system of local government for cities and rural areas;
Miscellaneous provisions relating to law and administration, including the militia, revenue and taxation, state prisons and hospitals, agriculture, banking and other corporations, railways, labour questions;
Provisions for the amendment of the constitution;
A schedule prescribing the method of submitting the draft constitution to the vote of the people, with temporary provisions regulating the mode of transition from the old constitutional arrangements to the new ones.
The method of amending the constitution varies in detail from state to state, but that most usual is for the legislature to propose amendments, often by a prescribed majority, and for these amendments to be voted on by the people. Such amendments have latterly come to include many matters not strictly constitutional, and so to constitute a species of direct legislation by the people similar in principle to what is called in Switzerland the Referendum. Some states have recently allowed a prescribed number of voters to propose, by what is called the Initiative, amendments which are submitted to the vote of all the citizens without the intervention of the legislature.
Two remarkable changes have passed over the state constitutions. In the earlier days of the republic they were comparatively short and simple instruments, confined to the definition of civic rights and the establishment of a frame of government. They have now become very long and elaborate documents, seven, eight or ten times as long as the Federal Constitution, and containing a vast number of provisions on all sorts of subjects, many of them partaking of the nature of ordinary statutes passed by a legislature rather than safeguards suitable to a fundamental instrument. And secondly, whereas in earlier days the constitutions were seldom changed, they are now frequently recast or amended. Only Maine and Massachusetts and a few of the newer states live under original constitutions, and only Massachusetts is under a constitution older than the 19th century. Some have recast their constitutions seven or eight times. Some provide for the revision of the constitution at stated intervals. Notwithstanding the facility and frequency of amendments, the variations between one constitution and another are less conspicuous than might have been expected. There is, however, a distinction of type and character between those of the western and southern and those of the eastern states, the former being generally more prolix, more prone to go into details, more apt to contain new experiments in legislation.
Comparing the old constitutions with the new ones, it may be said that the note of those enacted in the first thirty or forty years of the republic was their jealousy of executive power and their careful safeguarding of the rights of the citizen; that of the second period, from 1820 to the Civil War (1861-65), the democratization of the suffrage and of institutions generally; that of the third period (since the war to the present day), a disposition to limit the powers and check the action of the legislature, and to commit power to the hands of the whole people voting at the polls.
§ 5. In every state the legislature consists of two houses. This remarkable feature, originally due to the practice that had State Legislatures. prevailed in some colonies, and to the example of Great Britain, soon became universal, and the belief in its necessity has passed into a fundamental dogma, the idea being that a single chamber would be either hasty, or tyrannical or unscrupulous—perhaps all three—so that there must always be a second chamber to keep the first in order. The smaller house is called the Senate, the larger one is (usually) called the House of Representatives, sometimes, however, the Assembly—sometimes the House of Delegates. Both are chosen by popular vote, almost universally by the same voters, and usually in single-membered districts, and at the same time. The senatorial districts are, of course, larger than the house districts. A senator is usually chosen for a longer term (often four years) than a representative, and, in most cases, whereas the house is elected all at once, the senate is renewed only partially at each election. In some states by law, and in all by custom also, a member must reside in the district which he represents.
Universal manhood suffrage, subject to certain disqualifications (e.g. certain crimes or receipt of poor relief), is the rule in the great majority of states. Certain terms of residence within the United States, in the state, and in the voting district are generally prescribed, the periods varying from state to state. Nine states allow voting rights to aliens who have declared their intention to become citizens, and in some they can as taxpayers vote on financial matters submitted to a special vote. Kansas grants them a full municipal suffrage. Fourteen prescribe some sort of educational qualification. Five states—Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Washington—give the suffrage for all elections to women. In 1905 women could vote at school elections in twenty-four states. Of late years seven Southern states, beginning with Mississippi (constitution of 1890) and including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana, have so altered their constitutions as to exclude from voting the great bulk of their respective negro populations, by means of educational tests, property qualifications, a combination of both, or by other means, while various ingenious devices have been employed to admit a large part, at least, of the illiterate whites. In 1910 Oklahoma adopted provisions of the same kind. The suffrage for legislature elections generally determines that for all other elections within the state, and as a rule it carries with it eligibility to office. And by the Federal Constitution it is also the suffrage for Federal elections, viz. elections of representatives in Congress and of presidential electors.
Elections are now practically everywhere conducted under that system of secret voting, which is called in America “the Australian ballot,” and which is very similar to that used in the United Kingdom since 1872. There used to be a good deal of fraud practised at elections, including “personating” and “repeating,” as well as a good deal of bribery in a few states and in some of the larger cities. Legislation has reduced these evils in recent years; and efforts have been made to prevent the excessive expenditure of money at elections, and the making of contributions to party “campaign funds” by wealthy corporations who desire to secure some benefit for themselves. Another evil which has not yet been dealt with is the large number of posts for which the voter is expected at an election to select the best men. This, of course, does not apply to elections to a legislature; but in city elections, and to some extent in state elections and county elections also, it creates great difficulties, for how is the average citizen to know (especially in a large city) who are the fittest men out of a long list of candidates for perhaps ten or twenty offices, all of which have to be filled by election at the same time? The perception of these difficulties has evoked a movement for what is called “a short ballot.”
The number of members of the legislative chambers varies from state to state. Delaware with 17 senators and 35 representatives, has the smallest; Minnesota, with 63 senators, has the largest Senate; and New Hampshire (a small state) has, with its 390 representatives, the largest House. The New York houses number 51 and 150 respectively; those of Pennsylvania, 50 and 204; of Illinois, 51 and 153; of Ohio, 34 and 118; of Massachusetts, 40 and 240. In all states, members of the legislature receive a salary, which is the same for both houses, some states fixing an annual sum, but most preferring a per diem rate, while the maximum is generally determined by a limitation on the length of the session.
It has become the wish of the people in most places to have sessions both short and few. Whereas formerly legislatures met annually, regular sessions are now biennial except in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Georgia and South Carolina—all original states. In Alabama the legislature meets regularly once only in four years, though it may be convoked in the interval.
The Senates act as courts for the trial of state officers impeached by the house (in imitation of the British House of Lords Powers and Functions of the State Legislatures. and the Federal Senate), and have in some states the function of confirming or refusing appointments made by the governor. Otherwise the powers and procedure of the two houses are everywhere substantially identical, though it is worth noting that whereas every house chooses its own Speaker, the president of the Senate is, in most states, a lieutenant-governor, whom the people have directly elected. Bills may originate in either house, but in about half of the states money bills must originate in the House of Representatives—a survival of British custom which has here, where both houses equally represent the people, no functional value. Both houses do most of their work by committees, much after the fashion (to be presently described) of the Federal Congress, and it is in these committees that the form of bills is usually settled and their fate decided. Sometimes, when a committee is taking evidence on an important question, reporters are present, and the proceedings receive comment in the newspapers; but in general the proceedings of committees and even debates in the houses are imperfectly reported and excite no great public interest. In all the states except one, viz. North Carolina, bills passed by the two houses must be submitted to the state governor for his approval. Should he return it to the legislature disapproved, it is lost unless repassed “over his veto” by a majority usually of two-thirds, but sometimes larger, in each house. A good governor is apt to use his veto freely—indeed, a frequent exercise of the power is deemed in many states to be a sort of test of the governor's judgment and courage.
Subjects of state legislation may be classified under three heads:—
1. Ordinary private law, including property, contracts, torts, family relations, offences, civil and criminal procedure.
2. Administrative law, including the regulation of urban and rural local government, state and local taxation and finance, education, public works, the liquor traffic, vaccination, adulteration, charities, asylums, prisons, the inspection of mines and factories, general laws relating to corporations, railways, labour questions.
3. Matters of a local or special nature, such as bills for chartering and incorporating gas, water, canal, tramway, railway or telephone companies, or for conferring franchises in the nature of monopolies or special privileges upon such companies, or for altering their constitutions, as also for incorporating cities or minor communities and regulating their affairs. Although there usually exist general laws under which corporations or companies (including railway and electric car companies) can be formed, laws which in some states and for some purposes confer a greater freedom of incorporation than the general law allows in the United Kingdom, there is nevertheless a noticeable tendency to come to the legislature for special purposes of this kind.
As respects class 1, there is not much change in the law from year to year. The legal profession does not like to see the ordinary and established rules disturbed. Sometimes the laws belonging to this class are codified, or rather consolidated, and then usually by a special committee of competent lawyers whose work is passed en bloc by the legislature.
As respects class 2, a good many measures are passed, particularly in matters affecting labour, and for the protection of any sections of the population which may be deemed to need protection.
It is, however, in class 3 that the legislatures show most activity, much of it pernicious, because (prompted by persons seeking to serve private interests which are often opposed to the interests of the whole community. The great “public service” corporations have, in particular, frequently succeeded in obtaining franchises of large pecuniary value without making any adequate payment therefor. A peculiarly notable form of this special or private bill legislation is that of dealing by special statutes with the governmental forms and details of management of municipalities; and the control exercised by the state legislatures over city governments is not only a most important branch of legislative business, but at the same time a means of power to scheming politicians and of enrichment to greedy ones. This has led in some states to the grant of power to cities to frame their own charters. Speaking generally, it is chiefly in the sphere of special or private legislation that state legislatures have shown their weak side, and incurred, in many states, the distrust of the people.
The members of these bodies belong for the most part, though by no means entirely, and least so in the agricultural states, to the class of professional politicians. They are seldom persons of shining ability or high standing in their communities. Except as a stepping-stone to a seat in Congress or a high executive post, the place is not one which excites the ambition of aspiring men. The least respected legislatures are those of the richest and most populous states, such as New York and Pennsylvania, because in such states the opportunities offered to persons devoid of scruple are the largest.
The general decline in the quality of these bodies, and especially their proneness to pass ill-considered or pernicious bills at the instance of private promotors, has led to the restriction in recent years of their powers by the insertion in the state constitutions of many provisions forbidding the enactment of certain classes of measures, and regulating the procedure to be adopted in the passing, either of statutes generally or of particular kinds of statutes. Even these provisions, however, are frequently evaded.
§ 6. At the head of every state government stands an official called the governor, who is the descendant and representative The State Executive. of the governor of colonial times. Under the earlier constitutions of most of the original thirteen states he was chosen by the legislature, but he is now everywhere directly elected by the people, and by the same suffrage as the legislature. His term of office is four years in twenty-three states (including Pennsylvania and Illinois), three years in one state, two years in twenty, and one year in two (Massachusetts and Rhode Island). In a few states there are prohibitions on re-election.
It is the duty of the governor to see that the laws of the state are faithfully administered by all officials, and the judgments of the courts carried out. He has, in most states, the right of reprieving or pardoning offenders, but some recent constitutions place restrictions on this power. He is also commander of the militia or other armed forces of the state, which he can direct to repel invasion, or suppress insurrection or riot. He appoints some of the state officials, his nominations usually requiring the concurrence of the state senate; but his patronage is in most states not very large—in many it is indeed insignificant—because the offices of greatest importance are filled by direct popular election. He has also the almost mechanical function of representing the state for various formal purposes, such as demanding from other states the extradition of offenders, the issuing of writs for the election of members of the legislature and of members of the Federal House of Representatives, and the receiving of reports from various state officials or boards.
Not less important than his directly executive work is the influence which the governor exerts upon state legislation through his possession (in all the states but one) of a veto power. His right of recommending measures to the legislature (which does not formally include that of framing and presenting bills, but practically permits him to have a bill prepared and use all his influence on its behalf) is of greater value according to the extent to which he leads the public opinion of his state. The legislature need not regard his counsels, but if he is a strong man whom the people trust, it may fear him and comply with his demands. When a commercial crisis occurs much may depend on his initiative. Moreover, his veto is a thing to be reckoned with. It is seldom overridden by the prescribed majority, especially if the bill against which it is directed be one of a jobbing nature. And as the people look to him to kill bad measures, he is frequently able, if he be a man both strong and upright, to convey intimations to the legislature, or to those who are influential in it, that he will not approve of certain pending measures, or will approve of them only if passed in a form satisfactory to him. The use of this potential authority, which the possession of the veto power gives, has now become one of a governor's most important duties.
In New England, and in the greater states generally, the governorship is still a post of dignity, and affords an opportunity for a display of character and talents. During the War of Secession, when each governor was responsible for organizing troops from his state, much turned upon his energy, popularity and loyalty. And in recent years the danger of riots during strikes has, in some states, made it important to have a man of decision and fearlessness in the office which issues orders to the state militia. There has been of late years a revival in the case of some able governors of the old respect for, and deference to, the office.
In thirty-five states there is a lieutenant-governor, elected by popular vote. He is usually president of the state senate, is sometimes a member of some administrative boards, and steps into the governor's place should it become vacant.
Executive councils advising the governor, but not chosen by him, existed under the first constitutions of all the original thirteen states. In New York the council of appointment advised the governor only in regard to appointing officers; and in Georgia there was no executive council after 1789. True executive councils have now disappeared except in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
§ 7. The names and duties of the other officers vary from state to state. In every state there are a secretary of state, who is custodian Administrative Offices in a State. of the documents and archives, and a treasurer. Nearly everywhere there are also a comptroller or auditor, who keeps the accounts and is the principal financial officer, an attorney-general or legal adviser, an adjutant-general, who has immediate charge of the militia, and a superintendent of public instruction, with some little authority over the public schools. Most of the states have also a board of charities, a board of health, a board of railway commissioners, and either boards or single commissioners for banking, insurance, agriculture, public lands and prisons. Other administrative departments found in different states are those having control of public works—principally canals—insane hospitals, factory inspection, labour statistics and immigration. New York state, with nearly fifty different administrative bureaus, has a larger number than any other state. In many states the most important of these officials are elected by the people at a general election, but some officials are either chosen by the legislature or appointed by the governor, the latter method applying mainly to offices of recent creation. The terms of office vary for the different offices, very few exceeding four years. The state officials, being thus largely independent of the governor, and responsible only to the people, are in no sense a cabinet (save in North Carolina). Each administers his own department, subject to the detailed regulation imposed by statutes, and as these statutes determine such matters as might come into controversy, a general agreement in policy among the administrative officials is not essential.
In many states officials may be removed, not only by impeachment, but also sometimes by vote of the legislature, sometimes by the governor on the address of both houses, or by the governor either alone or with the concurrence of the senate; but such removals must be made for specific misconduct.
The extent of direct state administration of public institutions and works is very limited, and most of the state bureaus have only a supervision over private enterprises, or over local administrative officers. On this account the subordinate civil service of the state is not large compared with that of either the Federal government or of the large municipalities, and only in a few states does it possess any importance. However, these bureaus are seldom well manned, because salaries and tenure of office are seldom such as to induce able men to offer themselves, while the places are often given as rewards for political service. New York, Massachusetts and a few other states have systems of civil service examinations, similar to those in the Federal administration, which serve to keep certain branches out of politics.
§ 8. The judiciary is in every state an independent department of the government, directly created by the state constitution, The State Judiciary. and not controlled in the exercise of its functions either by the legislature or by the executive. In every state it includes three sets of courts: a supreme court or court of appeal; superior courts of record; and local courts, but the particular names and relations of these several tribunals vary greatly from state to state. Most of the original thirteen colonies once possessed also separate courts of chancery; and these were maintained for many years after the separation from Great Britain, and were imitated in several of the earlier among the new states, but special chancery courts now exist only in a few of the states, chiefly in the East and South. In other states the common law judges have also equity jurisdiction; and in four states—New York, North Carolina, California and Idaho—there has been a complete fusion of law and equity.
In colonial days the superior judges were appointed by the governors, except in Rhode Island and Connecticut, where the legislatures elected them. These precedents were followed in all the revolutionary constitutions, except in Georgia, where election by the people was established. During the democratizing period from 1820 to 1860 the system of popular election was extended, especially in the new states, and at present this system prevails in thirty-six states, including practically all of the new states and five of the original states—New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Georgia. Three of the original thirteen have their judges elected by the legislatures, and in five others, together with Maine and Mississippi among the newer states, they are appointed by the governor, subject to the approval of the executive council, the Senate, or (in Connecticut) the General Assembly. Local judges are generally chosen by the voters of the district in which they hold court.
Originally the superior judges were in most states appointed for life and held office during good behaviour, but only three states now retain this system. Eight to ten years is the average term of service; it is longer in New York (14), Maryland (15), and Pennsylvania (21), where alone superior judges are not re-eligible. Salaries, too, are small in most states, often not more than one-tenth of what a prominent lawyer can make by private practice.
These three factors—popular election, limited terms and small salaries—have all tended to lower the character of the judiciary; and in not a few states the state judges are men of moderate abilities and limited learning, inferior (and sometimes conspicuously inferior) to the best of the men who practise before them. Nevertheless, in most states the bench is respectable in point of character, while in some it is occasionally adorned by men of the highest eminence. The changes introduced since 1870 have been, on the whole, for the better, though there is still room for further improvement. Corruption seems to be very rare, but instances of subservience to powerful political groups sometimes shake public confidence. Things would doubtless have become worse but for the watchfulness which the bar generally shows in endeavouring to secure the selection of honest and fairly competent men. The administration of civil justice is decidedly better than that of criminal justice. The latter is in many states neither prompt nor certain, offenders frequently escaping through the excessive regard for technicalities even more than through the indulgence of juries and the occasional weakness of judges.
It must be remembered that the courts of each state form a judicial system, complete in itself, and independent of the Federal courts, and, of course, of other states. There is no appeal from the highest state court, except in those cases where a question of Federal law is involved, for then such cases may be removed, in manner to be explained hereafter, to the Federal courts. And, subject only to this limitation, the jurisdiction of the state courts covers the entire field of civil and criminal law. The existing legal system of all the states, except Louisiana, whose law is based on the Roman, have been built upon the foundation of the principles contained in the common and statute law of England as that law stood in 1776, when the thirteen colonies declared their independence. In the development of the law since that time the courts of one state are not bound either by law or by usage to follow the decisions either of the Federal courts or of the courts of any other state, any more than they would follow English courts, although such decisions are used and discussed as evidence of the common law, and great deference is always shown to the opinions expressed by the Federal courts. In many states the legislatures have taken action in the development of law by adopting statutory codes of procedure, and in some instances have even enacted codes embodying the substance of the common law fused with the statutes. These latter codes have not, however, received the general approval of the legal profession.
It is, of course, to the state courts that the duty belongs of construing the constitution as well as the statutes of the state, and if they find any state law to be inconsistent with the state constitution it is their duty to declare it invalid. It is also the duty of the state court to declare any state law invalid if it is contrary to the Federal constitution or to a Federal statute or treaty. As in the case of the similar power of the Federal judges, this is founded on no special commission, but arises out of the ordinary judicial function of expounding the law and discriminating between the fundamental law and laws of inferior authority (see post, § 25).
§ 9. Wide as is the range of the rights and powers of a state, and elaborate as is the structure of its government, the state Change in the Political Importance of the State. holds a practically less important position in the American system than it once did, and has not so strong a hold as it had in the first quarter of the 19th century upon the loyalty and affection of its citizens. The political interest and the patriotism of the people generally are now given rather to the nation as a whole than to a state, whereas in the two generations following the Revolutionary War the opposite would have been the case. This notable difference is due not to any constitutional changes, for there has been none except those contained in the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, but to the three following causes:—
The first is the growth of the party system with its complicated machinery, which has linked the citizens of different states more closely together, and has led to the eclipsing of political issues confined to a state by issues which are matters of controversy throughout the nation.
The second cause is the Civil War of 1861–65, which practically negatived the far-reaching claims of state sovereignty and the right of secession made by statesmen of the type of Calhoun, and showed that the nation was really much stronger than any group of states.
The third is the enormous development of swift and cheap communications by land and water, and the growth of commerce and of productive industry, which have brought every part of the country into much closer relations with every other part, and have increased the sense of economic solidarity.
§ 10. During the entire history of the United States there has been a considerable area within the jurisdiction of the Federal government not included in that of any one or more of the states; and the systems of government for the various parts of this area require some description. The Territories. The Territories (strictly so called) were at one time important, though now less so, because there remain only two, the unorganized Territory or District of Alaska, and the Hawaiian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Till 1910 there were the two organized Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, but in that year Congress passed an act for their admission as states. Previously to that year there had been ever since 1787 a large area of the continent which, while belonging to the United States, was deemed too thinly peopled to be fit to be divided up into states. Parts of this area were, however, set off and organized as Territories, receiving a qualified form of self government while under the ultimate control of Congress for the purposes of legislation. When these parts had been sufficiently filled up by settlers, they were allowed to organize themselves as states, each giving itself a constitution. The Territorial government consisted of a legislature of two houses elected by the people, with a governor appointed by the president of the United States, with the consent of the Senate, and judges similarly appointed. The Territories were not represented in Congress, but each could send a delegate to the House of Representatives, who could speak there but not vote.
Since the Spanish War of 1898 there have been added to the United States various transmarine dominions, none of which has been formed into a state, or is likely to be so formed for a good while to come; and there is also one small piece of original area of the United States, viz. the District of Columbia, which is outside any state, because it contains the national capital. The trans marine dominions are Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, Porto Rico, the Philippine Islands, and the Canal Zone on the Isthmus of Panama.
§ 11. Every state in the Union has its own system of local administrative areas and local authorities, working under its own laws, these systems agreeing in many points with one another, and differing in many others. Three main types of rural local government may be Rural Local Government. distinguished, prevailing in different regions. The first is characterized by its unit, the town or township, and exists in the six New England states. The second is characterized by a much larger unit, the county, and prevails in the southern states. The third may be called the mixed system, combining some features of the first with some of the second, and is found under a considerable variety of forms in the middle and north-western states. The different types spring from the original differences in the character of the colonists who settled on the Atlantic coast, and in the conditions under which the various colonial communities developed. (See American Commonwealth, chs. xlvii. and xlix.)
The town, or township, of New England is generally a rural community occupying a comparatively small area, and with a population averaging about 3000, but ranging from 200 in newly-settled districts or thinly-peopled hilly districts up to 17,000 in the vicinity of large cities and in manufacturing neighbourhoods. Each town is governed by the town meeting, an assembly of all the qualified voters within the limits, which meets at least once a year in the spring, and also at other times when specially summoned. This assembly elects the town officials at the annual meetings, but it is much more than an electoral body. It is also a deliberative assembly and the legislative authority for local matters. It enacts by-laws and ordinances, receives the reports of the local officials, passes their accounts, manages the town property, votes appropriations for each item of expenditure, and authorizes the necessary taxation. Every resident citizen has the right to bring forward and to speak in favour of any proposal. The meeting is presided over by a chairman called the moderator. In rural communities the attendance is usually good, the debates are sensible and practical, and a satisfactory administration is generally secured. But when the town meeting has grown to exceed seven or eight hundred persons, and especially when the farming class of native American stock has been replaced by factory operatives of other nationalities, the institution works far less perfectly.
The town officials consist of the “selectmen” (usually three, five or seven, sometimes nine), the town clerk, treasurer, assessors, tax collector, school committee men, and the holders of divers minor offices according to local needs. These are elected annually, except that in some cases the “selectmen” and school committee have a term of several years, one member of each board being elected annually. The “selectmen,” who receive no regular salary, but may charge for expenses actually incurred, form a sort of directory or executive committee, which manages the ordinary administrative and financial business under such instructions as may have been given by the town meeting.
In the Middle and Western states the township is a more artificial organism than the rural town of New England. In one group of states—Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa—while the township has more or less power, and there are town officials, there is no town meeting. In another group—Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the two Dakotas—the town meeting reappears, though in a less primitive and less perfect form. In the states west of the Alleghanies each township covers an artificial area 6 m. square, and a separate quasi-municipal organization is usually provided for the villages which have grown up in many townships.
The county is to be found in every state of the Union, but its importance varies inversely with the position held in the system of local government by that smaller and older organism, the town. In New England the county was originally an aggregation of towns for judicial purposes, and in that part of the Union it is still in the main a judicial district. There is no general representative council or board, but judicial officers, a sheriff and a clerk, are elected in each county, and also a county treasurer and county commissioners. The latter have the management of county buildings, such as courthouses and prisons, have power to lay out new main highways, to grant licences, and to apportion among the towns and cities the taxation necessary to meet county expenses. Besides these officials there are generally to be found in New England a county school superintendent and an overseer of roads. In the Southern states the county is the local administrative unit, and in addition to its original judicial and financial functions it has now also control over public schools, the care of the poor and the construction and management of roads. County government is generally vested in a board of county commissioners, elected (in almost every state) by the people, and in various officials also directly elected. In some Southern states some counties have been subdivided into school districts, each of which elects a school committee, and from this nucleus there may possibly develop something resembling the New England town. In those Middle and Western states where the town meeting is not found, the functions and officials of the county tend to resemble those existing in the Southern states, while even in those parts of the west where tire town meeting is found the county remains more important than in New England. Thus in many of these states poor relief is a county and not a town charge. In most states' county administration belongs to a small board of three commissioners elected for the county at large, but in New York, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin there is a larger board of supervisors elected by townships and cities within each county. Although local affairs do not now enlist, even in New England, so large a measure of interest and public spirit as the town system used to evoke in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut in the thirties, still, broadly speaking, the rural local government of America may be deemed satisfactory. The administration is fairly cheap and fairly efficient, most so, on the whole, in the Northern and Western states, while jobbery and corruption are uncommon. The value of local self-government as a training for the duties of citizenship has been very great, and in many parts of the country, especially where the funds dealt with are small, elections are not fought and offices not distributed upon party lines.
§ 12. The tendency, now so marked in nearly all civilized countries, to the development of urban communities has been nowhere more marked than in the United States. The increase in the range and importance of municipal functions has been not less striking than the growth of urban City Government. population. This can best be illustrated by the figures of municipal expenditure. In 1810 the annual budget of New York city—with a population of 100,000—was $100,000; to-day an average city of 100,000 population has an annual expenditure of from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000, and the total expenditure of the city of New York in 1909 exceeded $150,000,000. Municipal government is therefore a matter of high concern to America, and plays a large part in any study of American political institutions.
The historical origin of American municipal government is to be found in certain boroughs which had been chartered in the colonial period, after the fashion of English boroughs. These American corporations had the usual English system of borough government, consisting of a mayor, aldermen and councilmen, who carried out the simple administrative and judicial functions needed for the then small communities. The basis for the government of each American city is still a charter, but since the Revolution these charters have been granted by the state legislatures, and are subject to constant change by statute. The charters of cities have shown the same process of increasing length and detailed regulation as the state constitutions; and in details there are many differences between different cities. In some states cities are now permitted to enact their own charters. (See American Commonwealth, chs. l.-lii.)
As a rule, one finds (1) a mayor, elected directly by the voters within the city, who is the head of the administration; (2) administrative officers or boards, some directly elected by the city voters, others nominated by the mayor or chosen by the council; (3) a council or assembly, consisting sometimes of two, but more frequently of one chamber, elected directly by the city voters; and (4) judges, usually elected by the city voters, but sometimes appointed by the state.
The mayor is by far the most important official in the city government. He is elected usually for two years, but sometimes for one, three or four (in New York his term is now four years). He has almost everywhere a veto on all ordinances passed by the council, modelled on the veto of the Federal president and of a state governor. In many cities he appoints some or all of the heads of the administrative departments, usually with the approval of the council, but in some important cities the mayor has an absolute power of appointment. As the chief executive officer, he preserves the public peace. In practice he is often allowed to exert a certain discretion as to the enforcement of the laws, especially those providing for Sunday closing, and this discretion has sometimes become a source of mischief. He usually receives a considerable salary, varying with the size of the city.
The practical work of municipal administration is carried on by a number of departments, some under single heads, and some under boards or commissions. The number and classification of these departments vary widely in the different cities. The board of education, which controls the public schools, is usually largely independent of the council, and in some important cities has an independent power of taxation. In Boston, St Louis, Baltimore, and some few other cities, the police board (or commissioner) is appointed by the governor because police matters had been mismanaged by the municipal authorities and occasionally allowed to become a means of extortion and a door to corruption.
The city councils pass local ordinances, vote appropriations, levy taxes and generally exert some control over appointments to administrative positions. The recent tendency has been, however, to decrease the powers of the council and to increase those of the mayor. In some cities the mayor has received an absolute power of appointment; the departments, especially the boards of health, have large ordinance-making powers; statutes passed by the state legislature determine (excepting the states where cities can make their own charters) the principal lines of municipal policy, and the real control over appropriations and taxes is occasionally found vested in a board of estimate, consisting of the mayor, comptroller (the chief financial officer), and a few other administrative officials. In New York City, where the council had lost public confidence, and in some other places, the only important power still possessed by the council is that of granting franchises to street railways, gas companies and the like. In the smaller cities, however, the councils have retained a wider measure of authority. In 1902 the city of Galveston, in Texas, adopted a new form of municipal government by vesting all powers in a commission of five persons, elected by the citizens on a “general ticket,” one of whom is mayor and head of the commission, while each of the others has charge of a department of municipal administration. A similar plan, differing in some details, was subsequently introduced in the city of Des Moines, in Iowa; and the success which has attended this new departure in both cities has led to its adoption in many others, especially, but not exclusively, in the Western states. In 1910 more than seventy cities were so administered. Under it administration would appear to have become both more pure and more efficient. The functions of city government may be distributed into three groups: (a) Those which are delegated by the state out of its general coercive and administrative powers, including the police power and the granting of licences; (b) those which, though done under general laws, are properly matters of local charge and subject to local regulation, such as education and the relief of the poor; and (c) those which involve no questions of policy, but are of a purely business nature, such as the paving and cleansing of streets, the construction and maintenance of drains, the provision of water, &c.
It is here proper to advert to a remarkable extension of direct popular government which has in recent years been Initiative, Referendum and Recall. applied both to states and to cities. Several state constitutions now contain provisions enabling a prescribed number (or proportion) of the voters in a state or city to submit a proposition to all the registered voters of the state (or city) for their approval. If carried, it takes effect as a law. This is the Initiative. These constitutions also allow a prescribed number of voters to demand that a law passed by the state legislature, or an ordinance passed by the municipal authority, be submitted to all the voters for their approval. If rejected by them, it falls to the ground. This is the Referendum. Some cities also provide in their charters that an official, including the mayor or a member of the council, may be displaced from office if, at a special election held on the demand of a prescribed number of the city voters, he does not receive the largest number of votes cast. This is the Recall. All these three institutions are in operation in some Western states and are spreading to some of the Eastern cities. Their working is observed with lively interest, for they carry the principle of direct popular sovereignty to lengths unprecedented except in Switzerland. But it is not merely to the faith of the Western Americans in the people that their introduction is due. Quite as much must be ascribed to the want of faith in the legislatures of states and cities, which are deemed too liable to be influenced by selfish corporations.
IV.—The Federal System.
§ 13. When, in 1776, the thirteen colonies threw off their allegiance to the British Crown and took the title of states, they proceeded to unite themselves in a league by the Articles of Confederation of 1781. This scheme of union proved defective, for its central authority, an assembly called Congress, was hopelessly weak. It had neither an executive nor a judiciary, nor had it proper means of coercing a recalcitrant state. Its weakness became so apparent, especially after the pressure of the war with Great Britain had been removed, that the opinion of the wisest men called for a closer and more effective union. Thus the present Constitution was drafted by a convention in 1787, was ratified by nine states (the prescribed number) in 1788, and was set to work under George Washington as first president in 1789.
§ 14. The Constitution is a document of the first importance in the history of the world, because it has not only determined The Federal Constitution. the course of events in the American Republic, but has also influenced, or become a model for, other constitutions, such as those of Switzerland (1848 and 1874), Canada (1867), Australia (1900), besides Mexico and the numerous republics of South and Central America. It was in substance compromise effected between those who wished for a centralized government and those who desired to leave very wide powers to the component states; and many subsequent difficulties arose from the omission to settle certain points, and from the somewhat vague language in which other points were referred to. Of these omissions and points left vague, some were inevitable, because an agreement could not have been reached, some were due to the impossibility of foreseeing what difficulties the future would bring with it. But they were, considering the conditions under which the instrument was framed, comparatively few, and the Constitution, when one regards it as a piece of drafting, deserves the admiration which it has received from nearly all American and most foreign critics. It is, on the whole, admirably clear, definite and concise, probably superior in point of technique to all the documents since framed on its model.
As respects substance, the Constitution, being enacted by and expressing the will of the people, who are the ultimate source of political power, is the supreme law of the land over the whole Union, entitled to prevail over all laws passed by Congress, the legislature which it creates, as well as over all state constitutions and all state laws. It can be altered only by the people, in manner to be hereafter mentioned. It is a comparatively short document, and consists of seven articles, subdivided into sections. Art. I. deals with the Federal legislature, its structure and powers, and imposes certain restrictions upon the states. Art. II. provides for the election of an executive head, the president; and assigns certain powers and duties to him. Art. III. treats of the judicial power, defining its range and the mode of its exercise. Arts. IV., V. and VI. contain certain miscellaneous provisions, including those which regulate the mode of amendment. Two alternative methods of proposing amendments and also two of passing them are recognized. They may be proposed either by a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress, or by a convention called by Congress on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the states. They may be passed either by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states, or by conventions in three-fourths of the states. Congress has in every instance preferred the method of itself proposing amendments and the method of submitting them to the state legislatures for ratification.
The provisions of the Constitution, which is later in date than the creation of the original states, and presupposes the existence and activity of those communities, include two sets of matters, which must be considered separately—(a) the Federal system, i.e. the relations of the national government to the states; and (b) the structure of the national government itself.
§ 15. In the determination and allotment of the rights Distribution of Powers between the Nation and the State. and powers of the national government on one side and of the states on the other, a determination which is the foundation of every federal system, the American Constitution proceeds upon these principles:—
1. No powers are expressly allotted to the states, because the states are contemplated as continuing to enjoy those pre-existing powers which they have by their own right, and not as devolved upon them by the nation.
2. The powers allotted to the national government are those, and those only, which are required for the purposes of the collective life of the nation, i.e. (a) powers which relate to its action in the international sphere; and (b) powers which can be exercised within the Union more efficiently and more to the benefit of the people by one central government than by a number of separate governments.
3. All powers which are not expressly allotted to the national government are left to the states, unless specially forbidden to be exercised by the latter, i.e. powers not specifically referred to remain with the states, and if the national government wishes to claim any particular power, it must show affirmatively that that power has been granted to it by the Constitution. [This principle has been followed in the Constitution of Australia, but not in that of Canada.]
The powers given to the national government may be described as those which subserve purposes of common national utility. They are the following (see Const. art. I. § 8):—
To impose and collect taxes, which must be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate foreign and inter-state commerce;
To establish a uniform rule of naturalization and a uniform bankruptcy law;
To coin money and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To establish post offices and post roads;
To secure exclusive rights for limited time by granting patents and copyrights;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To declare war, and regulate captures on and land water;
To raise and maintain an army and a navy;
To provide for calling out the militia for organizing and arming them, and for governing such part of them as may be in the actual service of the United States;
To exercise exclusive jurisdiction in the area selected for the seat of the national government and over spots acquired for military or naval purposes;
To make all laws necessary for carrying out the above powers (including laws punishing such offences as fall within Federal jurisdiction as being transgressions of Federal law);
To pass laws protecting citizens of the United States against unjust or discriminating legislation by any state (amendments xiii. and xiv.).
§ 16. The national government is, however, interdicted from using these powers in certain directions by the following prohibitions (art. Powers withheld from the National Government. I. § 9, and first ten amendments): It may not suspend the writ of habeas corpus (except in time of war or public danger) or pass a bill of attainder or an ex post facto law; give any state a commercial preference over another; grant any title of nobility; establish or prohibit any religion, or impose any religious test as a condition of holding office; abridge the freedom of speaking or writing, or of public meeting, or of bearing arms; try any person for certain offences except on the presentment of a grand jury, or otherwise than by a jury of his state and district; decide any common law action where the value in dispute exceeds $20 except by a jury.
Although prima facie all powers not given to the national government remain with the states, the latter are debarred from some powers. No state may (art I. § 10, and amendments xiii., xiv. and xv.) make any treaty or alliance; coin money or make anything, save gold and silver coin, a legal tender; pass any bill of attainder or ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts; have any but a republican form of government; grant any title of nobility; maintain slavery; abridge the privileges of any citizen of the United States, or deny to him the right of voting on account of race, colour or previous condition of servitude; deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law; deny to any person the equal protection of the laws.
There are also certain powers which, though not absolutely withdrawn from the states, can be exercised only with the consent of the national legislature, viz. those of laying duties on exports or imports, keeping troops or war-ships in time of peace, entering into agreements with another state or foreign power, engaging in war unless invaded. And it may be added that there are certain powers which, since they do not lie within the province of the national government, and have been refused to the states, are said to be “reserved to the people.” This expression means that it is only the people who can confer them and direct them to be exercised. Should the people wish to confer them, they would have to do so by way of amending the Constitution; and herein lies a remarkable difference between the American system on the one hand and those of some European countries on the other, which, although they have created rigid constitutions, do not expressly debar the legislature from using any and every power of government.
§ 17. The aim of those who framed the Constitution was to avoid friction between the state governments and the Relations of the National Government to the States. Federal government by rendering their respective spheres of action as separate and distinct as possible. They saw that the less contact the less danger of collision. Their wish was to keep the two mechanisms as independent of each other as was compatible with the still higher need of subordinating, for national purposes, the state to the central government.
Nevertheless there are, as was unavoidable, certain points of contact between the two, the chief of which are the following:—
The Constitution requires each state government to direct the choice of, and accredit to the seat of the national government, two senators and so many representatives as the state is (in respect of its population) entitled to send; to provide for the election, meeting and voting of presidential electors in each state, and to transmit their votes to the national capital; to organize and arm the militia forces of the state, which, when duly summoned by the national government for active service, are placed under the command of the president.
Besides these direct services imposed upon the states, each state is of course practically limited in its legislative and executive action by the power of the Federal judiciary (in the exercise of its function of interpreting the Constitution) to declare invalid laws passed or acts done inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, or with statutes passed by the Federal legislature within the scope of its authority under the Constitution.
So, too, when a subject, such as bankruptcy, is one on which a state may legislate in the absence of legislation by Congress, the state law is valid only so long as Congress does not legislate.
Finally, another point of contact exists in the right of a state to call upon the national government to protect it against invasion, or domestic violence. This right has been several times exerted. The national government is also bound to guarantee to every state a republican form of government. (See American Commonwealth, ch. xxviii.)
§ 18. It is a fundamental principle of the American system that the national government possesses a direct and immediate Direct Authority of the National Government over the Citizens of the States. authority over all its citizens, quite irrespective of their allegiance and duty to their own state. This authority corresponds to and is coextensive with the sphere of the Federal government. So far as the citizens of functions of that government extend, it acts upon the citizens not through the states, but as of its own right and by its own officers. Beyond that sphere its authority stops, and state authority, unless inhibited by the Federal Constitution, begins. But Federal authority is always entitled to prevail, as against a state legislature or officer, in all matters specifically allotted to it; and in these its power of direct action has two great advantages. It makes the citizen recognize his allegiance to the power which represents the unity of the nation; and it avoids the necessity of calling upon the state to enforce obedience to Federal authority, for a state might possibly be weak or dilatory, or even itself inclined to disobedience. Thus the indirect taxes of customs and excise which the Federal government imposes are levied by Federal custom-house collectors and excisemen, and the judgments of Federal courts are carried out by United States marshals distributed over the country. Nothing has done more to give cohesion to the American Federal system than the direct action of the Federal executive and judiciary.
V.—The Federal Government.
§ 19. The Federal or national government was created de novo by the Constitution of 1787-1789. It was really a new creation rather than a continuation of the feeble organization of the pre-existing Confederation. But the principles on which it was constructed were old principles, and most of its features were drawn from the state governments as they then existed. These states themselves had been developed out of the previous colonial governments, and both they and the national government have owed something to the example of the British Constitution, which had suggested the division of the legislature into two branches and the independent position of the judiciary. It was, however, mainly from the state constitutions, and not from the arrangements prevailing in Great Britain or in any other country, that the men of the convention of 1787 drew their ideas and precedents.
Following what was then deemed a fundamental maxim of political science, they divided the government into three departments, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, and sought to keep each of these as far as possible detached from and independent of the other two.
In 1787 all the states but three had bicameral legislatures—it was therefore natural that the new national government The Federal Legislature. should follow this example, not to add that the division into two branches seems calculated to reduce the chances of reckless haste, and to increase the chances of finding wisdom in a multitude of counsellors. There was, however, another reason. Much controversy had raged over the conflicting principles of the equal representation of states and of representation on the basis of numbers, the larger states advocating the latter, the smaller states the former principle; and those who made themselves champions of the rights of the states professed to dread the tyrannical power which an assembly representing population might exert. The adoption of a bicameral system made it possible to give due recognition to both principles. One house, the Senate, contains the representatives of the states, every state sending two; the other, the House of Representatives, contains members elected on a basis of population. The two taken together are called Congress, and form the national legislature of the United States.
§ 20. The House of Representatives is composed of members elected by popular vote in each of the various states, the representation of each state being in proportion to its population. Each state is at liberty under the Constitution to adopt either House of Representatives. the “general ticket” system, i.e. the plan of electing all its members by one vote over the whole state, or to elect them in one-membered districts (the “district system”). The system of single-member districts now prevails almost everywhere. (Pennsylvania, however, has two representatives elected at large from the entire state, and there have been other similar instances.) The number of members in the house was originally 65, but it has steadily increased until, in December 1910, there were 398. Besides the full members, each of the Territories is allowed to send a delegate, who has, however, no vote. The electoral franchise on which the house is elected is for each state the same as that by which, under the provisions of the state constitution, the members of the more numerous branch of the state legislature are chosen. Originally franchises varied much in different states, but for many years prior to 1890 what was practically manhood suffrage prevailed in nearly all of the states. In that year and since, not a few of the southern states have introduced restrictions which tend to exclude the bulk of the coloured population (see ante, § 5). It has already been observed that paupers and convicted criminals are excluded in many states, illiterates in some states. Every member must reside in the state which sends him and custom, rarely broken, requires that he should reside even in the district which he represents. This habit restricts the field of choice and has operated unfavourably on the political life of the nation.
The House of Representatives is chosen for two years, the terms of all the members expiring together. The election of a new house takes place in November of the even years (i.e. 1910, 1912, &c.). Members enter on their term of service in the March following, but the first regular session does not begin until the following December, or more than a year after the election. In fact, the old house holds its second regular session of three months after the new house has been elected. The rules are very complicated, and considerably limit the power of debate. A remedy against obstruction has been found in a system of closure called the “previous question.” Speeches are limited to one hour, and may be confined in committee of the whole house to five minutes. There is comparatively little good debating in the European sense of the term, and this is due partly to the great size of the hall, partly to the system of legislation by committees.
The organization of the house is entirely different from that of the British House of Commons or of most assemblies on the The Committee System. European continent. The ministers of the president do not sit, and since there are thus no officials to undertake the leadership of the majority and conduct business, legislative work is shaped and directed by a number of committees in each house. Every bill when introduced is referred to some committee, and each bill comes up for consideration by the whole house on the report of the committee which has dealt with it. There were in 1910 62 regular or standing committees in the House of Representatives, each consisting of from 3 to 20 members. The most important committees are the following: ways and means, rules, elections, appropriations (with several committees for different branches of public expenditure), rivers and harbours, banking and currency, and foreign affairs. Each committee has complete control of all bills referred to it, and nineteen-twentieths of the bills introduced meet their death by the failure of the committee to take action on them. The bills taken up for action are debated and freely amended by the committees, and sometimes public hearings are held. The committees on the expenditure of the various government departments conduct minute investigations into the administration of each. A bill, as finally agreed on by a committee, is reported to the house, and when taken up for action the fate of most bills is decided by an hour's discussion, opened by the member of the committee making the report. The more important measures, including taxation and appropriation bills, receive genuine discussion by the house at large, through special orders submitted by the committee on rules. Of the enormous number of bills brought in very few pass.
The unifying force of this complicated system of committee legislation is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The Speaker. Like the Speaker of the British House of Commons, he is primarily the presiding official, but the character of his office has become different from that of the impartial moderator of the British house. The American Speaker, who of course has a vote like other members, always belongs to the party which commands a majority, and is, indeed, virtually the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives. He resembles in some respects a European prime minister, and is second only to the president in political importance. His power is derived from three main sources. He appoints the members of nearly all committees, he chooses the chairman of each, and he directs the reference of bills to the various committees. Of the committee on rules, which practically determines the order in which important measures come before the house, he was formerly chairman, and he had the power of appointing the committee; but on the 19th of March 1910, the house passed a resolution which increased the membership of this committee from 5 to 10, excluded the Speaker, and transferred the appointments to the house. As presiding officer the Speaker exercises a right of discrimination between members rising to speak in debate, and can thus advance or retard the progress of a measure. He is elected by the House of Representatives at its first session for the whole Congress, and his election is regularly carried by a strict party vote.
§ 21. The Senate in 1910 consisted of 92 members, two persons deputed from each state, be it great or small (New York The Senate. with 9,100,000 population and Nevada with 81,875 having the same representation), who must be inhabitants of that state, and at least thirty years of age. They are elected by the legislature of their state for six years, and are re-eligible. It used to be supposed by many Europeans, following Tocqueville, that this method of election was the cause of the (former) superiority of the senators to members of the House. This was an error, the true reason being that able men preferred a seat in the Senate owing to its larger powers and longer term. One-third retire every two years, so that the old members are always twice as numerous as the new members, and the body has been continuous ever since its first creation. Senators are re-elected more frequently than members of the House, so there is always a considerable proportion of men of long service and mature experience.
There has long been a demand for an amendment to the Constitution which should vest the election of senators in the peoples of the several states, and more than one-half of the state legislatures have at one time or another passed resolutions in favour of the change. Within the last few years the object desired has been practically attained in a few states by provisions they have introduced for taking a popular vote as to the person whom the legislature ought to elect, the latter being expected to defer to the popular will.
The vice-president of the United States is ex officio presiding officer of the Senate, and this is his only active function in the government. He has, however, no vote in the Senate, except a casting vote when the numbers are equally divided, and his authority on questions of order is very limited.
The methods of procedure in the Senate are somewhat different from those in the House of Representatives. There is a similar committee system, but the Senate committees and their chairmen are chosen, not by the presiding officer, but by the Senate itself voting by ballot. Practically they are selected by caucuses of the majority and minority parties. The Senate rules have no provision for the closure of debate, nor any limitation on the length either of a debate or of a speech. For the consideration of some classes of business the Senate goes into executive or secret session, although what is done at this session usually leaks out, and finds its way to the public through the press.
The functions of the Senate fall into three classes—legislative, executive and judicial. In legislative matters its powers are identical with those of the House of Representatives, with the single restriction that bills for raising revenue must originate in the popular assembly. In practice, too, the Senate is at least as influential in legislation as the House. Disagreements, which are frequent, are usually settled in conference, and in these the Senate is apt to get the better of its antagonist. Serious deadlocks are of comparatively rare occurrence.
The executive functions of the Senate are: (1) To approve or disapprove the president's nominations of Federal officers, including judges, ministers of state and ambassadors; (2) to approve, by a majority of two-thirds of those present, of treaties submitted by the president. Through the latter power the Senate secures a general control over foreign policy. Its approval is necessary to any important action, and in general the president finds it advisable to keep the leaders of the senatorial majority, and in particular the Senate committee on foreign relations, informed of pending negotiations. Foreign governments often complain of this power of the Senate, because it prevents them from being able to rely upon the carrying out of arrangements they have made with the executive; but as the president is not responsible to Congress and is irremovable (except by impeachment) during his term of office, there would be objections to giving him an unqualified treaty-making authority. Through the power of confirming or rejecting the president's nominations to office, the senators of the president's party are able to influence a large amount of patronage. This sort of “dual control” works with less friction and delay than might have been expected, but better appointments would probably be secured if responsibility were more fully and more clearly fixed on the president alone, though there would no doubt be a risk that the president might make a serious error.
The judicial function of the Senate is to sit as a high court for the trial of persons impeached by the House of Representatives, a vote of two-thirds of those present being needed for conviction. There have been eight cases of impeachment. The most important was that of President Johnson, whose conviction failed by one vote—35 to 19. Five of the other seven cases also ended in acquittal, one for want of jurisdiction, and one by the resignation of the official before the impeachment was preferred in the Senate. Two Federal judges were many years ago thus deprived of office, impeachment being the only process by which a Federal judge can be removed.
§ 22. The procedure of each house in framing and passing bills has already been noted. When a bill has passed one Congressional Legislation and Finance. chamber it is sent to the other, and there referred to the appropriate committee. In course of time this committee may report the bill as received from the other house, but frequently an amended or an entirely new measure is presented, which is discussed and enacted on by the second house. When bills passed by the two chambers are not identical, and each persists in its own view, the regular procedure is to appoint a committee of conference, consisting of an equal number of members from the Senate and from the House. These meet in secret, and generally agree upon a compromise measure, which is forthwith adopted by both chambers. If no compromise can be arranged, the conflict continues until one side yields, or until it ends by the adjournment of Congress. After passing both houses, the bill goes to the president, and if approved by him, or not returned by him within ten days, becomes law: if vetoed, it returns to the house in which it originated; and if re-passed by a two thirds vote, is sent to the other house; and if again passed there by a two-thirds vote, it becomes law without the president's consent.
The scope of Congressional legislation has been indicated in the list given of the powers of the national government (see ante, § 15). The most important measures are those dealing with the revenues and appropriations; and the procedure on these matters is slightly different from that on other bills. The secretary of the treasury sends annually to Congress a report containing a statement of the national income and expenditure and of the condition of the public debt, together with remarks on the system of taxation and suggestions for its improvement. He also sends what is called his annual letter, enclosing the estimates, framed by the various departments, of the sums needed for the public service of the United States during the coming year. With this the action of the executive ceases, and the matter passes into the hands of Congress.
Revenue bills for imposing or continuing the various customs duties and internal taxes are prepared by the House committee on ways and means, whose chairman is always a leading man in the majority party. The report presented by the secretary of the treasury has been referred to this committee, but the latter does not necessarily in any way regard that report. Neither does it proceed on estimates of the sums needed to maintain the public service, for, in the first place, it does not know what appropriations will be proposed by the spending committees; and in the second place, a primary object of the customs duties has been for many years past, not the raising of revenue, but the protection of American industries by subjecting foreign imports to a very high tariff. Regular appropriation bills down to 1883 were all passed by the House committee on appropriations, but in that year a new committee—on rivers and harbours—received a large field of expenditure; and in 1886 certain other supply bills were referred to sundry standing committees. These various appropriation committees start from, but are not restricted by and do not in fact adopt, the estimates of the secretary of the treasury. Large changes are made both by way of increasing and reducing his estimates.
The financial bills are discussed, as fully as the pressure of work permits, in committee of the whole House. Fresh items of appropriations are often added, and changes are made in revenue bills in the interest of particular purposes or localities. If the Senate is controlled by the same party as the House, it is likely to secure the acceptance of many of its amendments. The majorities in the two houses then labour together to satisfy what they believe to be the wishes of their party. Important legislation is almost impossible when one of the houses is controlled by one party and the other house by the other.
When finally adopted by the House, the bills go to the Senate and are forthwith referred to the committee on finance or to that on appropriations. The Senate committees amend freely both classes of bills, and further changes may be made by the Senate itself. When the bills go back to the House that body usually rejects the amendments: the Senate declines to recede, and a conference committee is appointed by which a compromise is arranged, usually hastily and in secret, often including entirely new items, and this compromise is accepted with little or no discussion, generally at the end of the session.
Thus it comes that comparatively slight use is made of the experience of the permanent financial officials in the framing of revenue-raising and appropriation bills. There is little relation between the amounts proposed to be spent in any one year and the amounts proposed to be raised, and there is a strong tendency to deplete the public treasury through special grants secured by individual members. These defects have long been felt, but Congress is not disposed either to admit officials to attend its sittings or to modify the methods to which it has grown accustomed. A tariff commission was, however, created by statute in 1909, the reports of which may have some influence on the framing of tariffs in future.
§ 23. The executive power of the nation is vested in a president of the United States of America, who holds office The President. during the term of four years. He, together with the vice-president, is nominally chosen by a system of double election through an electoral college, but in practice this system operates merely as a roundabout way of getting the judgment of the people, voting by states.
The Constitution directs each state to choose a number of “presidential electors equal to the number of its representatives in Congress” The Electoral College. (both senators and members of the House of Representatives). Members of Congress and holders of Federal offices are ineligible as electors. These electors (in 1908, 483) meet in each state on the second Monday in January, and give their votes in writing for the president and vice-president. The votes are transmitted to Washington, and there opened by the president of the Senate, in the presence of both houses of Congress, and counted. A majority of the whole number of electors is necessary to elect. If no person have such majority, the president is chosen by the House of Representatives voting by states, and the vice-president is chosen by the Senate. This plan of creating an electoral college to select the president was expected to secure the choice by the best citizens of each state, in a tranquil and deliberate way, of the man whom they in their unfettered discretion should deem fittest to be the chief magistrate of the Union. In fact, however, the electors exercise no discretion, and are chosen under a pledge to vote for a particular candidate. Each party during the summer preceding a presidential election holds a huge party meeting, called a national convention, which nominates candidates for president and vice-president. (See post, § 33.) Candidates for the office of elector are also nominated by party conventions, and the persons who are in each state chosen to be electors—they are chosen by a strict party vote—are expected to vote, and do in point of fact vote, for the presidential candidates named by their respective parties at the national conventions. The Constitution leaves the method of choosing electors to each state, but by universal custom they are now everywhere elected by popular vote, and all the electors for each state are voted for on a “general ticket.” In the early days the electors were chosen in many states by the legislatures, but by 1832 South Carolina was the only state retaining this method, and in 1868 she also dropped it. Some states also, for a time, chose electors by districts, but by 1832 all had adopted the “general ticket” system. Michigan, however, in the election of 1892 reverted to the “district” system, thereby dividing its electoral vote. Thus the election is virtually an election by states, and the struggle concentrates itself in the large states, where the great parties are often nearly equally divided, e.g. the party which carries New York by even a small majority gains all the 39 electoral votes of that state. The polling for electors takes place early in November on the same day over the whole union, and when the result is known the contest is over, because the subsequent meeting and voting of the electors is a mere matter of form. Nevertheless, the system here described, being an election by states, is not the same thing as a general popular vote over the union, for it sometimes happens that a person is chosen president who has received a minority of the popular vote cast.
The Constitution requires the president to be a native-born citizen of the United States, not under thirty-five years of age, and for fourteen years resident in the United States. There is no legal limitation to his re-eligibility any number of times; but tradition, dating from the refusal of George Washington to be nominated for a third term, has virtually established the rule that no person shall be president for more than two continuous terms. If the president dies, the vice-president steps into his place; and if the latter also dies in office, the succession passes to the secretary of state. The president receives a salary of $75,000 a year, besides $25,000 a year for travelling expenses, and has an official residence called the Executive Mansion, or more familiarly the White House.
Functions of the President.—These may be grouped into three classes: those which (1) relate to foreign affairs; (2) concern legislation; (3) relate to domestic administration.
The president appoints ambassadors and ministers to foreign countries, and receives those sent by foreign countries to the United States. He has, through his secretary of state, immediate direction of all negotiations with such countries, and an unfettered initiative in all foreign affairs. He does not, however, enjoy a free hand in finally determining the foreign policy of the government. Treaties require the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, and the foreign affairs committee of that body is usually kept informed of the negotiations which are being conducted by the executive. The power to declare war formally belongs to Congress; but the executive may, without an act of Congress, virtually engage in hostilities and thus bring about a state of war, as happened in 1845-46, when war broke out with Mexico.
As respects legislation, the position of the president is in marked contrast to that of the British crown. While nearly all important measures are brought into parliament by the ministers of the sovereign, and nominally under his instructions, the American president cannot introduce bills either directly or through his ministers. All that the Constitution permits him to do in this direction is to inform Congress of the state of the nation and to recommend the measures which he deems to be necessary. This latter function is discharged by written messages addressed by the president to Congress, the message sent at the beginning of each session being usually the most important; but the suggestions made in these messages do not necessarily or directly induce legislation, although it is open to him to submit a bill or have one drafted by a minister presented to Congress through a member.
More constantly effective is the president's part in the last stage of legislation. His so-called “veto-power” permits him to return to Congress, within ten days after its passage, any bill of which he may disapprove, and, unless this bill re-passes both houses by a two-thirds vote, it does not become law. Most presidents have made use of the veto power sparingly. Jackson, however, as well as Tyler, Johnson and especially Cleveland, employed it pretty boldly. Most of Johnson's vetoes were promptly overruled by the large majority opposed to him in both houses, but the vetoes of all the other presidents have generally prevented the enactment of the bills of which they disapproved.
The domestic executive authority of the president in time of peace is small, because by far the larger part of law and administration belongs to the state and local governments, while the Federal administration is regulated by statutes which leave little discretion to the executive. The power of making appointments to the administrative service would invest him with a vast influence but for the constitutional requirement of securing the consent of the Senate to the more important appointments made. The president is given a free hand in choosing his cabinet ministers; but for most other appointments, whether or not they are by law in his sole gift, the senators belonging to the president's party have practically controlled the selections for offices lying within their respective states, and a nomination made by the president against the will of the senator concerned will generally be disapproved by the Senate. The members of the president's party in the House also demand a share in the bestowal of offices as a price for their co-operation in those matters wherein the executive may find it necessary to have legislative aid. Nevertheless, the distribution of offices under the so-called “ spoils system” remains the most important ordinary function of the president, and the influence he exerts over Congress and legislation is due mainly to his patronage.
In time of war or of public disturbance, however, the domestic authority of the president expands rapidly. This was markedly the case during the Civil War. As commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and as “charged with the faithful execution of all laws,” he is likely to assume, and would indeed be expected to assume, all the powers which the emergency requires. In ordinary times the president may be almost compared to the managing clerk in a large business establishment, whose chief function is to select his subordinates, the policy of the concern being in the hands of the board of directors. But when foreign affairs reach a critical stage, or when disorders within the Union require Federal intervention, immense responsibility is then thrown on one who is both commander-in-chief of the army and the head of the civil executive. In no European country is there any personage to whom the president can be said to correspond. He may have to exert more authority, even if he enjoys less dignity, than a European king. He has powers which are in ordinary times narrower than those of a European prime minister; but these powers are more secure, for instead of depending on the pleasure of a parliamentary majority, they run on to the end of his term. Although he is always elected as a party candidate, he generally receives, if he shows tact and dignity, abundant respect and deference from all citizens, and is able to exert influence beyond the strict limits of his legal power.
The only way of removing the president from office is by impeachment, an institution borrowed from Great Britain, where it had not become obsolete at the time when the United States constitution was adopted. The House of Representatives may impeach the president. The Senate tries him, and a two-thirds majority is required for conviction. Andrew Johnson is the only president who as been impeached.
§ 24. There is in the government of the United States no such thing as a cabinet, in the British or French or Italian The Cabinet and Administrative Officials. sense of the word. But the term is regularly used to describe a council of the president, composed of the heads of the chief administrative departments: the secretary of state, the secretary of the treasury, secretary of war, attorney-general, secretary of the navy, postmaster-general, secretary of the interior, secretary of agriculture, and secretary of commerce and labor. Like the British cabinet, this council is not formally recognized by the law, but it is nevertheless accepted as a permanent feature in the government. It is really a group of persons, each individually dependent on, and answerable to, the president, but with no joint policy, no collective responsibility. The final decision on all questions rest with the president, who is solely and personally responsible. Moreover, the members of the cabinet are excluded from Congress, and are entirely independent of that body, so that an American cabinet has little to do in the way of devising parliamentary tactics, or of preparing bills, or of discussing problems of foreign policy. It is not a government, as Europeans understand the term, but a group of heads of departments, whom their chief, though he usually consults them separately, often finds it useful to bring together for a talk about current politics and the course proper for the administration to take in them, or in order to settle some administrative question which lies on the borderland between the provinces of two ministers.
The principal administrative departments are those already named, whose heads form the president's cabinet. The most Administrative Departments. important are the state and treasury departments. The former has the conduct of foreign affairs and interests, and directs the diplomatic service, but is obliged to keep in touch with the Senate, because treaties require the consent of the latter. It also has charge of the great seal of the United States, keeps the archives, publishes the statutes of Congress and controls the consular service.
The two main functions of the treasury department are the administration of the government revenues and expenditures, and of the banking and currency laws. The secretary has, however, a smaller range of action than a finance minister in European countries, for, as he is excluded from Congress, he has nothing directly to do with the imposition of taxes, and very little with the appropriations for government expenditure.
The department of the interior is less important than in France or Italy, since the principal functions which there belong to it lie, in the United States, within the field of state powers. In the United States the principal matters in this department are the management of the public lands, the conduct of Indian affairs, the issue of patents, the administration of pension laws, of the national census and of the geological survey, and the collection of educational information.
The department of war controls the formerly very small, but now largely increased, army of the United States; and its corps of engineers execute the river and harbour improvements ordered by Congress. The navy department has charge of the dockyards and vessels of war; and the post office department directs the postal system, including the railway mail service. The department of agriculture includes the weather bureau, the bureau of animal industry and other bureaus which conduct investigations and experiments. The attorney-general is the legal adviser of the president, public prosecutor and standing counsel for the United States, and also has general oversight of the Federal judicial administration, especially of the prosecuting officers called district attorneys and of the executive court officers called marshals.
The department of commerce and labor controls the bureaus which deal with the mercantile marine, the lighthouse and lifesaving service, commercial statistics, immigration, and the coast and geodetic survey, and the census is also under its charge.
Two commissions not connected with any of the above departments deserve some notice. The inter-state commerce commission, established by statute in 1887, is a semi-judicial, semi-administrative board of five members, with limited powers of control over interstate railway transportation. The chief duty is to prevent discrimination's in freight rates and secret rebates from the published list of charges. Its powers have been much extended by subsequent acts, especially that of 1910. The civil service commission, established in 1883, conducts competitive examinations for appointments to subordinate positions under all of the administrative departments. Some 235,000 posts have now been placed under civil service rules and withdrawn from the category of spoils.
§ 25. The Federal judicial system is made by the Constitution independent both of the legislature and of the executive. It The Federal Judiciary. consists of the Supreme Court, the circuit court of appeals, the circuit courts and the district courts.
The Supreme Court is created by the Constitution, and consisted in 1910 of nine judges, who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They hold office during good behaviour, i.e. are removable only by impeachment, thus having a tenure even more secure than that of English judges. The court sits at Washington from October to July in every year. The sessions of the court are held in the Capitol. A rule requiring the presence of six judges to pronounce a decision prevents the division of the court into two or more benches; and while this secures a thorough consideration of every case, it also retards the despatch of business. Every case is discussed twice by the whole body, once to ascertain the view of the majority, which is then directed to be set forth in a written opinion; then again when the written opinion, prepared by one of the judges, is submitted for criticism and adoption by the court as its judgment.
The other Federal courts have been created by Congress under a power in the Constitution to establish “inferior courts.” The circuit courts consist of twenty-nine circuit judges, acting in nine judicial circuits, while to each circuit there is also allotted one of the justices of the Supreme Court. The judges of each circuit, acting with or without the justice of the Supreme Court for the circuit, constitute a circuit court of appeals, established to relieve the Supreme Court. Some cases may, however, be appealed to the Supreme Court from the circuit court of appeals, and others directly from the lower courts. The district courts are now eighty in number, each having usually a single justice, rarely two. There is also a special tribunal called the court of claims, which deals with the claims of private persons against the Federal government. It is not strictly a part of the general judicial system, but is a creation of Congress designed to relieve that body of a part of its own labours. A customs court of five judges was created by an act of 1909 for the hearing of cases relating to the tariff.
The jurisdiction of the Federal courts extends only to those cases in which the Constitution makes Federal law applicable. All other cases are left to the state courts, from which there is no appeal to the Federal courts, unless where some specific point arises which is affected by the Federal Constitution or a Federal law. The classes of cases dealt with by the Federal courts are as follows:—
1. Cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States and treaties made under their authority;
2. Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;
3. Cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;
4. Controversies to which the United States shall be a party;
5. Controversies between two or more states, between a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different states, between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state or the citizens thereof and foreign states, citizens or subjects (Const. art. iii. § 2). Part of this jurisdiction has, however, been withdrawn by the eleventh amendment to the Constitution, which declares that “the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state.”
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is original in cases affecting ambassadors, and wherever a state is a party; in other cases it is appellate. In some matters the jurisdiction of the Federal courts is exclusive; in others it is concurrent with that of the state courts.
As it frequently happens that cases come before state courts in which questions of Federal law arise, a provision has been made whereby due respect for the latter is secured by giving the party to a suit who relies upon Federal law, and whose contention is overruled by a state court, the right of having the suit removed to a Federal court. The judiciary Act of 1789 (as amended by subsequent legislation) provides for the appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States of “a final judgment or decree in any suit rendered in the highest court of a state in which a decision in the suit could be had where is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute for an authority exercised under the United States, and the decision is against their validity; or where is drawn in question the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under, any state, on the ground of their being repugnant to the Constitution, treaties or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favour of their validity; or where any title, right, privilege or immunity is claimed under the Constitution, or any treaty or statute of, or commission held or authority exercised under the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege or immunity specially set up or claimed by either party under the Constitution, treaty, statute, commission or authority.” If the decision of the state court is in favor of the right claimed under Federal law or against the validity or applicability of the state law set up, there is no ground for appeal, because the applicability or authority of Federal law in the particular case could receive no further protection from a Federal court than has in fact been given by the state court.
The power exercised by the Supreme Court in declaring statutes of Congress or of state legislatures (or acts of the executive) to be invalid because inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, has been deemed by many Europeans a peculiar and striking feature of the American system. There is, however, nothing novel or mysterious about it. As the Federal Constitution, which emanates directly from the people, is the supreme law of the land everywhere, any statute passed by any lower authority (whether the Federal Congress or a state legislature) which contravenes the Constitution must necessarily be invalid in point of law, just as in the United Kingdom a railway bye-law which contravened an act of parliament would be invalid. Now, the functions of judicial tribunals—of all courts alike, whether Federal or state, whether superior or inferior—is to interpret the law, and if any tribunal finds a congressional statute or state statute inconsistent with the Constitution, the tribunal is obliged to hold such statute invalid. A tribunal does this not because it has any right or power of its own in the matter, but because the people have, in enacting the Constitution as a supreme law, declared that all other laws inconsistent with it are ipso jure void. When a tribunal has ascertained that an inferior law is thus inconsistent, that inferior law is therewith, so far as inconsistent, to be deemed void. The tribunal does not enter any conflict with the legislature or executive. All it does is to declare that a conflict exists between two laws of different degrees of authority, whence it necessarily follows that the weaker law is extinct. This duty of interpretation belongs to all tribunals, but as constitutional cases are, if originating in a lower court, usually carried by appeal to the Supreme Court, men have grown accustomed to talk of the Supreme Court as in a special sense the guardian of the Constitution.
The Federal courts never deliver an opinion on any constitutional question unless or until that question is brought before them in the form of a lawsuit. A judgment of the Supreme Court is only a judgment on the particular case before it, and does not prevent a similar question being raised again in another lawsuit, though of course this seldom happens, because it may be assumed that the court will adhere to its former opinion. There have, however, been instances in which the court has virtually changed its view on a constitutional question, and it is understood to be entitled so to do.
§ 26. As the Federal Constitution is a short document, which deals very concisely with most of the subjects it touches, Results of Constitutional interpretation. a vast number of questions have arisen upon its interpretation in the course of the 122 years which have elapsed since its enactment. The decisions of the Supreme Court upon these questions form a large body of law, a knowledge of which is now indispensable to a mastery of the Constitution itself. By them the Constitution has been so expanded in the points which it expressly treats of, and so filled up in the matters which it covers only by way of implication, that it is now a much more complete instrument than it was when it came from the hands of its framers. Thus the courts have held that, while the national government can exercise only such powers as have been affirmatively granted, it is not restricted in its choice of the methods for exercising such powers as have been granted. From this doctrine there has been derived a conspicuous activity of the national government in such fields as taxation, borrowing of money, regulating commerce and carrying on war. Executive and legislative acts not authorized by the letter of the Constitution have also been allowed to remain unchallenged, and thus precedents have been in fact established, with the tacit recognition of the courts and the people, through which the sphere of the national government has been enlarged. The purchase of Louisiana from France by President Jefferson is an instance. It may indeed be said that the Constitution as it now stands is the result of a long process of development; and that process is still going on. In 1901 the Supreme Court delivered several judgments in cases arising out of the annexation of Porto Rico, which handled, though they did not fully settle, divers points of novelty and of importance, and still more recently questions of great intricacy affecting the respective legislative rights of the Federal and the state governments have come before it.
§ 27. It is not, however, only by way of interpretation that the Constitution has been developed. A great many matters Development of the Constitution by Usage. which it passed over have become the subject of legislation by Congress; and there has also sprung up a large mass of usages regulating matters not touched either by the Constitution or by any express enactment. These usages have in many cases lasted so long and become so generally accepted, that they may be regarded as parts of the actual or (so to speak) “working” Constitution, although of course they could be at any moment changed. Among the matters that are now thus settled by usage the following may be mentioned:—
The president practically is limited to two continuous terms of office. The presidential electors are expected to vote for the candidate of the party which has chosen them, exercising no free will of their own. The Senate always confirms the nominations to a cabinet office made by the President.
It may be added that in respect of one matter assigned by the Constitution to the states a momentous change has taken place since the enactment of the Constitution. This matter is the electoral franchise in Federal elections. In 1789 property qualifications were general, but now in all the northern and western states these have been long since abolished, and the electoral suffrage is practically manhood suffrage. In Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Washington universal adult suffrage prevails. Down till 1890 manhood suffrage had prevailed in all the Southern states also (as to some Southern states now see ante, § 5). As the electoral suffrage for state legislature elections is also that for Federal elections (including the election of presidential electors), the working of the Federal Constitution has thus been affected without any change in the Constitution itself.
§ 28. Besides these changes which have been brought about by judicial interpretation and by usage, the Constitution has Amendments to the Constitution. also been altered in the regular and formal way which its own provisions permit (see ante, § 14). This has happened four times. Ten amendments were enacted immediately after the adoption of the Constitution itself, in order to meet certain objections which had been taken to it. These may be described as a sort of bill of rights. Another, the eleventh, was enacted in 1794-1798 to negative the construction which the Supreme Court had put upon its own powers in holding that it could entertain a suit by a private person against a state. Another, the twelfth (1803-1804), corrected a fault in the method of choosing the president; and three more (1865-1870) confirmed and secured some of the results of the victory of the North in the War of Secession (1861-65). In 1909 Congress proposed an amendment for enabling the national legislature to impose an income tax. But few amendments pass beyond the first stage of a formal proposal. This is due not merely to the respect of the Americans for their fundamental law, but also to the difficulties which surround the process of change. It is hard to secure the requisite majorities in Congress, and still harder a majority in three-fourths of the states. The obstacles placed in the way of amendment, which are greater than in the case of almost any other Constitution, may be reckoned among the causes which led to the War of Secession.
§ 29. As compared with the cabinet system of Great Britain, of the British self-governing colonies, and of such European countries as France, Italy, Holland and Belgium, the characteristic features of the scheme of the American national government are the following:—
a. The legislature and the executive are independent and General character of the Frame of National Government. disjoined. The executive does not depend upon the legislature, but holds its powers by a direct commission from the people. No member of the executive sits in the legislature, nor can the legislature eject any one from office save by impeachment.
b. Both the legislature and the executive sit for fixed terms.
c. No method is provided for getting rid of deadlocks, either between the legislature and the executive or between the two branches of the legislature. Should action be needed which cannot be legally taken without the concurrence of these different authorities, and should they be unable to concur, the legal situation must remain in statu quo until by a new election the people have changed one or more of the conflicting authorities, and so brought them into harmony.
d. The judiciary holds a place of high importance, because it is the proper interpreter of the will of the people expressed in the supreme law, the Federal Constitution, which the people have enacted.
It will be noted that the structure of the Federal Government is less democratic than that of the state governments. The only posts in the former conferred by popular election are those of the president and the members of the legislature, and while the two houses are a check on each other, the president is a check upon both.
The defects which have been remarked in this system are, broadly speaking, the following: There is a danger that prompt action, needed in the interests of the nation, may fail to be taken owing to a deadlock between legislature and executive, or between the two branches of the legislature. There may be a difficulty in fixing responsibility upon any person, or small group of persons, because cases may arise in which the executive, being unable to act without the concurrence of the legislature, can hardly be blamed for failing to act, while yet it is unable to relieve itself by resigning; while on the other hand the legislature—which consists of two bodies, each of them numerous, and in neither of which are there recognized leaders—contains no person on whom responsibility can be fixed. On the other hand, the characteristic merits of the system may be summed up as consisting in the safeguards it provides against the undue predominance of any one power or person in the government, and therewith against any risk there may be that the president should become a despot, and in the full opportunities it secures for the due consideration of all important measures. It is a system amply provided with checks and balances; it recognizes and enforces the principle of popular sovereignty, while subjecting that principle to many checks in practice; and it is well calculated to maintain unchanged the relation of its component parts each to the other. There has been, in point of fact, no permanent shifting of weight or strength from any one organ of government to any other. At some particular epoch the president has seemed to be gaining upon Congress, at other epochs Congress has seemed to be gaining upon the president. Much depends on the personal qualities of the president and his power of inspiring the people with trust in his courage and his uprightness. When he possesses that power he may overawe Congress, and make them follow, even reluctantly, in the path he points out. Now and then the Senate has been more influential than the House, now and then it has fallen back, at least so far as the confidence of the people in it is concerned. The part played by the judiciary has at some moments been of special importance, while at others it has been little noticed. But, taking the history of the republic as a whole, that equilibrium between the several organs of the government which the Constitution was intended to secure has been substantially maintained.
VI.—The Party System.
§ 30. The actual working of the government of the Union and of the governments of the several states cannot be properly understood without some knowledge of the party system as it exists in the United States. That system is, as has been well observed by H. J. Ford, a sort of link between the executive and the legislative departments of government, and thus the policy and action of the party for the time being in power forms a sort of second and unofficial government of the country, directing the legal government created by the Constitution. In no country have political parties been so carefully and thoroughly organized. In no country does the spirit of party so completely pervade every department of political life; Influence of the Party System upon the Working of the Government. not that party spirit is any more bitter than it is in Europe, for in some respects it is usually less bitter and less passionate than in France, the United Kingdom or Austria, but that it penetrates farther into the body of the people, and exerts a more constant influence upon their minds. Party organizations have in the United States a wide range of action, for they exist to accomplish five purposes. Three of these are pursued in other countries also. These three are: first, to influence governmental policy; secondly, to form opinion; and thirdly, to win elections. But the two others are almost (if now not quite) peculiar to the United States, viz. to select candidates for office and to procure places of emolument for party workers. The selecting by a party of its candidates, instead of allowing candidates to start on their own account, is a universal practice in the United States, and rests upon the notion that the supreme authority and incessant activity of the people must extend not only to the choice of officials by vote, but even to the selection of those for whom votes shall be cast. So the practice of securing places for persons who have served the party, in however humble a capacity, has sprung from the maxim that in the strife of politics “the spoils belong to the victors,” and has furnished a motive of incomparable and ever-present activity ever since the administration (1829-1837) of President Andrew Jackson. It is chiefly through these two practices that the party organizations have grown so powerful, and have been developed into an extremely complicated system of machinery, firm yet flexible, delicate yet quickly set up, and capable of working efficiently in the newest and roughest communities.
§ 31. The contests over the adoption of the Federal Constitution by the several states in 1787-1790 brought to the surface Origin and History of the Parties. two opposite tendencies, which may be called the centrifugal and centripetal forces, a tendency to maintain both the freedom of the individual and the independence, in legislation, in administration and in jurisdiction, of the several states, and an opposite tendency to subordinate the states to the nation, and to vest large powers in the central Federal authority. These tendencies soon arranged themselves in concrete bodies, and thus two great parties were formed. One, which took the name of Republican, became the champion of states' rights, and claimed to be also the champion of freedom. It was led by Thomas Jefferson. The other, the Federalist party, led by Alexander Hamilton, stood for an energetic exercise of the powers of the central government, and for a liberal interpretation of the powers granted that government by the Federal Constitution. The Jeffersonian party has had an unbroken continuity of life, though it has been known since about 1830 as the Democratic party. The, Federalist party slowly decayed, and ultimately vanished between 1820 and 1830, but out of its ruins a new party arose, practically its heir, which continued powerful, under the name of Whigs, till 1854, when it broke up over questions connected with the extension of slavery. Very soon thereafter a party, nominally new, but largely formed out of the Whigs, and maintaining many of its traditions, sprang up, and took the name of Republicans. Since 1856 these two great parties, Democrats and Republicans, have confronted one another, including between them the vast majority of the people. After the Civil War, when the questions attending Reconstruction had become less acute, economic discontents gave rise to other smaller parties, such as Greenbackers, Labor party and Populists, and the sense of the harm done by the licensed sale of alcohol evoked a party which became known as the Prohibitionists. Still later the growth of Collectivist views, especially among the immigrants from Continental Europe, led to the formation of a Socialist Labor party and a Socialist party, some of those who had belonged to the Populists associating themselves with these new groups.
The Democratic party began to form for itself a regular organization in the presidency (1829-1837) of Andrew Jackson, and the process seems to have been first seriously undertaken in New York state. The Whigs did the same; and when the Republicans organized themselves, shortly after the fall of the Whigs, they created a party machinery on lines resembling those which their predecessors had struck out. The establishment of the system in its general form may be dated from before the Civil War, but it has since been perfected in its details.
§ 32. The machinery of an American party consists of two distinct but intimately connected sets of bodies, the one Outline of the System of Party Organization. permanent, the other temporary, or rather intermittent. The function of the former is to manage the general business of the party from month to month and year to year. That of the latter is to nominate candidates for the next ensuing elections and to make declarations of party opinion intended to indicate the broad lines of party policy.
The permanent organization consists of a system of committees, one for each of the more important election areas. Party Committees. There is a committee for every city, every county, and every congressional district, and in some states even for every township and every state legislature district. There is, of course, a committee for every state, and at the head of the whole stands a national committee for the whole Union, whose special function it is to make arrangements for the conduct of party work at a presidential election. Thus the country from ocean to ocean is covered by a network of committees, each having a sphere of action corresponding to some election area, whether a Federal area or a state area. Each committee is independent and responsible so far as regards the local work to be done in connexion with the election in its own area, but is subordinate to the party committees above it as respects work to be done in its own locality for the general purposes of the party. The ordinary duties of these committees are to raise and spend money for electioneering and otherwise in the interests of the party, to organize meetings, to “look after the press,” to attend to the admission of immigrants or new-comers as voters, and generally to attract and enrol recruits in the party forces. At election times they also direct and superintend the work of bringing up voters to the polls and of watching the taking and counting of the votes; but in this work they are often aided or superseded by specially appointed temporary bodies called “campaign committees.” These party committees are permanent, and though the membership is renewed every year, the same men usually continue to serve. The chairman in particular is generally reappointed, and is often, in a populous area, a person of great and perhaps autocratic power, who has large funds at his disposal and a regular army of “workers” under his orders.
The other and parallel branch of the party organization consists of the bodies whose function it is to nominate party Party Nominating Conventions. candidates for elective posts, whether legislative or executive. (It must be remembered that many executive state, county and city officers are chosen by direct popular vote.) These bodies are meetings of the members of the party resident in each election area. In the smallest areas, such as the township or city ward, the meeting is composed of all the recognized members of the party who are entitled to vote, and it is then called a primary. In the larger election areas, such as a county or city, the number of voters who would be entitled to be present renders it impossible to admit all, so the nominating meetings in these areas are composed of delegates elected in the various primaries included in the area, and the meeting is called a nominating convention. This is the rule, but in some parts of the South and West nominations for members of the state legislature and county officials, and even for members of Congress, are made by primary assemblies meeting over the entire area, which all the party voters are entitled to attend. Where candidates are to be nominated for a state election, the number of delegates from primaries would be too large, so the state nominating convention is composed of delegates chosen at representative conventions held in smaller areas.
Every registered voter belonging to the party in the local election area for which party candidates are to be nominated is presumably entitled to vote in the primary. In rural districts little difficulty arises, because it is known what citizens belong to each party; but in cities, and especially in large cities, where men do not know their neighbours by sight, it becomes necessary to have regular lists of the party voters entitled to attend a primary; and these lists are either prepared and kept by the local party committee, or are settled by the votes of the persons previously on the party rolls. The composition of these lists is of course a serious matter, because the primary is the foundation of the whole party edifice. Accordingly, those who control the local organizations usually take pains to keep on the lists all the voters whom they can trust, and are apt to keep off those whom they think likely to show a dangerous independence. By their constant activity in this direction, and by their influence over the pliable members of the party, they are generally able to have a primary subservient to their will, which is ready to nominate those whom they may suggest as suitable candidates, and to choose as delegates to the conventions persons on whom they can rely. In this way a few leaders may sometimes be able to obtain control of the nominating machinery of a city, or even of a state, for the local committees usually obey instructions received from the committees above them. (See, as to the details of party machinery, American Commonwealth, chs. lix.-lxiv., M. Ostrogorski on Democracy in England and America, and Professor Jesse Macy on Party Organization and Machinery, 1904.)
The great importance of these nominating bodies lies not only in the fact that there are an enormous number of state, county and city offices (including judicial offices) filled by direct popular election, but also in the fact that in the United States a candidate has scarcely any chance of being elected unless he is regularly nominated by his party, that is to say, by the recognised primary or convention. To control the primary or the convention (as the case may be) of the party which is strongest in any given area is therefore, in ninety nine cases out of a hundred, to control the election itself, so far as the party is concerned, and in many places one party has a permanent majority.
As the desire to dominate primaries was found to lead to many abuses, both in the way of manipulating the lists of party voters and in the unfair management of the primary meetings themselves, a movement was started for reforming the system, which, beginning soon after 1890, gathered so much support that now in the large majority of the states laws have been enacted for regulating the proceedings at primary nomination meetings. These laws vary greatly in their details from state to state, but they all aim at enabling the voters to exercise a free and unfettered voice in the selection of their candidates, and they have created a regular system of elections of candidates preliminary to the election of office-holders from among the candidates. In most states the voter is required, when he obtains his ballot at the primary election, to declare to which party he belongs, but sometimes the primary is “open” and he may vote for any one of the persons who are put forward as desiring to be selected as candidates. The laws usually contain provisions punishing fraud or bribery practised at a primary, similar to those which apply to the subsequent elections to office. Although political parties were originally mere private organizations, little objection seems to have been felt to giving them statutory recognition and placing the proceedings at them under full official control.
§ 33. One nominating body is of such conspicuous magnitude as to need special notice. For the selection of party The National Nominating Convention. candidates for the offices of president and vice-president of the United States there is held once every four years, in the summer preceding the election (which takes place in November) of the president, a huge party assembly of delegates from conventions held in the several states, each state having twice as many delegates as it has electoral votes to cast (i.e. twice as many as its Federal senators and Federal representatives). Two delegates are chosen for each congressional district by a district convention, and four delegates for the state at large by a state convention. Each state delegation usually keeps together during the national convention, and holds private meetings from time to time to decide on its course.
When the national convention has been duly organized by the appointment of committees and of a chairman, its first business is to discuss and adopt a series of resolutions (prepared by the committee on resolutions, but subject to amendment by the convention as a whole), which, taken together, embody the views, programme and policy of the party, and constitute what is called its “platform” for the ensuing election. This declaration of principles and plans is sometimes of importance, not only as an appeal to the people in respect of the past services and merits of the party, but as pledging them to the measures they are to introduce and push forward if they win the election. It then proceeds to receive the nomination of various aspirants to the position of party candidate for the presidency. The roll of states is called alphabetically, and each state, as reached in the roll, is entitled to present a candidate. Thereafter a vote is taken between the several aspirants. The roll of states is again called, and the chairman of each state delegation announces the vote of the state. In Democratic conventions a state delegation, when instructed by the state convention to cast its whole vote solid for the particular aspirant favoured by the majority of the delegation, must do so (this is called the unit rule); in the conventions of the other parties individual delegates may vote as they please. If one aspirant has obtained on the first roll-call an absolute majority of the whole number of delegates voting—or, in Democratic conventions, a majority of two-thirds of those voting—he is held to have been duly chosen, and the choice is then made unanimous. If, however, no one obtains the requisite majority, the roll is again called until some one competitor secures the requisite number of votes. Sometimes one or two votings are sufficient, but sometimes the process has to be repeated many times—it may even continue for several days—before a result is reached. Where this happens there is much room for the display of tactical skill by the party managers in persuading delegates who favour one of the less prominent aspirants to transfer their votes to the person who seems most likely to unite the party.
When one aspirant has been duly selected as the party candidate for the presidency, the convention proceeds to choose in the same way a person to be candidate for the vice-presidency. This is a much simpler matter, because the post is much less sought after, and it is usually dispatched with ease and promptitude. The two nominees are then deemed to be the candidates of the whole party, entitled to the support, at the ensuing election, of the party organizations and of all sound party men throughout the Union, and the convention thereupon dissolves.
§ 34. It is hardly too much to say that in the United States the parties work the government. The question follows, Who Influences which guide the Parties. work the parties? The action of the parties depends upon and is the resultant of three factors, which are indeed more or less present in all constitutional representative governments. These are (a) individual leaders, who are powerful either by their talents or by the influence they enjoy over the citizens; (b) rich men, who can supply the party with the very large sums of money needed for maintaining the party machinery in efficiency and for fighting the elections; and (c) the opinion of the mass of the citizens, who, though generally disposed to adhere to the traditions and follow the leaders of the party to which they belong, do, especially in the more educated classes and in the most advanced parts of the country, exert a certain measure of independence, and may refuse to vote for the party candidates if they either distrust those candidates personally or disapprove of the policy which the party seems to be following. It need hardly be said that the relative importance of these three factors varies from time to time. Fortunately that of the second has grown weaker in recent years.
§ 35. The national parties have been so pervasive in their influence, and the working of their machinery has formed so General Results of the Power of the Party System. important a part of the political history of the United States, that it is necessary here to call attention to the high significance of this element in the system of the Republic. The party system has made nearly all elections, including those for state offices and city offices, the functions of which have, as a rule, nothing whatever to do with national party issues, matters of party strife fought upon party lines. It has disposed voters in state and city elections to support party candidates, of whom they might otherwise have disapproved, for the sake of maintaining in full strength for national purposes the local party organization, and it has thereby become a fruitful source of municipal misgovernment. It has thrown great power into the hands of party managers, because where the strife between the two great parties is keen and the result of a contest doubtful, discipline and obedience are deemed needful for success. It has tended to efface state lines, and to diminish the interest in state issues, and has thus helped to make the nation overshadow the states.
- (J. Br.)
Bibliography.—General Secondary Works: James Bryce, The American Commonwealth (2 vols., New York, 1888; rev. ed., 1910) is the most satisfactory treatment of the whole subject; Alexis C. H. C. de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (2 vols., a translation by Henry Reeve edited by Francis Bowen, New York, 1898)—the first English edition of this philosophical work appeared in 1835, and it is still suggestive; A. B. Hart, Actual Government as applied under American Conditions (3rd ed., rev., ibid., 1908), describes the operation of the various parts of the government and contains bibliographical guides. See also R. L. Ashley, The American Federal State (ibid., 1902); and B. A. Hinsdale, The American Government, National and State (rev. ed., Chicago, 1895). State Governments: The chief source for each state is the Revised Statutes, General Laws or Code, including the Constitution. There are two official compilations of the State Constitutions, one edited by B. P. Poore (2 vols., Washington, 1877) and one edited by F. N. Thorpe (7 vols., ibid., 1909). T. M. Cooley, A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations which rest upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union (6th ed., Boston, 1890) is one of the most useful secondary works. In “Handbooks of American Government,” edited by L. B. Evans, there is a study of the government of New York by W. C. Morey (New York, 1902), of Ohio by W. H. Siebert (1904), of Illinois by E. B. Greene (1904), of Maine by William MacDonald (1902), of Michigan by W. W. Cook (1905), of Minnesota by F. L. McVey (1901) and of Indiana by E. W. Kemp (1904). See also Lincoln Steffens, The Struggle for Self-Government; being an attempt to trace American Political Corruption to its Sources in Six States of the United States (New York, 1906). The American Political Science Review (Baltimore, 1907 sqq.) is especially useful for a comparative study of the state governments. For a study of the branches of government, Federal as well as state, see W. W. Willoughby, The American Constitutional System (New York, 1904); Emlin McClain, Constitutional Law in the United States (ibid., 1905); P. S. Reinsch, American Legislatures and Legislative Methods (ibid., 1907); J. H. Finley and J. F. Sanderson, The American Executive and Executive Methods (ibid., 1908); W. F. Willoughby, Territories and Dependencies (ibid., 1905) and S. E. Baldwin, The American Judiciary (ibid., 1905). Local Government: The sources are the state constitutions, state laws and town and county reports and records. The best secondary works are J. A. Fairlie's Local Government in Towns, Counties and Villages (New York, 1906); and G . E. Howard's Introduction to the Local Constitutional History of the United States (Baltimore, 1889) is of use, although the author's theories are questionable. Government of Cities: The principal source is the city charters. For a digest of some of these see Digest of City Charters, together with other Statutory and Constitutional Provisions relating to Cities, prepared for the Chicago Charter Convention by A. R. Hatton (Chicago, 1906). There is much useful material in Municipal Affairs, 6 vols., and vol. v. contains “A Bibliography of Municipal Problems and City Conditions.” See also Proceedings of the National Conference for Good City Government (Philadelphia, 1894). Among numerous good secondary works are F. J. Goodnow's Municipal Government (New York, 1909), City Government in the United States (ibid., 1904); Municipal Problems (ibid., 1897) and Municipal Home Rule (ibid., 1895); J. A. Fairlie, Municipal Administration (ibid., 1901); D. F. Wilcox, The American City: A Problem in Democracy (ibid., 1904); and Great Cities in America: Their Problems and Government (ibid., 1910); H. E. Deming, The Government of American Cities (ibid., 1909); Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities (ibid., 1904); F. C. Howe, The City, the Hope of Democracy (ibid., 1905); and Charles Zueblin, American Municipal Progress (ibid., 1902). The Federal Government: For a study of the constitution see the Documentary History of the Constitution of the United States of America, 1786-1870 (5 vols., Washington, 1894-1905); Jonathan Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, &c. (2nd ed., 5 vols., Philadelphia, 1888); The Federalist, edited by H. C. Lodge (New York, 1889) or by P. L. Ford (ibid., 1898); Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, Published during its Discussion by the People (Brooklyn, 1888), edited by P. L. Ford; Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (5th ed., 2 vols., Boston, 1891); James Kent, Commentaries on American Law (14th ed., 4 vols., ibid., 1896); J. I. C. Hare, American Constitutional Law, (2 vols., ibid., 1889); E. G. Elliott, Biographical Story of the Constitution (New York, 1910); Woodrow Wilson, Constitutional Government in the United States (ibid., rev. ed., 1908); and especially important are the decision of the United States Supreme Court, known by the name of the reporter until 1874—A. J. Dallas (1790-1800), Wm. Cranch (1801-1815), Henry Wheaton (1816-1827), Richard Peters (1828-1842), B. C. Howard (1843-1860), J. S. Black (1861-1862) and J. W. Wallace (1863-1874)—and published under the title of the United States Reports after 1874. The best collection of Cases on Constitutional Law is by J. B. Thayer (2 vols., Cambridge, 1894-1895). The United States Statutes at Large are published in 35 vols. (Boston and Washington, 1845-1909), and there is an annotated edition of the Federal Statutes compiled under the supervision of W. M. McKinney and C. C. Moore (New York, 1903-1909). J. D. Richardson compiled the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 (10 vols., Washington, 1896-1899). The best account of the presidential elections is in Edward Stanwood's History of the Presidency (Boston, 1898). For the executive departments the Annual Reports of each and numerous executive documents are useful. Some of the more important secondary works on special topics are: Mary P. Follett, The Speaker of the House of Representatives (New York, new ed., 1910); H. B. Fuller, Speakers of the House (Boston, 1909); J. A. Fairlie, National Administration of the United States (New York, 1907); L. G. McConachie, Congressional Committees: a Study of the Origins and Development of our National and Local Legislative Methods (ibid., 1898); Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government: a Study in American Politics (15th ed., Boston, 1900); Jesse Macy, Party Organization and Machinery (New York, 1904); M. Ostrogorski, Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties (ibid., 2 vols., 1902; the second volume, revised and enlarged, was published in 1910 as Democracy and the Party System in the United States); J. A. Woodburn, American Politics: Political Parties and Party Problems in the United States (ibid., 1903); Lucy M. Salmon, History of the Appointing Power of the President, in American Historical Association Papers, vol. i. (ibid., 1886); C. R. Fish, The Civil Service and Patronage (ibid., 1905); W. W. Willoughby, The Supreme Court of the United States: its History and Influence in our Constitutional System, in Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, vol. vii. (Baltimore, 1890); F. A. Cleveland, Growth of Democracy in the United States: or the Evolution of Popular Cooperation in Government and its Results (Chicago, 1898); J. A. Smith, The Spirit of American Government: A Study of the Constitution, its Origin, Influence and Relation to Democracy (New York, 1907); Albert Shaw, Political Problems in American Development (New York, (1907); D. R. Dewey, National Problems (ibid., 1907).
- Details as to state constitutions will be found in J. Bryce, American Commonwealth, chs. xxxvii.-xxxix., which is referred to here and subsequently as containing a fuller treatment of all the topics dealt with in this article. Further details may be found also in the articles on the separate states.
- Woman suffrage amendments to state constitutions have been rejected by the people in at least twelve states and in two territories. State organizations of women to oppose the extension of the suffrage to women exist in Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon; possibly in other states also.
- As to the scheme and working of the Federal government in its relation to the states, see American Commonwealth, chs. xxvii.-xxx.
- In June in Oregon; in September in Maine and Vermont.
- This case was that of the impeachment of a senator, and the failure to convict arose from the fact that some of the senators at the time held the now generally accepted opinion that a member of Congress is not subject to impeachment.
- The order of succession, after the secretary of state, is as follows: the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of war, the attorney-general, the postmaster-general, the secretary of the navy, the secretary of the interior—this order to apply only to such officers as “shall have been appointed by the advice and consent of the Senate . . . and such as are eligible to the office of president . . . and not under impeachment. . . .”
- Rise and Growth of American Politics.