Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Government/I. Forms of Government.
I. Forms of Government.
Three Standard Forms.—Political writers from the timo of Aristotle have been singularly unanimous in their classi fication of the forms of government. There are three ways in which states may be governed. They may be governed by one man, or by a number of men, small in proportion to the whole number of men in the state, or by a number large in proportion to the whole number of men in the state. The government may be a monarchy, an aristocracy, or a democracy. The same terms are used by Austin as were used by Aristotle, and in very nearly the same sense. The determining quality in governments in both writers, and it may safely be said in all intermediate writers, is the numerical relation between the constituent members of the government and the population of the state. There were, of course, enormous differences between the state-systems present to the mind of the Greek philosopher and the English jurist. Aristotle was thinking of the small in dependent states of Greece, Austin of the great peoples of modern Europe. The unit of government in the one case was a city, in the other a nation. This difference is of itself enough to invalidate all generalization founded on the common terminology. But on one point there is a complete parallel between the politics of Aristotle and the politics of Austin. The Greek cities were to the rest of the world very much what European nations and European colonies are to the rest of the world now. They were the only communities in which the governed visibly took some share in the work of government. Outside the European system, as outside the Greek system, we have only the stereotyped uniformity of despotism, whether savage or civilized. The question of forms of government, therefore, belongs entirely to the European races. The virtues and defects of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy are the virtues and defects manifested by the historical Governments of Europe. The generality of the language used by political writers must not blind us to the fact that they are thinking only of a comparatively small portion of mankind.
Greek Politics.—Aristotle divides governments according to two principles. In all states the governing power seeks either its own advantage or the advantage of the whole state, and the government is bad or good accordingly. In all states the governing power is one man, or a few men, or many men. Hence six varieties of government, three of which are bad and three good. Each excellent form has a corresponding depraved form, thus :— The good government of one (Monarchy) corresponds to the depraved form (Tyranny). The good government of few (Aristocracy) corresponds to the depraved form (Oligarchy). The good government of many (Commonwealth) corre sponds to the depraved form (Democracy). The fault of the depraved forms is that the governors act unjustly where their own interests are concerned. The worst of the depraved forms is tyranny, the next oligarchy, and the least bad democracy. 1 Each of the three leading types exhibits a number of varieties. Thus in monarchy we have the heroic, the barbaric, the elective dictatorship, the Lacedemonian (hereditary generalship, crrpar^yta), and absolute monarchy. So democracy and oligarchy exhibit four corresponding varieties. The best type of democracy is that of a community mainly agricultural, whose citizens, therefore, have not leisure for political affairs, and allow the law to rule. The best oligarchy is that in which a considerable number of small proprietors have the power ; here, too, the laws prevail. The worst democracy consists of a larger citizen class having leisure for politics ; and the worst oligarchy is that of a small number of very rich and influential men. In both the sphere of law is reduced to a minim im. A good government is one in which as much as possible is left to the laws, and as little as possible to the will of the governor. The Politics of Aristotle, from which these principles are taken, presents a striking picture of the variety and activity of political life in the free communities of Greece. The king and council of heroic times had disappeared, and self- government in some form or other was the general rule. It is to be noticed, however, that the Governments of Greece were essentially unstable. The political philosophers could lay down the law of development by which one form of government gives birth to another. Aristotle devotes a large portion of his work to the consideration of the causes of revolutions. The dread of tyranny was kept alive by the facility with which an over-powerful and unscrupulous citizen could seize the whole machinery of government. Communities oscillated between some form of oligarchy and some form of democracy. The security of each was constantly imperilled by the conspiracies of the opposing factions. Hence, although political life exhibits that exu berant variety of form and expression which characterizes all the intellectual products of Greece, it lacks the quality of persistent progress. Then there was no approximation to a national government, even of the federal type. The varying confederacies and hegemonies are the nearest approach to anything of the kind. What kind of national government would ultimately have arisen if Greece had not been crushed it is needless to conjecture ; the true interest of Greek politics lies in the fact that the free citizens were, in the strictest sense of the word, self- governed. Each citizen took his turn at the common busi ness of the state. He spoke his own views in the agora, and from time to time in his own person acted as magis trate or judge. Citizenship in Athens was a liberal educa tion, such as it never can be made under any representative system.
The Government of Rome.—During the whole period of freedom the government of Rome was, in theory at least, municipal self-government. Each citizen had
1 Aristotle elsewhere speaks of the error of those who think that any one of the depraved forms is better than any other.
a right to vota laws in his own person in the comitia of the centuries or the tribes. The administrative powers of government were, however, in the hands of a bureau cratic assembly, recruited from the holders of high public office. The senate represented capacity and experi ence rather than rank and wealth. Without some such instrument the city government of Rome could never have made the conquest of the world. The gradual extension of the citizenship to other Italians changed the character of Roman government. The distant citizens could not come to the voting booths ; the device of representation was not discovered; and the comitia fell into the power of the town voters. In the last stage of the Roman republic, the inhabitants of one town wielded the resources of a world wide empire. We can imagine what would be the effect of leaving to the people of London or Paris the supreme con trol of the British empire or of France, irresistible temp tation, inevitable corruption. The rabble of the capital learn to live on the rest of the empire. 2 The favour of the effeminate masters of the world is purchased by panem ft circenses. That capable officers and victorious armies should long be content to serve such masters was impossible. A conspiracy of generals placed itself at the head of affairs, and the most capable of them made himself sole master. Under Ca3sar, Augustus, and Tiberius, the Roman people became habituated to a new form of government, which is best described by the name of CaBsarism. The outward forms of republican government remained, but one man united in his own person all the leading offices, and used them to give a seemingly legal title to what was essentially military despotism. There is no more interesting constitu tional study than the chapters in which Tacitus traces the growth of the new system under the subtle and dissimulat ing intellect of Tiberius. The new Roman empire was as full of fictions as the English constitution of the present day. The master of the world posed as the humble servant of a menial senate. Deprecating the outward symbols of sovereignty, he was satisfied with the modest powers of a consul or a tribunus plebis. The reign of Tiberius, little capable as he was by personal character of captivating the favour of the multitude, did more for imperialism than was done by his more famous predecessors. Henceforward free government all over the world lay crushed beneath the military despotism of Rome. Coesarism remained true to the character imposed upon it by its origin. The Ca?sar was an elective not an hereditary king. The real founda tion of his power was the army, and the army in course of time openly assumed the right of nominating the sovereign. The characteristic weakness of the Roman empire was the uncertainty of the succession. The nomination of a Caesar in the lifetime of the emperor was an ineffective remedy. Rival emperors were elected by different armies; and nothing less than the force of arms could decide the question between them.
Modern Governments—Feudalism.—The Roman empire bequeathed to modern Europe the theory of universal dominion. The nationalities which grew up after its fall arranged themselves on the basis of territorial sove reignty. Leaving out of account the free municipalities of the Middle Ages, the problem of government had now to be solved, not for small urban communities, but for large territorial nations. The mediaeval form of government was feudal. One common type pervaded all the relations of life. The relation of king and lord
2 None of the free states of Greece ever made extensive or permanent conquests ; but the tribute sometimes paid by one state to another (as by the ^Hginetans to the Athenians) was a manifest source of corruption. Compare the remarks of Hume (Essays, part i. 3, That Politics may be reduced to a Science), " free governments are the most ruinous and oppressive for their provinces." was like the relation between lord and vassal (see FEUDALISM). The bond between them was the tenure of land. In England there had been, before the Norman Conquest, an approximation to a feudal system. In the earlier English constitution, the most striking features were the power of the witan, and the common property of the nation in a large portion of the soil. The steady development of the power of the king kept pace with the aggregation of the English tribes under one king. The conception that the land belonged primarily to the people gave way to the concep tion that everything belonged primarily to the king. 1 The Norman Conquest imposed on England the already highly developed feudalism of France, and out of this feudalism the free governments of modern Europe have grown. One or two of the leading steps in this process may ba indicated here. The first, and perhaps the most important, was the device of representation. For an account of its origin, and for instances of its use in England before its application to politics, we must be content to refer. to Canon Stubbs s Constitutional History, vol. ii. The problem of combin ing a large area of sovereignty with some degree of self- government, which had proved fatal to ancient common wealths, was henceforward solved. From that time some form of representation has been deemsi essential to every constitution professing, however remotely, to be free, The connexion between representation and the feudal system of estates must be shortly noticed. The feudal theory gave the king a limited right to military service and to certain aids, both of which were utterly inadequate to meet the expenses of the government, especially in time of war. The king therefore hid to get contributions from his people, and he consulted them in their respective orders, The three estates were simply the three natural divisions of the people, and Canon Stubbs has pointed out that, in the occasional treaties between a necessitous king and the order of merchants or lawyers, we have examples of inchoate estates or sub-estates of the realm. The right of representa tion was thus in its origin a right to consent to taxation. The pure theory of feudalism had from the beginning been broken by William the Conqueror causing all free-holders to take an oath of direct allegiance to himself. The institu tion of parliaments, and the association of the king s smaller tenants in capite with other commoners, still further re moved the government from the purely feudal type, in which the mesne lord stands between the inferior vassal and the king.
Parliamentary Government.—The English System.—The right of the commons to share the power of the king and lords in legislation, the exclusive right of the commons to impose taxes, the disappearance of the clergy as a separate order, were all important steps in the movement towards popular government. The extinction of ths old feudal nobility in the dynastic wars of the 15th century simplified the question by leaving the crown face to face with parliament. The immediate result was no doubt an increase in the power of the crown, which probably never stood higher than it did in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth ; but even these powerful monarchs were studious in their regard for parliamentary conventionalities. After a long period of speculative controversy and civil war, the settlement of 1688 established limited monarchy as the government of England. Since that time the external form of government has remained unchanged, and, so far as legal
1 Ultimately, in the theory of English law, the king may be said to have become the universal successor of the people. Some of the pecu liarities of the prerogative rights seem to be explainable only on this view, e.g., the curious distinction between wrecks come to land and wrecks still on water. The common right to wreckage was no doubt the origin of the prerogative right to the former. Every ancient com mon right has come to be a right of the crown or a right held of the crown by a vassal.
description goes, the constitution of William III. might be taken for the same system as that which still exists. The silent changes have, however, been enormous. The most striking of these, and that which has produced the most salient features of the English system, is tie growth of cabinet government. Intimately connected with this is the rise of the two great historical parties of English poli tics. The normal state of government in England is that the cabinet of the day shall represent that which is, for the time, the stronger of the two. Before the Revolution the king s ministers had begun to act as a united body ; but even after the Revolution the union was still feeble and fluctuating, and each individual minister was bound to the others only by the tie of common service to the king Under the Hanoverian sovereigns the ministry became con solidated, the position of the cabinet became definite, and its dependence on parliament, and more particularly on the House of Commons, was established. Ministers were chosen exclusively from one house or the other, and they assumed complete responsibility for every act done in the name of the crown. The simplicity of English politics has divided parliament into two nearly equal parties, and the party in opposition has been steadied by the consciousness that it, too, has constitutional functions of high importance. Criti cism is sobered by being made responsible. Along with this movement went the withdrawal of the personal action of the monarch in politics. No king lias attempted to veto a bill since the Scotch Militia Bill was vetoed by Queen Anne. No ministry has been dismissed by the sovereign since 1834. Whatever the power of the monarch may be, it is unquestionably limited to his personal influence over his ministers. And it must be remembered that ministers are responsible ultimately, not to parliament, but to the House of Commons. Apart, therefore, from the democratic changes of 1832 and 1867, we find that the House of Commons, as a body, had gradually made itself the centre of the government. Since the area of the constitution has been enlarged, it may be doubted whether the orthodox descriptions of the govern ment any longer apply. The earlier constitutional writers, such as Blackstone and Delolme, regard it as a wonderful compound of the three standard forms, monarchy, aris tocracy, and democracy. Each has its place, and each acts as a check upon the others. Hume, discussing the ques tion "Whether the British government inclines more to absolute monarchy or to a republic," decides in favour of the former alternative. "The tide has run long and with some rapidity to the side of popular government, and is just beginning to turn toward monarchy." And he gives it as his own opinion that absolute monarchy would be the easiest death, the true euthanasia of the English constitu tion. These views of the English Government in the 1 8th century may be contrasted with Mr Bagehot s sketch of the modern government as a working instrument. 2
Leading Features of Parliamentary Government.—The parliamentary government developed by England out of feudal materials has been deliberately accepted as the type of constitutional government all over the world. Nearly all the European states and nearly all the Euro pean colonies, dependent or independent, have adopted, more or less fully, the leading features of the English system that is to say, popular representation more or less extensive, a bicameral legislature, and a cabinet or consoli dated ministry. In connexion with all of these, numberless questions of the highest practical importance have arisen, the bare enumeration of which would surpass the limits of our space. We shall confine ourselves to a few very gene ral considerations.
2 See Bagehot s English Constitution. The Two Chambers.—First, as to the double chamber. This, which is perhaps more accidental than any other portion of the English system, has been the most widely imitated. In most European countries, in the English colonies, in the United States congress, and in the sepa rate States of the Union, 1 there are two houses of legis lature. This result has been brought about partly by natural imitation of the accepted type of free govern ment, partly from a conviction that the second chamber will moderate the democratic tendencies of the first. The theoretical question would take too long to argue, but it is easy to show that the elements of the English original cannot be reproduced to order under different conditions. 2 There have, indeed, been a few attempts to imitate the special character of hereditary nobility attaching to the English House of Lords, and these few have failed. The complete solidarity existing between the English nobility and at least the politically privileged, if not the whole mass, of their countrymen, is a result not to be attempted by the framers of constitutions. The English system, too, after its own way, obviates any danger of collision between the Houses, the stmdihg and obvious danger of the bicameral system. In England there is no doubt where the real sovereignty lies. The actual ministers of the day must possess the confidence of the House of Commons ; they need not in fact they often do not possess the confidence of the Hoase of Lords. It is only in legislation that the Lower House really shares its powers with the Upper ; and the con stitution possesses, in the unlimited power of nominating peers, a well-understood last resource should the House of Lords persist in refusing important measures demanded by the representatives of the people. In all but measures of first class importance, however, the House of Lords is a real second chamber, and in these there is little danger of a collision between the Houses. There is the widest possible difference between the English and any other second chamber. In the United States the senate (constituted on the system of equal representation of States) is the more important of the two Houses, and the only one whose con trol of the executive can be compared to that exercised by the British House of Commons. In the English colonies a dead-lock between the two Houses is a matter of frequent occurrence. In France, it is an anticipated if not an in tended source of danger to the new republican constitution. The real strength of popular government in England lies in the ultimate supremacy of the House of Commons. That supremacy had been acquired, perhaps to its full extent, before the extension of the suffrage made the constituencies democratic. Foreign imitators, it may be observed, have been more ready to accept a wide basis of representation than to confer real power on the representative body. In all the monarchical countries of Europe, however unre stricted the right of suffrage may be, the real victory of con stitutional government has yet to be won. Where the suffrage means little or nothing, there is little or no reason for guarding it against abuse. The independence of the executive in the United States brings that country, from one point of view, more near to the Continental than to the English state system. The people make a more complete surrender of power to the Government than is done in England.
Cabinet Government.—The peculiar functions of the English cabinet are not easily matched in any foreign system. They are a mystery even to most educated
1 The double government in the last case was founded, says Sir G. C. Lewis, on the English municipal system, and corresponded to the difference between aldermen and common-council men.
2 Sweden, a few years since, reduced her four mediaeval estates to two houses, and is more like Great Britain in the composition of the new parliament than any other state in Europe.
Englishmen. The cabinet in England is much more than a body consisting of chiefs of departments. It is the inner council of the empire, the arbiter of national policy, foreign or domestic, the sovereign in commission. The whole power of the House of Commons is concentrated in its hands. At the same time, it has no place whatever in the legal constitution. Its numbers and its constitution are not fixed even by any rule of practice. It keeps no record of its proceedings. The relations of an individual minister to the cabinet, and of the cabinet to its head and creator, the premier, are things known only to the initiated. 3 With the doubtful exception of France, no other system of government presents us with anything like its equivalent. In the United States, as in the European monarchies, we have a council of ministers surrounding the chief of the state.
Change of Power in the English System.—One of the most difficult problems of government is how to provide for the devolution of political power, and perhaps no other question is so generally and justly applied as the test of a working constitution. If the transmission works smoothly, the constitution, whatever may be its other de fects, may at least be pronounced stable. It would be tedious to enumerate all the contrivances which this problem has suggested to political societies. Here, as usual, Oriental despotism stands at the bottom of the scale. When sovereign power is imputed to one family, and the law of succession fails to designate exclusively the individual en titled to succeed, assassination becomes almost a necessary measure of precaution. The prince whom chance or intrigue has promoted to the throne of a father or an uncle, must make himself safe from his relatives and competitors. Hence the scenes which shock the European conscience when " Amurath an Amurath succeeds." Constantinople, Afghanistan, and Burmah have all recently illustrated the standing difficulty of the succession in Oriental despotisms. The strong monarchical governments of Europe have been saved from this evil by an indisputable law of succession, which marks out from his infancy the next successor to the throne. The king names his ministers, and the law names the king. In popular or constitutional govern ments far more elaborate precautions are required. It is one of the real merits of the English constitution that it has solved this problem in a roundabout way perhaps, after its fashion but with perfect success. The ostensible seat of power is the throne, and down to a time not long distant the demise of the crown suspended all the other powers of the state. In point of fact, however, the real change of power occurs on a change of ministry. The con stitutional practice o5 this century has settled, beyond the reach of controversy, the occasions on which a ministry is bound to retire. It must resign or dissolve when it is defeated in the House of Commons, and if after a dissolution it is beaten again, it must resign without alternative. It mayresign if it thinks its majority in the House of Commons not sufficiently large. The dormant functions of the crown now come into existence. It receives back political power from the old ministry in order to transmit it to the new. When the new ministry is to be formed, and how it is to be formed, is also clearly settled by established practice. The out-going premier names his successor by recommend ing the king to consult him ; and that successor must be the recognized leader of his successful rivals. All this is a matter of custom, not of law ; and it is doubtful if any two authorities could agree in describing the .custom in
3 See Bagehot s English Constitution, which exhibits a working view of this and other parts of the constitution as they appear to an outsider. Mr Gladstone s political essays, in the collection entitled Gleanings of Past Years, contain much valuable information at first hand. language of precision. It is certain that the intervention of the crown facilitates the transfer of power from one party to another, by giving it the appearance of a mere change of servants. The real disturbance is that caused by the appeal to the electors. A general election is always a struggle between the two great political parties for the possession of the powers of government. It may be noted that recent practice goes far to establish the rule that a ministry beaten at the hustings should resign at once without waiting for a formal defeat in the House of Commons. The English custom makes the ministry dependent on the will of the House of Commons ; and, on the other hand, the House of Commons itself is dependent on the will of the ministry. In the last result both depend on the will of the constituencies, as expressed at the general election. There is no fixity in either direction in the tenure of a ministry. It may be challenged at any moment, and it lasts until it is challenged and beaten. And that there should be a ministry and a House of Commons in harmony with each other but out of harmony with the people is rendered all but impossible by the law and the practice as to the duration of parliaments.
Change of Power in the United States.—The United States offers a very different solution of the problem. The American president is at once king and prime minister; and there is no titular superior to act as a conduit -pipe between him and his successor. His crown is rigidly fixed ; unshakable for four years, after four years he ceases to reign. No hostile vote can affect his power as the head of the administration, and it is difficult to resist his will even in legislation. But the day of his demise is known from the first day of his govern ment ; and almost before he begins to reign the political forces of the country are shaping out a new struggle for the succession. Further, a change of government in America means a change of the entire administrative staff. The commotion caused by a presidential election in the United States is thus infinitely greater than that caused by a general election in England. A change of power in Eng land affects comparatively few personal interests, and absorbs the attention of the country for a comparatively short space of time. In the United States it is long foreseen and elaborately prepared for, and when it comes it involves the personal fortunes of large numbers of citizens. And yet the English constitution is more democratic than the American, in the sense that the popular will can more speedily be brought to bear upon the government.
Change of Power in France.—The established practice of England and America may be compared with the nascent constitutionalism of France. Here the problem presents different conditions. The head of the state is neither a premier of the English, nor a president of the American type. He is served by a prime minister and a cabinet, who, like an English ministry, hold office on the condition of parliamentary confidence ; but he holds office himself on the same terms, and is, in fact, a minister like the others. So far as the transmission of power from cabinet to cabinet is concerned, he discharges the functions of an English king. But the transmission of power between himself and his successor is protected by no constitutional devices whatever, and recent experience would seem to show that no such devices are really necessary. Of course it is too soon to talk about the constitutional practice in France, but this much seems clear, that some rearrangement of the relations of. the president and the cabinet must soon take place. It seems difficult to distinguish between a parlia mentary president and a parliamentary ministry, or to see why they should not stand or fall together. As yet the new French constitution has not had time to exhibit that which is a constant feature of the English constitution, viz., a government headed by the chief of the dominant political party. When that time comes the office of premier ought, one would suppose, to merge in the office of president. Possibly the existence of numerous political parties, and the open disloyalty to the existing constitution professed by some of them, may retard the simplification of the French governmental system. Other European countries professing constitutional government appear to follow the English practice. The Swiss republic is so peculiarly situated that it is hardly fair to compare it with any other. But it is interesting to note that, while the rulers of the states are elected annually, the same persons are generally re-elected.
Representation.—The questions connected with repre sentation are too numerous to be discussed with advantage here. Two recent changes of great importance may be noticed in the English system, the vote by ballot, and the partial introduction of what is called the minority vote. By the latter, in a constituency returning three members, each elector has only two votes, and a minority exceeding one-third can thus elect at least one of the three. The representation of minorities is a device of political theorists, and the chief result of its partial application has been to weaken the influence of the large constituencies. The chief anomalies of the English system are the inequality of electoral districts and the multiplicity of votes. A town of 200 electors returns as many candidates as a constituency of ten times that number. On the other hand, while one man has a single vote only, his neighbour, by various qualifications, may be an elector in several constituencies. In each case there is a revolution of the only theory on which the representative system as a whole can be founded the equality of the voters. The first of these anomalies is admittedly waiting the convenience of political parties. The second has been recently aggravated by the creation of new university constituencies, consisting almost entirely of persons who had already the right of voting under the ordinary qualification. The anomaly becomes a gross abuse in the practice of creating what are known as faggot votes. The simple remedy would be to require that each elector should be registered in one constituency only.
The Relation between Government and Laws.—It might be supposed that, if any general proposition could be established about government, it would be one establishing some constant relation between the form of a government and the character of the laws which it enforces. The technical language of the English school of jurists is certainly of a kind to encourage such a supposition. The entire body of law in force in a country at any moment is regarded as existing solely by the fiat of the governing power. There is no maxim more entirely in the spirit of this jurisprudence than the following : " The real legislator is not he by whom the law was first ordained, but he by whose will it continues to be law." The whole of the vast repertory of rules which make up the law of England the rules of practice in the courts, the local customs of a county or a manor, the principles formulated by the sagacity of generations of judges, equally with the statutes for the year, are conceived of by the school of Austin as created by the will of the sovereign and the two Houses of Parliament, or so much of them as would now satisfy the definition of sovereignty. It would be out of place to examine here the difficulties which embarrass this definition, but the statement we have made carries on its face a demonstration of its own falsity in fact. There is probably no government in the world of which it could be said that it might change at will the substantive laws of the country and still remain a government. However well it may suit the purposes of analytical jurisprudence to define a law as a command set by sovereign to subject, we must not forget that this is only a definition, and that the assumption it rests upon is, to the student of society, anything but a universal fact. From his point of view the cause of a particular law is not one but many, and of the many the deliberate will of a legislator may not be one. Sir Henry Maine has illustrated this point by the case of the great tax-gathering empires of the East, in which the absolute master of millions of men never dreams of making anything in the nature of a law at all. This view is no doubt as strange to the English statesman as to the English jurist. The most conspicuous work of government in his view is that of parliamentary legislation. For a large portion of the year the attention of the whole people is bent on the operations of a body of men who are constantly engaged in making new laws. It is natural for us, therefore, to think of law as a factitious thing, made and unmade by the people who happen for the time being to constitute parliament. We forget how small a proportion the laws actually devised by parliament are of the law actually prevailing in the land. No European country has undergone so many changes in the form of government as France. Eepublic, constitutional monarchy, and empire have there succeeded each other again and again in the course of a century. It is surprising how little effect these political revolutions have had on the body of French law. The change from empire to republic is not marked by greater legislative effects than the change from a Conservative to a Liberal ministry in England would be. These reflexions should make us cautious in accepting any general proposition about forms of government and the spirit of their laws. We must remember, also, that the classifica tion of governments according to the numerical proportion between governors and governed supplies but a small basis for generalization. What parallel can be drawn between a small town, in which half the population are slaves, and every freeman has a direct voice in the government, and a great modern state, in which there is not a single slave, while freemen exercise their sovereign powers at long intervals, and through the action of delegates and representatives 1 Propositions as vague as those of Montesquieu may indeed be asserted with more or less plausibility. But to take any leading head of positive law, and to say that monarchies treat it in one way, aristocracies and democracies in another, is a different matter. Laws affecting trade might be ex pected to depend on the more or less popular character of the government. Yet would it be safe to say that monarchy discourages, that democracy encourages, free trade? France under the empire was more free-trading than France under the republic. If there is any difference at all between Great Britain and her colonies it is that the latter are generally supposed to be more democratic than the mother country. Yet protection rules the young democracies, while free trade reigns at home. The principle has indeed been broadly laid down that oligarchical governments interfere more actively and.more extensively in the affairs of their subjects than popular governments. We shall have occasion to show directly that the popularization of government in England has up to this time been attended by a striking increase in the sphere of state action.