Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/151

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THE CONFLICT OF ADMINISTRATIONS

It is just here that the states come to play an increasingly important part. They are in fact laboratories in which industrial and political experiments can be worked out on such a scale as to determine the value of the experiment. It means the relieving of the nation as a whole from many of the pangs necessary in the growth of democracy. It means the utilization of the best that comes from such experiments and the saving to the government of the loss of time and disappointment in carrying on large enterprises. The states have, as a consequence, an important governmental function to carry out. They are not to be regarded as mere administrative units, subject to the direction and domination of a federal authority thousands of miles away, with no autonomy such as is found in the case of the departments in France; but they are rather constituent parts of the union, self-directive, and capable of maintaining their own autonomy and of carrying on their own functions within their own boundaries. To them we entrust our daily welfare, while to the federal government are turned over our collective interests. Nevertheless, they are one and the same government, each a part of its frame, working together, but separately organized. To substitute one for the other is to violate the whole principle of the federal scheme.

The conflict between the two is more apparent than real. The difficulties of the situation have been materially exaggerated, and not always without a purpose. In the early history of our nation many of the believers in state's rights took that position because of their feeling that the government would not then be in the hands of the people, but would be only representative, and to-day that same feeling exists in the demand that the federal authority be enlarged and the states reduced to minimum power in order that again the authority of the people may be hampered and limited. Much confusion of detail and of procedure clouds the issue. Underlying it all, the principle of action, both in state and federal government, is the same. The law is founded on the common law of England, and there is to be discovered to the diligent inquirer a greater uniformity than diversity. The extent of this uniformity is marvelous. From one state to another have been handed on the principles of legislation and forms of government. In one state is initiated some new phase of political organization, its propagation is carried on into another community, and little by little there moves constantly over the land an increasing uniformity of legislation. While it may be said that as a nation we are face to face with serious industrial problems over which we have no central authority, nevertheless the nation has made some progress under present constitutional provisions and the states are diligently seeking legislation from other sources that will meet the difficulty. The danger is not from this direction, nor is it likely to arise from our failure to solve the problem in a fairly satisfactory way through the utilization of both state and federal governments, but the danger, if from anywhere, is from a