Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/153

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THE CONFLICT OF ADMINISTRATIONS

one studies the situation, the more one is impressed with the fact that the relations between the states and the federal government can be strengthened rather than weakened by the passage of laws on the part of congress which will set forth the conditions under which business concerns can enjoy the privileges of carrying on their traffic between the different states, allowing the regulations to be developed by the commonwealth. It might be argued that this would still retain the worst features of present conditions, without discrimination and with lack of uniformity. But an examination of the laws of the states will confirm the impression that the states are very rapidly taking over those regulations and laws which have been proved by the test of time to be satisfactory and efficient. Any limitations of the authority of a state like Wisconsin, where under the direction of an underlying public sentiment much progress has been made in working out a number of highly efficient methods of dealing with serious questions, would be unwise. It is very doubtful if the same progress could have been made by the federal government through the medium of legislation by congress.

The people of this country are interested in efficient administration. They are not insistent upon either federal or state authority as such. "What they want to see is progress in dealing with some of our serious national questions. But history proves that when a nation tries to cover too large a field and through its national legislative body to deal in detail with local questions, it fails to accomplish the result that was expected. In America we have a very fortunate division of functions, at some points weak, but on the whole a satisfactory division of authority. To push the states down into the position of mere administrative units would result in the weakening of the whole plan of government and in a probable inefficiency because of the distance from central authority in dealing with governmental matters.

Our attitude, then, in this great question of the conflict of administrations should be that of seeking for the full utilization of both federal and state authority, for the elimination of friction between them, and for the securing of an adequate working plan by which both can be used to the best advantage. We are a nation of one people, believing distinctly in the federal form of government. It remains, therefore, for us to insist upon a clear understanding as to the functions of the federal government and a larger realization of the fact that the states are carrying the burden of the expense and difficulties of local problems, and that interference on the part of the federal government is likely to result in an increasing weakness of authority rather than a strengthening of government.

A century and a quarter have passed since the creation of the republic in 1787; the indissoluble union so fervently hoped for by the father of his country is now an accomplished fact; though the regard for jus-