Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/81

This page has been validated.
65
The Virginia Convention of 1788.

stick" decides matters to suit himself. A territory knocking at the door for admission into the sisterhood of States has first to get his permission. We find the Federal Executive so far forgetting the dignity of his exalted position as to exert the weight and influence of his office in behalf of his favorites, even in the election of municipal officers in the States. Not content with these dangerous assumed prerogatives and meretricious innovations he attempts to foist "his policies" upon the nation in presuming to dictate the naming of his successor to the presidential office itself. A State cannot decide as to its public school policy without consulting him. The city of Richmond cannot regulate its street-car service, operated under a charter of its Council, without the ultimatum of a Federal judge—the ukase of an imperial order. The control of chartered corporations is no longer permissible by the power that created them. Our government is undergoing, in fact has undergone, many radical changes in its polity. The Constitution, by implication, has been interpreted and construed until it yields to interpretations with the elasticity of a rubber band. The people rule, or should rule, the country. How long will they submit to these impositions, these encroachments, these hardships? How will all this end? Some day the man on horseback may succeed to the man with "the big stick" and at his back will be the minions of his will and power. There is an increasing number of people in this country who believe that life and property would be safer under a strong than a weak government; they favor a centralized power. Our population has been vastly increased by the disorderly elements of Europe, with their inborn hate for all authority, who regard license as liberty. Universal suffrage has proven, in spite of Mr. Jefferson, the idol of Democracy, a universal curse. It may be necessary that power be concentrated in a centralized government to preserve our liberties and our property. It is a recognized and admitted fact that the law most respected and feared to-day is the Federal law; constant appeals are being made to it from the decisions of State tribunals, because it does not depend, to the same extent, on public opinion, local environments, sectional prejudices, individual sentiment as do State municipal enactments. In many communities of the different States it is impossible to convict for mob or lynch law crimes.