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Government and Administration of the United States by Westel W. Willoughby and William F. Willoughby

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History is past Politics and Politics present History--_Freeman_




_Fellow in History_


_U.S. Department of Labor_




I. Preface

II. Government
Popular Government

III. Functions of Government

IV. Colonial Governments: Their Relation to Each
Other, and to England

V. Steps Toward Union--Articles of Confederation
New England Confederation
Albany Convention
Stamp Act Congress
First Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
Articles of Confederation
Elements Tending to Separation and to Union
Purposes of the Confederation
Scheme of Government under the Articles
Defects of the Articles

VI. Adoption of the Constitution
The Constitutional Convention
Arguments For and Against Adoption

VII. Presidential Succession

VIII. Election of Senators

IX. Congressional Government

X. Cabinet and Executive Departments
State Department
Treasury Department
War Department
Navy Department
Interior Department
Commissioner of Land Office
Commissioner of Pensions
Commissioner of Patents
Commissioner of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Education
Commissioner of Railroads
Geological Survey
Superintendent of the Census
Post Office Department
Department of Justice
Department of Agriculture
Department of Labor
Interstate Commerce Commission
Fish Commission
Civil Service Commission
Government Printing Office
National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, and Bureau
of Ethnology
Librarian of Congress

XI. The Federal Judiciary
Federal Judicial System
District Courts
Circuit Courts

XII. Ordinance for Government of the Northwest Territory

XIII. Government of Territories
Admission of a Territory as a State

XIV. State Governments
State Constitutions
State Legislatures
State Executives
State Judiciary

XV. Local Government
In New England
In the South
In the West

XVI. City Government

XVII. Government Revenue and Expenditure
Federal Government
State and Local Taxes

XVIII. Money
Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates
Silver Dollars and Silver Certificates
Subsidiary and Minor Coins
Treasury Notes
Notes of National Banks

XIX. Public Lands of the United States
Educational Grants
Land Bounties for Military and Naval Service
Land Grants to States for Internal Improvement
Sale of Public Land
Under Pre-emption Acts
Under Homestead Acts
Under Timber Culture Act
Certain Lands to States
Grants to Pacific and other Railroads

XX. Reconstruction

XXI. Party Machinery

XXII. National Conventions and Presidential Campaigns
History and Development of the National Convention
Method of Procedure

XXIII. Introduction to the Study of the History of
Political Parties in the United States

Bibliographical Note




These chapters were originally prepared for and used as a manual in the
public schools of the District of Columbia. In a revised and amplified
form they are now published as one of Johns Hopkins University Studies
in History and Politics.

The aim of this revision is to furnish assistance to students beginning
the study of the history and practical workings of our political
institutions. It is not the purpose to furnish a complete text-book upon
the government of the United States and its administration, but, by a
clear, concise statement of the salient points of our federal system,
and a description of the actual workings of the characteristic features
of our institutions, to give to the student a better understanding of
the manner in which the same are administered, than is to be obtained
from the ordinary text-books on Civil Government.

These Outlines are intended as an aid to both teacher and pupil, and for
use in a class whose members are already familiar with the leading
events and names in United States history. The work is intended to
furnish such supplementary information as can be obtained only with
great difficulty by most teachers, and which for the most part cannot be
obtained at all by the pupils.

The authors have endeavored to make prominent the fact that our present
form of government is far from being contained in the written
constitution of 1787, and consequently, that a study of that instrument
alone will give a very inadequate idea of our government as it is. The
constitution was but a foundation upon which to build a government.

Nothing like an analysis or commentary upon the constitution of the
United States is here attempted. The public is already well supplied
with books covering that ground. History proper, except as showing the
basis and reason for the establishment of our institutions, has likewise
found no place here.

The book is to be used chiefly as a manual, to supply information that
would otherwise need to be dictated by the instructor. The Outlines are
in many particulars merely suggestive. Many topics are simply mentioned,
which the teacher must elaborate and explain at greater length.

Lastly, though this book does not pretend to give a connected account of
our administration or politics, yet the subjects have been carefully
arranged in such an order as would most naturally be followed in a
course to which the work is intended to be an aid.



From the earliest times of which history furnishes authentic record, and
in all countries inhabited by man, people have found it necessary to
bind themselves together by civic regulations so that certain things may
be done by all in common--in short, to establish some form of

Now, as has always been the case, there are certain things which, from
their very nature, cannot be left to each individual to do, or not to
do, as he may choose, or to do in his own way. First of all, there is
the necessity of some means by which the weak may be protected from the
strong. The individual must be protected in his life and liberty, and
there must be some guarantee to him, that if he is industrious the
enjoyment of the product of his labor will be secured to him. Human
nature being imperfect, disputes and injustice are sure to arise. Hence
comes the necessity of some power above the citizens and able to command
their obedience, some power that can administer justice according to the
rights and not according to the strength of individuals.

To thus control the actions of individuals, this power above the
citizens, this government, must possess functions of three kinds. First,
legislative power, or power to declare the rules of conduct to which the
citizen must conform; second, judicial power, or power to interpret and
declare the true meaning of these rules, and to apply them to the
particular cases that may arise; and third, the executive power, or
power to carry into execution these laws, and to enforce the obedience
of the citizens.

To the student nothing could be more interesting and instructive, than
to trace how, as tribes and nations have progressed in civilization,
government has advanced in its development. How, as men have progressed,
first from the condition of savage hunters to the roving feeders of
flocks, then to tillers of the soil with fixed places of abode, and
finally to builders of cities teeming with trade, commerce and
manufactures; how as men have thus improved in civilization and material
well-being, their mutual duties and common interests have become more
and more important and numerous, and government as controlling these
interests and duties, has developed in form and improved in structure
until it has become an all-powerful, complex machine, controlling in
many ways the actions, and even the lives of its citizens.

For thousands of years, governments have been developing and changing in
form and functions, and a very large part of the history of the nations
of the globe is identified with the history of the development and
changes of their governments. As new conditions and needs have arisen,
governments have adapted themselves to them. In some cases this has been
done peacefully, as in England, and in others violently, by
revolutionary means, as in France. In some cases functions previously
exercised have been relinquished, in others, new powers have been
assumed; but in the majority of cases, the change has been merely in the
manner of exercising this or that power.

All peoples have not the same characteristics, nor have they developed
under the same conditions of climate, soil or situation. Different
nations have, therefore, developed for themselves different forms of
government. Yet these governments, however different in their structures
and administration, are in all cases distinctly referable to four well
defined types: Monarchy, Aristocracy, Democracy, and the Republic.
_#Monarchy.#_--A monarchy is a nation at whose head is a personal ruler,
called King, Emperor, or Czar, who has control of the government,
appoints the principal officers of state, and to whom in theory at
least, these appointees are responsible for their actions. Thus England,
Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and others are monarchies. The sovereign
holds his position for life, and usually acquires his throne by
inheritance. Where the crown is nominally elective, as in England,
kingship is practically hereditary, the regular line of descent being
departed from only upon rare occasions.

The amount of power actually exercised, the responsibility borne by the
sovereign varies widely in different countries, and upon the basis of
these differences monarchial forms of government are classified under
the two heads, Absolute and Limited Monarchies.

_#An Absolute Monarchy.#_--An absolute monarchy is one in which the
sovereign or ruler is possessed of supreme power and authority, and
controls absolutely, without limitation or interference, all the powers
of government. His word is law and requires not the sanction of the
people. His commands are absolute and require not the formality of
judicial procedure, and are not necessarily in conformity with existing
laws. Implicit obedience to his commands, however arbitrary, may be
demanded, and there is no appeal. These are, theoretically, the powers
of the absolute monarch. Practically, however, he is constrained to keep
within fair bounds of justice and good policy, lest his subjects be
goaded to rebellion and revolution. The absolute form of monarchy exists
to-day in the empires of Russia and Turkey.

_#A Limited Monarchy.#_--A limited monarchy is one in which the
ruler, though at the head of the government, is not absolute, but is
limited in his powers by the action of a body of men, selected by the
people, who make the laws by which the nation is to be governed. The
respective rights and powers of the sovereign and of the law-making
body, are determined by a collection of rules, written or unwritten,
collectively known as the constitution. The constitution contains the
fundamental law of the land. All acts of the government to be valid,
must be constitutional, that is to say, in conformity with the rules
laid down in the constitution. For this reason limited monarchies are
also known by the name of Constitutional Monarchies.

England is the most conspicuous example of a limited or constitutional
monarchy. In consideration of our former connection with her, and the
extent to which we have derived our ideas of government from her
political institutions, it will be of great assistance to us if we stop
for a moment to consider her government, before proceeding to a study of
our own.

The sovereign of England is termed King or Queen. Originally possessed
of almost absolute power, the English ruler, at the present day
possesses very little actual power and influence, much less in fact than
the people of the United States have entrusted to their President. The
constitutional history of England is largely the narrative of the
successive steps by which the people have wrested from royal hands and
taken under their own control, the powers of government.

The rights of the English people in the participation of their own
government are not contained in the written document, such as we possess
in our constitution, but rest upon established custom and precedent, and
various charters wrested from their kings.

The English Parliament, or, to speak more exactly, the lower branch of
the Parliament, called the House of Commons, rules the English people.
The Parliament or law-making branch of the English government, is
divided into two houses, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons.
The House of Lords is, as its name denotes, composed mainly of members
of the noble families of England, who owe their seat in that body to the
chance of birth. Theoretically possessed of powers of legislation equal
to those exercised by the lower and more numerous branch (the Commons),
the Lords have in reality but a small voice in the control of public
affairs. The House of Commons is composed of members elected by the
people. In this body reside almost all the powers of government. Its
acts require the assent of the House of Lords and of the King, but this
assent is almost wholly formal. The sphere of legislation allowed the
English Parliament is unlimited, differing in this respect fundamentally
from our Congress, which is limited in its legislative field by the
Constitution. From the English Parliament is selected the "Cabinet"
consisting of the principal executive officials, who guide the House in
its legislation, and at the same time conduct the executive affairs of
the nation. These ministers, as they are called, are appointed by the
king from the party in the majority in the House of Commons. They are
responsible to that body for all their actions, and retain their offices
only so long as they retain the confidence and good will of the Commons.

_#An Aristocracy.#_--An aristocracy is a government in the hands of a
select few, called the aristocracy, who transmit this authority to their
children. There are to-day no aristocratic governments proper, though
many nations exhibit aristocratic tendencies. In nearly all of the
European countries, one branch, at least, of their legislatures is
composed of members holding their seats on account of noble birth, thus
admitting the aristocratic element into their governments.

_#Democracy.#_--A pure democracy is a government in which all the people
rule directly, meeting in popular assemblies in which is determined by
the votes of the majority how the government is to be administered. This
form of government is obviously possible only in very small communities.
Several of the Grecian states governed themselves after this manner. No
perfect example of a nation with this form of government can be said to
exist at this time. The nearest approach to pure democracy is found in
certain cantons of Switzerland. The Roman historian Tacitus tells us
that the early Germans governed themselves in a purely democratic
manner, and the first governments of several of our American colonies
were of the democratic type. When we come to the study of local
government in the United States we shall see the democratic form
followed in the New England Town Meetings.

_#Republic.#_--A republic is a democracy adapted by means of the
introduction of the representative principle, to the government of a
large and widely separated people. Under this form of government the
people rule themselves, not directly, as in a democracy, but through
agents or representatives of their own selection. The participation of
the people in their own government consists therefore merely in the
choice of officers to represent them and carry out their wishes. There
exist at present several republics, the tendency seeming to be for
nations to approach more nearly this form of government. France has
been, since 1870, the best European example of a republic. Our own
government--the United States of America--is to us the most interesting
and important example of a republic.

_#Popular Government.#_--By the word 'popular' is meant, of or by the
people, and by popular government is to be understood a government in
the administration of which the people as a whole participate. Every
change by which new and greater political powers are given into the
hands of the common people is considered a step towards the full
realization of popular government. During the last one hundred years
great strides have been made in this direction by all European nations
except Turkey and Russia. The extent to which this movement towards
popular control of government can be safely and successfully carried is
a question of very great importance. To a very large extent it depends
upon the intelligence, previous training, and natural political ability
of the people who are to be entrusted with their own government.


The Functions of Government.

Broadly speaking, the functions performed by government are of a
threefold order: the establishment, interpretation, and enforcement of
laws. A division of government into three branches is thus called for:
the legislative, the judicial and the executive. The manner in which
these departments are related to each other, the extent to which they
are vested in the same hands, and the degree in which they are separate
from each other and independent in their workings, differ in different
countries. In England, as we have seen, the executive and legislative
functions are closely united. In our government, as we shall see when we
come to consider its structure, complete independence of the three
departments has been aimed at.

All statesmen agree that a good government should possess ample power to
interpret its own laws, and sufficient strength to fully enforce them.
When we come, however, to the question of what are the proper subjects
for control by government, and what for free management by individuals,
we reach a subject upon which writers and thinkers have been unable to

Under the great question, over how broad a field it is expedient and
right to extend the activities of government, are embraced many of the
great topics at present agitating the public mind. Difference upon this
point has been one of the underlying causes of the existence of
political parties in the United States, and has furnished one of the
real springs of our history. Communism, socialism, and anarchy, may be
embraced under this question. This it is that makes the study of the
principles of government, especially in the United States, so important
to every one who would understand the political life around him, and be
able to form an intelligent decision upon the questions of the day.
Shall the nation or the state own and manage the railroads, the
telegraph lines, and the canals? Shall education receive the support of
the state? Shall the employment of women and children in mines and
factories be regulated by law? Shall the city own its own street
railways, its markets, its water and gas supply, its telephones, and its
water fronts? Shall this or that duty be delegated to the city or to the
state, or shall it be left to the chance performance of individuals or
corporations? These are some of the many questions of supreme importance
that meet us at every point, and the better we understand the true
nature and structure of our government, the better shall we be able to
give intelligent answers.

Among the many functions of government, there are many so obviously
necessary to the existence of a nation, however organized, that there is
no discussion concerning the expediency of their exercise by the state.
We may, therefore, group governmental duties under two heads: the
necessary, and the optionable; or, as Professor Wilson has named them,
the _Constituent_ and the _Ministrant_.[1] Under the first head is
embraced all those functions which _must_ exist under every form of
government; and under the second title those "undertaken, not by way of
governing, but by way of advancing the general interests of society."
The following is Professor Wilson's classification:

_#I. The Necessary or Constituent Functions.#_--

(1). The keeping of order and providing for the protection of
persons and property from violence and robbery. (2). The fixing of
the legal relations between man and wife, and between parents and

(3). The regulation of the holding, transmission, and interchange
of property, and determination of its liabilities for debt or for

(4). The determination of contract rights between individuals.

(5). The definition and punishment of crime.

(6). The administration of justice in civil causes.

(7). The determination of the political duties, privileges, and
relations of citizens.

(8). Dealings of the state with foreign powers; the preservation of
the state from external danger or encroachment, and the advancement
of its intellectual interests.

_#II. Optional or Ministrant Functions.#_

(1). The regulation of trade and industry. Under this head we must
include the coinage of money, and the establishment of standard
weights and measures, laws against forestalling, engrossing, the
licensing of trades, etc., as well as the great matters of tariffs,
navigation laws, and the like.

(2). The regulation of labor.

(3). The maintenance of thoroughfares, including state management
of railways, and that great group of undertakings which we embrace
within the comprehensive terms 'Internal Improvements,' or 'The
Development of the Country.'

(4). The maintenance of postal and telegraph systems, which is very
similar in principle to (3).

(5). The manufacture and distribution of gas, the maintenance of
water-works, &c.

(6). Sanitation, including the regulation of trades for sanitary

(7). Education.

(8). Care of the poor and incapable. (9). Care and cultivation of
forests and like matters, such as stocking of rivers with fish.

(10). Sumptuary laws, such as 'prohibition' laws.

Under this second head have been included by no means all of the
functions whose exercise by the government has been attempted or
proposed, but they show the principal ones, and serve to indicate the
nature of the optional field of governmental activity.

[Footnote 1: Wilson, _The State_, Section 1232.]


Colonial Governments; Their Relation to Each Other, and to England.

To understand clearly the early history of our country; to appreciate
the reasons for the grievances of the colonists against their mother
country; and to gain an intelligent idea of the events of that most
critical period of our history, when the colonies, then free, were in
doubt as to the nature of the federal government they should adopt;
properly to understand all these facts, it is of essential importance
that we should gain a correct knowledge of the condition of the colonies
during those times, their relations to one another, their governmental
connection with and attitude towards England.

The thirteen American colonies, which in 1775 dared defy the might of
Great Britain, and which in a stubborn struggle were able to win their
independence, were settled at various times, and by colonists actuated
by widely different motives. At the time of the beginning of their
resistance to the oppressive acts of their mother country, they were, in
their governments, entirely separate from and independent of each other.
"Though the colonies had a common origin, and owed a common allegiance
to England, and the inhabitants of each were British subjects, they had
no direct political connection with each other. Each in a limited sense,
was sovereign within its own territory.... The assembly of one province
could not make laws for another.... As colonists they were also excluded
from all connection with foreign states. They were known only as
dependencies. They followed the fate of their mother country both in
peace and war.... They could not form any treaty, even among themselves,
without the consent of England."[1]

[Footnote 1: Story's _Commentaries on the Constitution_, Vol. I, p.

All the colonies did not bear the same relation to the English
government. Owing to the different manner in which the right of
settlement, and occupancy of the soil had been obtained from the king,
the colonies had obtained different rights of government, and were
placed under different obligations to the crown. There came thus to be
three types of colonial governments; the provincial or royal, the
proprietary, and charter governments.

_#I. Provincial Colonies.#_--Those colonies which possessed a provincial
form of government were royal colonies, being governed almost entirely
by England, as she governs many of her colonies to-day. At the head of
each was a Governor appointed by the King of England. He was assisted by
a council, also appointed by the king. The constitution and laws for
this form of government were contained in the commission and instruction
given to the Governor by the English government. By them the Governor
was empowered to summon a representative assembly. The legislative body
consisted, then, of the Governor, his council, appointed by the king,
and a lower house elected by the people. The Governor had the right of
veto, and the power to dissolve the assembly. The legislature could make
laws, provided they were not repugnant to the laws of England. These
laws were subject to the approval of the Crown. The governor, with the
advice of his council, could erect courts, appoint judges, levy forces,
etc. From the highest courts in all the colonies an appeal lay to the
English King in Council.

_#II. Proprietary Colonies.#_--The English King often gave to
individuals large tracts of land in the New World. In addition to
ownership of the soil, was given in many cases the right to establish
civil government. These proprietors had all the inferior royalties and
subordinate powers of legislation. The proprietor could appoint or
dismiss the governor, he could invest him with the power to convene a
legislature, with power to veto its acts according to his wishes, and to
perform all other powers of a governor. All laws made, those of Maryland
excepted, were subject to the approval of the English Crown.

_#III. Charter Colonies.#_--Colonies under this form of government were
so called from their possessing constitutions for their general
political government. These written constitutions were charters obtained
from the King, in which were granted to the people of the colony certain
privileges and rights of self-government which the English government
could not justly take away from them. One of the unjust acts that did
much to arouse the colonists to resistance, was the attempt of the
English government in 1774, to annul the charter of Massachusetts by the
Regulation Act. In this act was contained a precedent that (as Curtis
says) "justly alarmed the entire continent, and in its principle
affected all the colonies, since it assumed that none of them possessed
constitutional rights which could not be altered or taken away by an act
of Parliament." The charters were very liberal, granting almost entire
self-government. As in the royal colonies, the executive was a governor,
and the law-making branch a legislature of two houses.

In Massachusetts the governor was appointed by the Crown, and had a veto
power. The Council or upper branch of the legislature was chosen
annually by the lower house, but the governor had a right of veto on
their choice. The lower house was elected by the people. In Connecticut
and Rhode Island the governor, council, together with the assembly were
chosen annually by popular vote, and all officers were appointed by
them. In these two the governor had no right of veto, and the laws
before going into execution did not require the royal approval.

Seven of the original colonies began under proprietary governments--New
York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North and South Carolina, Maryland and
New Jersey. Of these, four--New York, New Jersey, North and South
Carolina--became eventually provincial colonies, and Maryland was at one
time a proprietary.

Three of the colonies, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, were
settled under charters that were never surrendered. Three others,
Virginia, Georgia and New Hampshire possessed charters for a while, but
eventually became royal colonies.

Notwithstanding these diversities of government that have been pointed
out, there were many features common to all the colonies. All considered
themselves dependencies of the British Crown. All the colonists claimed
the enjoyment of the privileges and rights of British-born subjects, and
the benefit of the common law of England. The laws of all were required
to be not repugnant to, but, as nearly as possible, in conformity with
the laws of England. In all the colonies local legislatures existed, at
least one branch of which consisted of representatives chosen by the

The general condition of the colonies at the time of the outbreak of the
Revolutionary War, so far at least as concerns their governments, has
now been given. What were the grounds upon which the colonists justified
their resistance to the acts of English government?

In the first place, they claimed that their rights were received from,
and their allegiance was due to the King, not to the Parliament. The
colonists said the King was the only tie that bound them to England;
that Parliament was composed of representatives from England alone, and
therefore had powers of legislation only for England. Later, however, it
was conceded that in matters of general interest to the whole United
Kingdom, Parliament might exercise control, but that concerning all
matters of domestic and internal interest, and of concern only to
themselves, it was the right of their own legislatures to legislate, and
that under this head came taxation.

Says Story:[1] "Perhaps the best summary of the rights and liberties
asserted by all the colonies is contained in the celebrated declaration
drawn up by the Congress of nine colonies assembled at New York in
October, 1765 (Stamp Act Congress). That declaration asserted that the
colonists 'owe the same allegiance to the Crown of Great Britain that is
owing from his subjects born within the realm, and all due subordination
to that august body, the parliament of Great Britain,' That the
colonists 'are entitled to all the inherent rights and liberties of his
(the King's) natural born subjects within the kingdom of Great Britain.
That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the
undoubted rights of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but
with their own consent given personally or by their representatives.'
That the 'people of the colonies are not, and from their local
circumstances cannot be represented in the House of Commons of Great
Britain. That the only representatives of these colonies are persons
chosen by themselves therein; and that no taxes ever have been or can be
constitutionally imposed upon them but by their respective legislatures,
and that trial by jury is the inherent and invaluable right of every
British subject in these colonies.'"

[Footnote 1: _Commentaries_, Vol. I, p. 175.]

In opposition to these views, the English government held that
Parliament had the authority to bind the colonies in all matters
whatsoever, and that there were no vested rights possessed by the
colonies, that could not be altered or annulled if Parliament so

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, complete independence was not
claimed by the colonies. It was not until July 4, 1776, that they were
driven to a declaration of full and entire independence and
self-government. By this declaration the colonies threw off their
colonial character, and assumed the position of states. This they did by
simply taking into their own hands the powers previously exercised by
the English King and Parliament. In the state constitutions which many
colonies formed during the year, their old colonial forms of government
were closely followed. Connecticut and Rhode Island, in fact, merely
declared their allegiance to England absolved, and retained unchanged
their old charters as their fundamental law. In Connecticut no other
state constitution was adopted until 1818, nor in Rhode Island until


Steps Toward Union.--Articles of Confederation.

Previous to 1774 the thirteen English colonies in America had had no
political or governmental connection with each other. Any attempt on
their part to unite without the consent of the English King or
Parliament would have been considered an act beyond their powers and as
insubordination towards the English government.

_#New England Confederation.#_--In 1643 there was formed a union of the
four colonies of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Plymouth, and Massachusetts
Bay, termed the "New England Confederation," which lasted forty years;
but this was merely a union for mutual protection against their common
foes, the French, the Dutch, and the Indians, and not for joint
legislation or government. It was a defensive alliance.

_#The Albany Convention._#--(Franklin's Plan.) In 1754, however, there
was held a meeting of the colonies of New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, called
the "Albany Convention," in which was proposed a union of all the
colonies under one government. Benjamin Franklin, the chief promoter of
this scheme, drew up an elaborate constitution which was to be adopted.
According to this plan there was to be a chief executive, elected by the
king, and a council of 48 members, to be chosen by the legislatures of
the several colonies. This scheme failed to obtain either the consent of
the king or of the colonies themselves. It was too much of a union to
suit the king, and not enough for the colonies. _#The Stamp Act
Congress.#_--The indignation aroused by the attempt of England to tax
her colonies without allowing them a voice in the Parliament which
imposed such taxes, gave rise in 1765 to a meeting of delegates from
eight of the colonies. This assembly was called the "Stamp Act
Congress." The obnoxious Stamp Act was repealed, but England continued
to impose other taxes.

_#First Continental Congress.#_--An invitation was sent out by Virginia
to all the colonies, calling a meeting of delegates to consider what
could be done by their united action to resist their common grievance.
Thus met the "First Continental Congress" in 1774, in which all the
colonies but Georgia were represented. This Congress adopted a
declaration of rights and grievances. The colonies maintained that as
long as they were unrepresented in the English legislature (Parliament),
taxes should be imposed only by their own legislatures; also, that they
were entitled to the rights, liberties, and immunities of free,
natural-born subjects within the realm of England.

_#The Second Continental Congress.#_--On May 10, 1775, assembled the
Second Continental Congress, in which all the thirteen colonies were
represented. The battle of Lexington had then been fought, and blood had
been shed. Though the colonies had as yet no intention of throwing off
all connection with England, they were now prepared to resist with arms
any invasion of their rights. The work performed by this body has been
concisely and forcibly stated by Schouler.[1] He says: "Thus originated
that remarkable body known as the Continental Congress, which, with its
periodical sessions and frequent changes of membership, bore for fifteen
years the symbols of Federal power in America; which, as a single house
of deputies acting by Colonies or States, and blending with legislative
authority, imperfect executive and judicial functions, raised armies,
laid taxes, contracted a common debt, negotiated foreign treaties, made
war and peace; which, in the name and with the assumed warrant of the
thirteen colonies, declared their independence of Great Britain, and by
God's blessing accomplished it; which, having framed and promulgated a
plan of general confederation, persuaded these same thirteen republics
to adopt it, each making a sacrifice of its sovereignty for the sake of
establishing a perpetual league, to be known as the United States of
America, a league preserved until in the fullness of time came a more
perfect Union."

[Footnote 1: _Hist. U.S._, Vol. I, p. 13.]

The acts of this Congress were the _first legislative acts by the joint
action of the colonies_.

The Second Continental Congress was essentially a revolutionary body.
That is to say, the authority for its acts rested upon no definite grant
of powers by the colonies, but was assumed by it to meet the crisis of
war. Properly speaking, it could hardly be called a government. It was
more in the nature of a directing advisory committee. Its commands
possessed a recommendatory character only, and it was entirely without
executive officers, or legal control over either individuals or the

_#The Articles of Confederation.#_--A stronger central power than that
afforded by the Continental Congress was seen to be a necessity.
Accordingly, in 1777, there was drawn up a scheme of union embraced in a
paper termed "The Articles of Confederation." These articles, though
adopted as early as 1777, did not go into effect until 1781, the
provision being that they should not be considered as in force until
ratified by _all_ the colonies, and several refused to ratify until all
state claims to western territory were relinquished in favor of the
National Government.

_#Elements Tending to Separation and Those Tending to Union.#_--We must
remember that this was a union of thirteen previously separate colonies.
The facts which had tended to keep them apart had been the difficulty of
travel and communication between the colonies, the lack of commercial
intercourse, but more than all, their local jealousies. The small States
feared the larger; commercial jealousies were very keen. In 1756 Georgia
and South Carolina actually came to blows over a dispute as to the
navigation of the Savannah river. Other disputes about boundaries were
frequent. Colonies with good harbors and seaports desired to keep the
benefits of them exclusively to themselves. At that time, too, the
people of the thirteen colonies were far more widely separated in their
forms of government, their industrial habits and social customs than
they now are. On the other hand, the old facts which tended to urge on a
common union between them were common race, language, and nationality,
many similar political institutions, and, most of all, common interests
and a common peril.

_#The Purposes of the Confederation.#_--The purposes of this
Confederation are best stated by giving Article III of the Articles:

"The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship
with each other for their common defense and security of their liberties
and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each
other against all force offered to or attacks made upon them, or any of
them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretext

_#Scheme of Government under the Articles of Confederation.#_--The
Articles of Confederation established a framework of government for the
confederated colonies, which government was to control those matters
that experience had shown could be executed only by united action. As a
scheme of government it was no better than a makeshift. It was an effort
to form a federal power without diminishing the powers of the States--an
effort "to pare off slices of state government without diminishing the
loaf." That such a union could be perpetual, as the scheme professed,
was impossible.

Under these Articles of Confederation the sole functions of the federal
authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, were vested in a
Continental Congress, consisting of a single house of delegates, who
voted by States, and were appointed annually in such a manner as the
respective States directed. Each State was entitled to not less than two
nor more than seven delegates, a majority of whom decided the vote of
the State in question. The executive functions were largely performed by
a Committee of States, which was empowered to sit during recesses. For
all important measures the vote of every State was required. The vote of
all thirteen was required for an amendment.

_#Defects of the Articles of Confederation.#_--In this scheme of union
there were many fatal defects. The principal of these defects were--

1. The want of some compulsory means of enforcing obedience to the acts
of Congress. The articles provided neither an executive power nor a
national judiciary worth mentioning. As one writer has said: "Congress
could declare everything, but do nothing." A single colony could with
impunity disregard any decree of the Congress.

2. The large vote required to pass all important measures.

3. The absence of the right to regulate foreign commerce, and make
duties uniform, and to collect those duties. This defect, as we shall
find, was one of the most vital, and more than any thing else decreed
the failure of the practical working of the Confederation, and showed
the necessity of a better and stronger National government.

4. The virtual impossibility of amendment. Since a unanimous vote was
required, the selfish interest of one State could, and did, stand in the
way of an amendment beneficial and necessary to the other twelve.

5. There was no power to enforce treaties. Foreign countries recognized
this, and therefore refused to enter into any treaties with us.
Washington said: "We are one nation to-day, and thirteen to-morrow. Who
will treat with us on such terms."

England refused to carry out the conditions of the treaty of 1783, and
continued to keep troops on our Western borders.

6. The central authority had insufficient power to control disputes
arising between the States.

7. The lack of a Federal judiciary.

8. Lack of power to collect taxes, or to raise revenue to defray even
the ordinary expenses of government. This was the most striking and
important defect of them all. The whole power given to Congress under
this head was the power "to ascertain the sum necessary to be raised for
the service of the United States, and apportion the rate or proportion
on each State." The collection of such taxes was left to the States
themselves, and if they refused (as they frequently did) the Federal
Government had no power to compel them.

Our present better government was "wrung from the grinding necessities
of a reluctant people."

_#Adoption of the Constitution.#_--Actual hostilities ceased in 1781. In
1783 peace with England was declared, and the independence of the
colonies was achieved. The war left the American people with an empty
treasury, and a country drained of its wealth and impoverished by the
exhaustive struggle. It left us with a large national debt, both to our
own citizens and friends abroad, and most of all, left us with an army
of unpaid patriotic soldiers. And no sooner had foreign danger been
removed than domestic troubles arose which filled all with gloomy
forebodings for the future. With the loss of that cohesive principle
which common danger supplied them, the colonies now began to fall apart.
Even during the progress of the war the weakness of the Union had shown
itself. Washington unhesitatingly declared that it was the lack of
sufficient central authority that caused the prolongation of the war.
One instance will show how weak was the Federal authority. During the
summer of 1783, when Congress was at Philadelphia, some eighty deserters
from the army so threatened Congress as to force a removal of our
Federal capital from that place to Princeton. The Continental finances
were in a deplorable condition. Congress could not even collect
sufficient taxes for the payment of the interest on the public debt. The
States could, and often did, refuse to pay their proportion of taxes
imposed upon them by Congress. Congress made a last attempt, in 1785, to
raise a revenue by a tax on imported goods, but this measure failed, New
York refusing to ratify. Congress, indeed, did not collect one-fourth of
her demands. Commerce was going to ruin. England refused to allow our
country the rich trade with the West Indies. To these troubles were
added the mutual jealousies and selfishness of the States. Each of them
tried to attract commerce to itself, and passed laws hurtful to the
other States.

The people in Massachusetts were in insurrection. The French minister
wrote to his country: "There is now no general government in America--no
head, no Congress, no administrative departments."

For all these evils the limited and imperfect powers conferred upon the
Federal Government by the articles of Confederation afforded no adequate
remedy. Even the Constitutional Congress was now in danger of breaking
up. States, to save expense, neglected to send delegates, and repeated
appeals had to be made to get representation from nine States so as to
pass important measures. A better union was seen by all thoughtful
citizens to be necessary, but very difficult to obtain, owing to
inter-state differences. The idea of having a convention separate from
the Congress, whose work should be the framing of a stronger government,
gradually gained ground.

The Constitutional Convention was obtained in a roundabout way, and only
after repeated failures. The first attempt to obtain an assembly of
representatives was made at Annapolis, Maryland. Only five States sent
representatives, and the convention accordingly adjourned to
Philadelphia, where in May, 1778, delegates from all the States, except
Rhode Island, finally assembled.


Adoption of the Constitution.

_#The Constitutional Convention.#_--Fifty-five delegates were present.
With scarcely an exception they were all clearheaded, able, and moderate
men. Virginia sent Washington, Madison, Edmund Randolph; Pennsylvania
sent Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and James Wilson; New York sent
Alexander Hamilton; New Jersey, Patterson; and South Carolina, the two
Pinckneys. Washington was chosen President of the Convention. Two rules
were adopted: 1st, proceedings were to be secret, and 2d, one vote was
to be given to each State, thus making it of no importance whether a
State had a large or small delegation.

Though the delegates had thus assembled to form a better and new union,
they differed widely in their views as to what changes were necessary,
and as to what powers should be given to the Federal Government, and
what retained by the States. Some desired merely a change of the
existing Articles of Confederation, more power being granted, however,
to the Federal Government; while others wished for an entirely new

The convention at once divided into two parties. The one representing
the small States, such as New Jersey and Delaware; and the other, the
larger States, such as Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. The plan
brought forward by the party of the large States was that presented to
the convention by Edmund Randolph, of Virginia, and generally known as
the National or Large State Plan. This plan proposed a congress of two
houses, having power to legislate on all National matters, and to compel
obedience on the part of the States. Representation in both houses was
to be based on population, thus giving to the larger, and more populous,
States the control of both branches of the legislature; and, also, since
by this scheme the president, executive officers, and judges were to be
appointed by Congress, control of the whole administration of the new

On behalf of the small States, Patterson, of New Jersey, introduced what
is called the New Jersey plan. By this plan the old Federal Congress was
to be continued with its single house of legislature, and equal State

The great point upon which the two plans differed, was as to how
representation in the legislature should be apportioned among the
States; whether it should be according to population, and with two
houses, or whether there should be but one house, in which each State
should have an equal vote. The question was settled by a compromise. It
was agreed that there should be a legislature of two houses, a Senate or
upper and less numerous branch; and the House of Representatives, the
popular and more numerous lower branch. In the Senate each State was to
have an equal representation, thus putting the large and small States on
an equal footing. On the other hand, in the House of Representatives
representation was to be according to population, thus favoring the
larger States.

Another point upon which the convention differed was concerning the
slave trade; whether it should, or should not, be allowed to continue.
This question was also compromised, it being agreed to permit its
continuance for twenty years (until 1808), after which all importation
of slaves might be prohibited.

Yet another point in dispute was whether the slaves should, or should
not, be counted in estimating the population of the States, in order to
determine the number of representatives to which each State should be
entitled. This likewise was compromised. It was agreed that five slaves
should be counted equivalent to three white men.

These three main points being settled by compromises, other parts of the
government, such as a single chief executive, a Federal judiciary, and
the decision as to what powers should be given to the President, what to
the Senate, and what to the House, were more easily arranged, and the
convention adjourned September 17, 1787, having been in session a little
over four months. Thus was prepared the Constitution under which we are
now living--an achievement declared by Guizot to be the greatest work of
its kind, and by Gladstone to be the greatest work ever struck out at
one time by the hand of man.

The Constitution having been agreed to in convention, it was now
submitted to the vote of each of the colonies for acceptance. It was
decided in this convention that it should be considered as ratified, and
should go into effect as soon as accepted by nine of the thirteen

The adoption or rejection of the Constitution now became a question
which claimed the entire attention of the States, and it is during this
contest that we find the origin of the first political parties in the
United States. Those favoring the adoption of the Constitution were
called "Federalists" and those opposing it "Anti-Federalists."

_#Arguments For and Against Adoption.#_--The Federalist party was
composed of those men who were desirous of a strong central government,
and for this reason favored the Constitution. This party was especially
strong in New England, largely because New England, being the commercial
part of the colonies, had had the lamentable weakness of the old
confederation brought home to them the more forcibly by the
disorganization and loss of commerce which the Continental Congress had
been unable to regulate.

The Anti-Federalists were those who wished the State governments to be
kept strong, and that there should be a comparatively weak central

The argument used by the Federalists for the adoption of the
Constitution was, that only by correcting all those defects of the
Confederation which have been pointed out, could order and prosperity be
restored to the country. They said that the Constitution, being a series
of compromises, could not please everyone in all respects, but that it
was the best that could be obtained under the circumstances. Their
arguments appeared in a remarkable collection of eighty-five essays,
called the "Federalist," written by Alexander Hamilton in company with
John Jay and James Madison. In these were explained all the points of
the Constitution, and to this day they remain the best exposition of the
Constitution ever written.

The objections raised by the Anti-Federalists were many. In the first
place, it was of course objected that it gave to the central government
too much power; that state government and State liberty would be crushed
out. The State was then as dear to the citizen as is the National
Government to us to-day. Patriotism was then devotion to the State. The
colonists had suffered so much from control over their state governments
by an outside strong government, that they were fearful of again putting
themselves under a strong national government though of their own
making. In warning terms it was declared it would be a government
founded upon the destruction of the governments of the several States.
They said, "Congress may monopolize every source of revenue, and thus
indirectly demolish the State governments, for without funds they cannot
exist." These elements of State love and jealousy of the Federal power
are of the utmost importance in studying our history. We see them
running through all our life as the main causes of division between
political parties. (See later chapter on "Introduction to History of
Political Parties.")

Another objection was, that the Constitution contained no definite "bill
of rights" recognizing and guaranteeing fundamental personal liberties,
such as freedom of speech, liberty of the press, assurance against
unjust arrest, the right to bear arms, and trial by jury in civil cases,
etc. This class of objections was satisfied by the adoption of the first
ten constitutional amendments. It was also claimed by those opposed to
the ratification, that inasmuch as the Constitution placed no limit to
the number of terms which a President might serve, one man might become
so powerful as to obtain a life-tenure of office, and thus the
government would degenerate into a monarchy. To show how exaggerated
were the fears during this critical period of our history, we have the
report that it was actually claimed and believed by many at that time
that the Federalists had the secret intention of inviting over to our
country some European prince who should rule as king. Patrick Henry
cried, "We shall have a king; the army will salute him monarch." Though
not fixed by the Constitution, it has been since the time of Washington
the invariable rule that no man shall be elected for more than two
terms. The friends of President Grant attempted to have him nominated
for a third time, but so strong was this prejudice that, popular as he
was at that time, the plan failed.

For nine months the struggle was wagered fiercely in the States, but the
Federalists prevailed. In June, 1788, the ninth State ratified, and
adoption was assured. Congress fixed the first Wednesday in January for
the election of presidential electors, the first Wednesday in February
for the meeting of the electors and election of the President, and the
first Wednesday in March, 1789, for the inauguration of the President
and the beginning of the new government. This last date fell upon the
4th of March, which date has from that time served as the day for the
inauguration of our presidents. Owing to a delay in the assembling of
the new Congress, Washington was not inaugurated, nor our present
government instituted, until April 30, 1789.

Thus was founded our present government, which has stood the test of a
century. When adopted there were thirteen States; now there are
forty-four. The inhabited area was then the narrow strip between the
Atlantic Ocean and the Allegheny Mountains, with a population of
scarcely 3,000,000. Now the United States stretches 3,000 miles from
ocean to ocean, and contains a population of over sixty millions.


Presidential Succession.

The provisions of the Constitution regarding the Presidential
succession, in case of the death or resignation of both President and
Vice-President, are: "In case of the removal of the President from
office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the
powers and duties of the said office, the same devolve on the
Vice-President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of
removal, death, resignation, or inability both of the President and
Vice-President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and
such officer shall act accordingly until the disability be removed or a
President shall be elected." (Article II, section 6.)

In pursuance of the power thus granted to it in the last half of this
section, Congress in 1792 passed an act declaring that in case of the
death, resignation, etc., of both the President and Vice-President, the
succession should be first to the President of the Senate and then to
the Speaker of the House.

This order was changed by the act of 1886, which provided that the
succession to the presidency should be as follows:

1. President.
2. Vice-President.
3. Secretary of State.
4. Secretary of the Treasury.
5. Secretary of War.
6. Attorney-General.
7. Postmaster-General.
8. Secretary of the Navy.
9. Secretary of the Interior.

In all cases the remainder of the four-years' term shall be served out.
This act also regulated the counting of the votes of the electors by
Congress, and the determination of who were legally chosen electors.

Note.--The Constitution made no provision in case of a contested
election, or when no one should be elected. Such a contingency seemed to
have been overlooked in the framing of the Constitution.


Election of Senators.

The provisions of the Constitution regarding the election of senators
were as follows: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of
two senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six
years; and each senator shall have one vote." (Article I, section 3,
paragraph 1.) "The times, places, and manner of holding elections for
senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the
Legislature thereof, but the Congress may at any time by law make or
alter such regulations, except as to the places of choosing senators."
(Article I, section 4, paragraph 1.)

Until 1866 this matter was left entirely to the States, as permitted by
the section of the Constitution just given. In that year an act was
passed by the Federal Congress regulating the election of senators by
the State Legislatures. By it was provided that the Legislature of each
State, which is chosen next preceding the expiration of the term of
either of their senators, shall on the second Tuesday after assembling
elect a senator in the following manner: Each House shall by open ballot
(_viva voce_) choose some man for senator, and he who receives a
majority of the total number of votes cast in such House is entered on
the journal of that House. At noon on the following day the members of
the two Houses convene in joint assembly, and the journal of each House
is then read, and if the same person has received a majority of the
votes of each House he is declared duly elected senator. But if not, the
joint assembly then proceeds to choose by a _viva voce_ vote of each
member present, a person for senator, and the person who receives a
majority of all the votes of the joint assembly--a majority of all the
members elected to both Houses being present and voting--is declared
duly elected. If no person receives such a majority on the first day,
the joint assembly meets at noon on each succeeding day during the
session of the Legislature, and takes at least one vote until a senator
is elected. In case of a vacancy occurring in the Senate during the
recess of the State Legislature, the governor appoints a man to fill the
place, his appointee holding until a successor shall be chosen in the
above method by the State Legislature.

In the House, when vacancies happen in the representation from any
State, the Governor issues an order for a new election in the
congressional districts in which such vacancies occur. The
representatives thus elected hold office for the unexpired terms of
their predecessors.


Congressional Government.

The Constitution created Congress and conferred upon it powers of
legislation for national purposes, but made no provision as to the
method by which these powers should be exercised. In consequence
Congress has itself developed a method of transacting its business by
means of committees.

The Federal Legislature consists of two Houses--the Senate, or Upper and
less numerous branch, and the House of Representatives, or the Lower and
more numerous popular branch.

The Senate is composed of two members from each State elected by the
state legislatures for a term of six years, one-third of whom retire
every two years. The presiding officer is the Vice-President. Early in
each session, the Senate chooses a President _pro tempore_, so as to
provide for any absence of the Vice-President, whether caused by death,
sickness, or for other reasons.

The House of Representatives is at present composed of 332 members and
four delegates from the Territories. These delegates, however, have no
vote, though they may speak. The House is presided over by a speaker,
elected at the beginning of each session. A quorum for business is, in
either House, a majority.

Congress meets every year in the beginning of December. Each Congress
lasts two years and holds two sessions--a long and a short session. The
long session lasts from December to midsummer. The short session lasts
from December, when Congress meets again, until the 4th of March. The
term of office then expires for all the members of the House, and for
one-third of the Senators. The long session ends in even years (1880 and
1882, etc.), and the short session in odd years (1881 and 1883). Extra
sessions may be called by the President for urgent business.

In the early part of the November preceding the end of the short session
of Congress, occurs the election of Representatives. Congressmen then
elected do not take their seats until thirteen months later, that is, at
the reassembling of Congress in December of the year following, unless
an extra session is called. The Senate frequently holds secret, or, as
they are called, executive sessions, for the consideration of treaties
and nominations of the President, in which the House of Representatives
has no voice. It is then said to sit with closed doors.

An immense amount of business must necessarily be transacted by a
Congress that legislates for nearly sixty-three millions of people,
inhabiting a territory of over three and a half millions of square

Lack of time, of course, prevents a consideration of each bill
separately by the whole legislature. To provide a means by which each
subject may receive investigation and consideration, a plan is used by
which the members of both branches of Congress are divided into
committees. Each committee busies itself with a certain class of
business, and bills when introduced are referred to this or that
committee for consideration, according to the subjects to which the
bills relate. Thus, for example, affairs relating to Washington are
handed over to what is known as the District Committee, a regular
appropriation bill to the Committee on Appropriations, etc. These
committees consider these bills carefully, frequently taking the
testimony of outside persons to discover the advisability of each bill.
The regular course through which a bill has to go before becoming an
act--_i.e._, to pass both houses and receive the signature of the
President--is as follows: On Mondays there is a roll-call of the States,
and members may then introduce in the House or Senate any bill they may
desire. These bills are then referred by the presiding officer to
appropriate committees. These committees, meeting in their own separate
rooms, debate, investigate, and, if necessary, as has been said, ask the
opinion of outside persons. After such consideration bills are reported
back to the House or Senate. But very few bills reach this stage, for
the committee does not get time to report any save the more important
ones, and thus the majority of them disappear, or, as the saying is,
"are killed in committee." If a bill receives the approval of the
committee it is favorably reported to the Senate or House, as the case
may be--_i.e._, the bill is returned, accompanied by a report advising
the passage of the accompanying bill. If the bill is not approved by the
committee, an unfavorable report is made; bills are seldom passed after
such an adverse report. These reports which accompany the bills, are
printed, often at great length, giving reasons for the proposed action
in regard to the bills. When reported by the committee back to the house
in which it was introduced, a bill is voted upon, and, if passed, is
sent to the other branch. If passed there, it is ready for the
President's signature; if vetoed, the bill is lost, unless passed over
the veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses. But frequently one house,
while not wishing to defeat a measure sent to it from the other house,
may desire to change it by some amendment. If this is done, the bill, as
amended, is sent back to the house from which it came, and if then
agreed to as amended by it, it is sent to the President for his
approval. Thus by repeated amendments it may pass to and fro between the
House and Senate several, times. In the House of Representatives, many
bills are passed through all their various stages by a single vote, by
what is known as a "suspension of the rules," which may be ordered by a
two-thirds vote.

The Senate is now divided into between fifty and sixty committees, but
the number varies from session to session. The principal committees are
those on (1) Foreign Relations, (2) Privileges and Elections, (3)
Judiciary, (4) Commerce, (5) Finance, and (6) Appropriations. The Senate
selects the members for the different committees by ballot, though it is
pretty well determined beforehand how each committee shall be
constituted by means of party caucuses (informal meetings of members of
the same party to determine upon lines of action that will be supported
by all). A committee is always composed of an odd number of members, and
both political parties are always represented on every committee, though
the majority is, in almost all cases, from that party which has the
majority of the members of the Senate.

The House of Representatives is organized into sixty committees,
ranging, in their number of members, from thirteen down. As regards
party representation, their constitution is similar to that of the
Senate Committees. The Committee of "Ways and Means," which regulates
customs duties and excise taxes, is by far the most important.

Other important committees are those on (1) Elections, (2)
Appropriations, (3) Judiciary, (4) Foreign Affairs, (5) Manufactures,
(6) Commerce, (7) Labor. Every Representative is on one committee, and
most of them on several. Unlike the custom in the Senate, in the House
the presiding officer has the sole power of appointment, which makes
him, next to the President, the most important and powerful government
official. The chairman of each committee has, of course, a large power
over affairs with which his committee is concerned, and for this reason
it is often said that it is the chairmen of these committees who rule
the land.

The precise amount of effective work done by Congress during the two
sessions of the Fiftieth Congress was as follows: There were 4,000 bills
introduced in the Senate and 145 Senate joint resolutions: of this
number 1,127 bills and joint resolutions passed the Senate, and 554 were
either postponed indefinitely or referred to the Court of Claims, so
that the total number on which final action was taken by the Senate was
1,681. The committee on enrolled bills examined 667 Senate bills and
joint resolutions and sent them to the President and 591 became laws,
the number of vetoes, including "pocket vetoes," being 76.

The House of Representatives passed 1,561 House bills and sent them to
the Senate, and the Senate passed 1,347 of them, leaving 214 to perish.
The House passed 56 House joint resolutions and the Senate passed all of
them but eight. The House passed, therefore, 2,284 House and Senate
bills, and the Senate passed 2,522.

The first session of the Fifty-first Congress (1889-90) was, with one
exception, the longest ever held.[1] During the session there were
introduced in the House 12,402 bills and joint resolutions, and in the
Senate 4,570, making a total of 16,972. The total number of acts passed
was 1,335 as against 1,790 for _both_ sessions of the Fiftieth Congress.
Of these 881 were pension bills.

[Footnote 1: The longest session was the long session of the Fiftieth

Congress ordinarily assembles at noon, and remains in session until 4 or
5 p.m., though towards the end of the term it frequently remains in
session until late in the night. The first thing upon assembling in the
morning is prayer. On Mondays, as stated, there is next a roll-call of
States for the introduction of bills. Sometimes a committee is
instructed to prepare and bring in a bill of its own, without waiting to
have one introduced and referred to it. Reports from committees are
heard during morning hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and on
Mondays after the introduction of bills. Friday is a day usually set
apart for the consideration of private measures. On Saturdays Congress
seldom sits.

There is still one feature of Congressional government which needs
explanation, and that is the caucus. A caucus is the meeting of the
members of one party in private, for the discussion of the attitude and
line of policy which members of that party are to take on questions
which are expected to arise in the legislative halls.

Thus, in Senate caucus, is decided who shall be members of the various
committees. In these meetings is frequently discussed whether or not the
whole party shall vote for or against this or that important bill, and
thus its fate is decided before it has even come up for debate in


The Cabinet and Executive Departments.

We have seen that the functions of government are divided into three
distinct classes, the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. The
Constitution provides as to the methods for the exercise of the first
two, but none for the third. The only reference in the constitution to
executive departments is in Art. II, Sec. 2, where the President is
given the power to require the opinion in writing of the principal
officer in each executive department upon any subject relating to the
duties of his office. The departments have in each case been created by
an act of Congress and from time to time as convenience has demanded.

The duties of the executive are to enforce and apply the laws of the
nation after they are made by the legislature and interpreted by the
courts. This is the real business of government, by which the laws are
put into effect, and the work of government is actually carried on. In
the United States Government this power is placed in the hands of a body
of men distinct from the legislative and judicial officers. At the head
is the President, and hence his title of "Chief Executive." It is
evident that he must divide up the vast amount of work to be done, and
delegate it to others. Congress directs how this shall be done. For this
purpose Congress has created nine executive departments (1)State,
(2)Treasury, (3)War, (4)Navy, (5)Interior, (6)Post Office, (7)Justice,
(8)Agriculture, (9)Labor.

These departments have been created as required by the growth of
government duties. Three departments, the State, Treasury and War, were
created by the first Congress, in 1789. By the same Congress was created
the office of Attorney-General of the United States, who, together with
the Secretaries of the three departments, constituted President
Washington's first cabinet. The Navy Department was added in 1798. Prior
to that date, naval affairs had been managed by the War Department. A
Post Office for the colonies was established by the Postal Act of Queen
Anne's reign. The Post Office Department under the present government
was established in 1789, but the Postmaster-General did not become a
Cabinet officer until 1829. The Interior Department was created in 1849
by grouping together in one department several branches of the
government service, which had formerly been distributed among the other
departments. As early as 1839 the Patent Office, under the Interior
Department, was intrusted with various duties concerning the
agricultural interests of the country, among the chief of which was the
distribution of seeds. In 1862 a separate Department of Agriculture was
established, and these duties transferred to it. In 1889 the head of the
Department became Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and a
Cabinet officer. A Bureau of Labor under the Interior Department was
created in 1884. In 1888 Congress constituted it a separate department,
but did not make its head a Secretary, and therefore not a Cabinet

The heads of the first eight of these departments together form a
council of eight, called the "Cabinet," whose duty it is, in addition to
the management of the departments, to advise the President on matters of
importance. For this purpose regular meetings are held, at which the
affairs of government are discussed, and lines of action decided upon.
The cabinet is neither the creation of the constitution, nor strictly of
law. The existence of a cabinet, however, was always taken for granted
in the discussion and formation of the constitution. It is a creation of
custom and has no powers other than of advice and counsel to the
President. The growth of executive and administrative business is not
fully indicated by the increase in the number of departments. The growth
within each department has been much greater. Separate bureaus and
divisions have been created, which in some cases are, for all practical
purposes, as independent and important as the departments themselves.

The organization of all the different departments is much the same. At
the head of each is an officer appointed by the President, the President
thus having control generally over the whole executive business of the
government. These officers are called Secretaries, except in the cases
of the Post Office Department, whose head is the Postmaster-General, and
of the Department of Justice, whose head is the Attorney-General. In a
number of the Departments there are also one, two, three or four
assistant secretaries, according as the business of the departments
requires. For convenience in the despatch of business, the departments
are divided into bureaus, the bureaus into divisions, and the divisions
into rooms, until, finally, the individual workers--the clerks--are
readied. Each bureau and division has at its head an officer called
Commissioner and Chief of Division, respectively. Each department and
bureau, and, in some cases, the division also, has a Chief Clerk who has
charge of the details of the administration, and immediate oversight
over the clerks.[1] All work in one finely organized system. The clerk
is responsible to his chief of division, the chief of division to his
commissioner, the commissioner to the Secretary and he, finally, to
Congress. Each man has his particular place in the system, and no one
works at random.[2]

[Footnote 1: There are a number of officials and clerks who properly
belong to no division or bureau, as, for instance, the librarian's
private secretary and other clerical assistance in the Secretary's
office, who are under his immediate supervision.]

[Footnote 2: This system is not always carried out perfectly in
practice. In some cases an officer is termed commissioner who is more
properly a chief of division, and _vice versa_. In other cases the title
of commissioner or chief of division is represented by a more technical
designation as Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Comptroller of
the Currency, etc.] The President and heads of departments appoint all
officers in the executive departments. It is manifestly impossible for
them to base their appointments upon personal knowledge. Hence has
arisen the custom of filling almost all offices not controlled by the
Civil Service Commission upon the recommendation of congressmen, each of
whom controls for the most part the patronage of his own district. Only
the Secretaries, Assistant Secretaries, Commissioners, and other chief
officials are really appointees of the President on his own

Prior to the first administration of Jackson the positions of government
clerks in the departments were permanent. In 1828 Jackson inaugurated
the so-called spoils system, which means that to the victor belongs the
spoils. Only 74 removals had been made from 1789 to 1828. Jackson
removed during the first year of his administration 2,000 clerks. Since
then, until 1883, each party, on gaining control of the government, has
removed almost all the clerks in office who were of the opposite
political faith, replacing them with members of its own party. In 1883
was passed the Civil Service Act, by which it is provided that all
future appointments of subordinate clerks in the executive departments
are to be made only from those who have passed successfully an
examination set by the Civil Service Commission created by the act.

_#The State Department.#_--The Department of State was the first
department established. (Act of July 27, 1789.) There are three
Assistant Secretaries. Their salaries are, Secretary $8,000, First
Assistant $4,000, and the other two $3,500. The department is divided
into seven bureaus, (1) Diplomatic, (2) Consular, (3) Archives and
Indexes, (4) Accounts, (5) Statistics, (6) Rolls and Library, and (7)

The Secretary of State is charged, under the direction of the President,
with the duties appertaining to correspondence with the public ministers
and consuls of the United States, and with the representatives of
foreign powers accredited to the United States; and to negotiations of
whatever character relating to the foreign affairs of the United
States. He is also the medium of correspondence between the President
and the chief executive of the several States of the United States; he
has the custody of the great seal of the United States, and countersigns
and affixes such seal to all executive proclamations, to various
commissions, and to warrants for pardon, and the extradition of
fugitives from justice. He is regarded as the first in rank among the
members of the Cabinet. He is also the custodian of the treaties made
with foreign states, and of the laws of the United States. He grants and
issues passports. Exequaturs to foreign consuls in the United States are
issued through his office. He publishes the laws and resolutions of
Congress, amendments to the Constitution, and proclamations declaring
the admission of new States into the Union. He is also charged with
certain annual reports to Congress relating to commercial information
received from diplomatic and consular officers of the United States.

The patronage of the Secretary at Washington is small, about sixty
clerks, but that which concerns the diplomatic and consular service is
important. To facilitate communications and negotiations with foreign
nations, and to protect the interests of American citizens in foreign
countries, the United States, in common with all civilized nations, has
an elaborate system of representatives residing at the capitals of all
the principal nations. This system is called the diplomatic service, and
is under the charge of a separate bureau of the State Department.
Communications and negotiations with foreign powers are generally
carried on through them or through ministers of other nations stationed
at Washington. These agents are called ministers and are of three grades
(1) envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary, (2) ministers
resident, (3) _charges d'affaires_. These grades correspond to the lower
grades of similar services in European countries. We have no grade
corresponding to that of ambassador. The United States has ministers in
about thirty-three countries. The chief legations are those of Great
Britain, France, Germany and Russia. The salary attached to each of
these legations is $17,500. The social demands upon ministers are great,
and, as a rule, the expenses of ministers have been more than their
salaries. Ministers of foreign powers receive a much larger compensation
than do ours.

To protect our commercial interests abroad, and our seamen and vessels
in foreign ports, the United States has agents resident in all foreign
sea-ports of any prominence. Their duties are numerous. They ship
seamen, certify invoices, take testimony, examine emigrants, etc. They
transmit to the State Department monthly reports concerning any matter
of commercial or social interest occurring at their stations. These
reports are published monthly by the department and have a wide
gratuitous circulation. This system is called the consular service; and
is also under the charge of a separate bureau. These agents, called
consuls, are of three ranks and titles; (1) consul-generals, (2)
consuls, (3) consular agents, of whom 180 are salaried, the rest being
paid by fees. The names of the other bureaus indicate the nature of the
duties performed by each.

The Department of State has been prominently before the people during
the last two years in consequence of the Pan-American Congress,[1]
composed of representatives from all American nations. This congress met
in 1889, under the auspices of the State Department at Washington, to
consider subjects of common interest, such as international arbitration,
railroad and steamship communication, uniform money and commercial
regulations. Various standing committees and commissions were provided
for; and it is believed that through their efforts better commercial and
social relations with the South American Republics will be established.
The International Marine Conference, composed of representatives from
all marine powers, likewise met at Washington under the auspices of the
same department, and adopted a code of marine regulations for the
guidance of all nations.

[Footnote 1: The Proceedings of the Pan American Congress were published
by the Department of State, and also in the _Tribune Monthly_ for
September, 1890. Articles upon the subject _lay_ Mr. Romero, the Mexican
Minister, appeared in the _North American Review_, September and
October, 1890.]

In foreign relations the department has been chiefly
occupied of late in the attempted settlement of the right of the English
and Canadians to capture seals in Bering's Sea and Straits, and of the
rights of American and English fishermen[1] in the fishing grounds off
the coast of New Foundland; in the conclusion of a new extradition[2]
treaty with England, and of various treaties concerning trade with other

[Footnote 1: See _Tribune Monthly_ entitled "Our Continent, or America
for the Americans."]

[Footnote 2: An excellent monograph upon the subject of Extradition, by
Hon. J.B. Moore, has been published by the State Department.]

_#The Treasury Department.#_--This department was created by act of
September 2, 1789. There are two assistant secretaries. The department
is divided into a large number of divisions, with the following chief
officers: (1) The Comptrollers, (2) the Auditors, (3) Treasurer, (4)
Register, (5) Commissioner of Customs, (6) Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, (7) Comptroller of the Currency, (8) Chief of the Bureau of
Statistics, (9) Superintendent of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
(10) Director of the Mint, (11) Superintendent of the Life Saving
Service, (12) Supervising-Surgeon-General of the Marine Hospital
Service, (13) Supervising-Inspector-General of Steam Vessels. Other
officers are, the Supervising Architect, Commissioner of Navigation,
Solicitor of the Treasury, and Chairman of the Light House Board.

The mention of the various divisions indicates the importance and
variety of the duties coming under this department. The Secretary is
charged with the entire management of the national finances. He submits
annually to Congress estimates of the probable revenues and
disbursements of the Government, prepares plans for the improvement of
the revenue and for the support of the public credit, and superintends
the collection of the revenue. Two comptrollers pass upon all claims
against the government and accounts received from the auditors. Six
auditors examine and adjust accounts relating to the expenditures of the
various branches of the government.

The Treasurer of the United States receives and keeps its moneys,
disburses them on the Secretary's warrants, and manages the Independent
Treasury System. The Independent or Sub-Treasury System was adopted by
Congress in 1846. By this means the Treasury Department is independent
of the banking system of the country; but has established sub-treasuries
in the principal cities of the Union for the receipt and disbursement of
public moneys. There are sub-treasuries in New York, San Francisco,
Saint Louis, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and
Cincinnati. For greater convenience moneys are also deposited at certain
designated banks. Secretary Windom, however, began rapidly removing such
deposits from the banks and announced his intention to cease the placing
of deposits with any bank.

The Register of the Treasury is the official book-keeper of the United
States. The Commissioners of Customs and of Internal Revenue have charge
respectively of the collection of customs duties and internal revenue
taxes. The Comptroller of the Currency has control of the national
banks. The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics collects and publishes the
statistics of our foreign commerce. In the Bureau of Engraving and
Printing are designed, engraved and printed all government bonds,
national bank notes, drafts, United States notes, etc., for which work
about 1200 persons are employed. The director of the Mint has general
supervision over all mints and assay offices. In addition to his annual
report he publishes yearly a report on the statistics of the production
of precious metals.

The titles of the other officers indicate the general duties of each.
The whole department employs about 3,400 persons at Washington.

Some of the more important public questions coming within the province
of the Treasury Department at the present time are (1) the Tariff, which
has been settled for some years by the high tariff act of this Congress;
(2) the silver question involving the gravest questions of finance,
likewise settled for a time by the silver act of this Congress; (3) the
purchase of bonds on the market as a device to reduce the surplus and
prevent the accumulation of money in the Treasury; (4) the national
banking system, whose basis is being removed by the rapid payment of the
public debt; (5) the merits of the Independent Treasury System by which
it is claimed that money is kept out of circulation and a stringency
caused in the money market; and (6) the advisability of transferring the
revenue marine service to the Navy Department.

_#The War Department.#_--The War Department was established August 7,
1789. There is one assistant secretary. The chiefs of the bureaus into
which the department is divided, are officers of the United States Army,
and a part of the military establishment. Their titles and duties are as
follows. The Adjutant General of the Army, who has under him a large
force of clerks, has the duty of issuing orders, conducting the
correspondence of the department, and keeping the record. The
Inspector-General inspects and reports upon the condition of the army at
all points, and the accounts of the disbursing officers. The
Quartermaster-General has charge of the clothing, quarters, and
supplies, except food supplies, which form the province of the
Commissary-General. The Surgeon-General has charge of the medical
department, of the Army Medical Museum, and a special library. The Chief
of Engineers has charge of the construction of fortifications, etc. The
Judge-Advocate-General reviews the proceedings of courts-martial, and
advises the Secretary on points of law. There are also a
Paymaster-General, a Chief of Ordnance, and a Chief Signal Officer. The
Chief Signal Officer has charge of the system of communicating with
distant points by means of various systems of signals, the most
noteworthy of which is that of the heliograph, by which information is
conveyed by the use of sun-reflecting mirrors. Communication has been
established between points 125 miles distant by means of a heliograph
with a reflecting surface of but twenty square inches.

The War Department answers more nearly than any other to the Department
of Public Works found in other governments. All public improvements, the
construction of docks, bridges, and the improvement of rivers and
harbors, are under the supervision of army engineers. All arctic
explorations and the explorations of our western territory, have been
conducted by army officers under the direction of the Secretary of War.

The publication of war records is being made by a special board in the
War Department. Thirty-five volumes have been published. It is estimated
that there will be one hundred and nineteen volumes when the work is
completed. The Secretary of War also has charge of the Military Academy
at West Point, of certain national parks, and homes for disabled

The army is commanded by a lieutenant-general under whom are three
major-generals and six brigadier-generals. It consists of about 26,000
men distributed in the three divisions of the Missouri, the Atlantic,
and the Pacific, of which the first contains four departments, the
second, one, and the third, three. Congress appropriates and expends
through the War Department $400,000 yearly on the National Guard for its
armament and equipment. The aggregate of this reserve army regularly
organized and uniformed is 106,500 men. The Secretary also details army
officers to furnish military instruction at various colleges.

The principal questions to-day concerning the War Department are the
advisability of strengthening our coast defences, and the lessening of
the desertions in the army, which amount yearly to from ten to fifteen
per cent, of the total strength of the army.

_#The Navy Department.#_--The Navy Department was established April 30,
1798. There is one assistant secretary. The routine work of the
department is distributed among eight bureaus: (1) of Yards and Docks,
(2) of Equipment and Recruiting, (3) of Navigation, (4) of Ordinance,
(5) of Construction and Repair, (6) of Steam Engineering, (7) of
Provisions and Clothing, (8) of Medicine and Surgery. The chiefs of the
bureaus are officers of the United States Navy. There is a hydrographic
office attached to the bureau of navigation, which prepares maps, charts
and nautical books relating to navigation, and makes investigations
concerning marine meteorology. This Department has charge of the Naval
Observatory for which a new set of buildings is now being built at
Washington. The Department publishes yearly, for the guidance of seamen,
the nautical almanac, the preparation of which is intrusted to a
separate bureau. The department also compiles and publishes naval
records of the recent war, and has charge of the Naval Academy at
Annapolis, Maryland. The Officers of the Navy upon the active list
include one admiral, one vice-admiral, six rear-admirals, and ten
commodores. The naval force includes 10,000 officers and men, together
with 2,000 marines. The number of vessels of the United States Navy when
all the ships now authorized are completed, excluding those which by the
process of decay and the operation of law will by that date have been
condemned, will comprise 11 armored and 31 unarmored vessels. The five
stations maintained are the Asiatic, European, North Atlantic, South
Atlantic, and Pacific. The chief matter of present public interest
concerning this department is the creation of a new navy by the
construction of modern steel vessels. This new policy was begun in 1882.

_#The Interior Department.#_--The Interior Department was created in
1849, to take charge of various duties not properly belonging to any of
the existing departments. There are two assistant secretaries. The
chiefs of the bureaus into which this department is divided, and their
respective duties are as follows: _The Commissioner of the General Land
Office_ has charge of all the public land of the government, its care,
supervision, and sale or distribution. In another chapter we give
further details concerning the operations of this important bureau.

_The Commissioner of Pensions_ has charge of the granting of pensions to
old soldiers and sailors. He has a large force at Washington. There are
eighteen pension agencies in different parts of the country. In 1808 the
United States assumed all the state pension obligations. The act of 1818
gave pensions to all who had served nine months in the Revolutionary
War; other wars were afterwards included. The acts of the period
beginning 1862 have enormously increased the amount paid. The report of
the Commissioner for 1890 shows that at the close of the fiscal year of
1889 the number of pensioners was 537,944, and the annual expenditures
for pensions $105,528,180.38.

The disability pension law passed June 27,1890, will greatly lengthen
the pension list and increase the annual expenditures. The present
Commissioner says in his last report that "it is believed that there are
probably over one hundred thousand claims in this office which can be
properly allowed under the provisions of these regulations. The act of
June 27, 1890, is the first disability pension law in the history of the
world which grants to soldiers and sailors pensions for disabilities
which are not proven to have been incurred in the service and in line of
duty." Speaker Reed of the House characterized it as "the most generous
piece of pension legislation ever passed by any nation on earth."

_The Commissioner of Patents_ has charge of the granting of patents. Up
to 1793 the granting of letters-patent was given to a board consisting
of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War and the Attorney General,
the records and models being kept in the Department of State. In 1793
the granting of patents was given exclusively to the Secretary of State.
In 1821 the clerk of the State Department who examined applications for
patents received the title of Superintendent of the Patent Office, and
on July 4, 1836, the Patent Office was created as a separate bureau and
a Commissioner of Patents created.

About 24,000 patents are issued annually. There is an Assistant
Commissioner-in-chief, an Examiner of Interferences, three
Examiners-in-chief, thirty-eight Principal Examiners, and a large force
of assistant examiners for different branches. Patents run for seventeen
years. The annual receipts of the bureau from fees more than equal the
expenditures, and the office now has a surplus of several millions to
its credit in the Treasury.

_The Commissioner of Indian Affairs_ has charge of all matters
concerning the Indians, their education, government and support. There
are 239 Indian schools supported by appropriations made by Congress, 147
of which are controlled directly by the Indian Bureau. The average
attendance of pupils at these schools is between eleven and twelve
thousand. The number of Indians in our country (not counting those of
Alaska) is about 250,000. They occupy or have control of about
116,630,106 acres.

_The Bureau of Education_ was originally established as an independent
Department by act of Congress, approved by the President March 2, 1867.
By an act of Congress which took effect July 1, 1869, this Department
was changed to an Office or Bureau in the Interior Department. The
duties of this Bureau are to collect and diffuse information regarding
schools, methods of instruction and school discipline, etc., and
otherwise to promote the cause of education. The results of the
investigations here carried on, though with a small clerical force, are
of the utmost value to all educators, and such is the extent to which
the merit of the work and publications of this office are recognized by
the leading educators of the country, that, in their opinion, the Bureau
should be re-established as a department, and its chief be made a member
of the President's cabinet. The publications of the Bureau consist of
(1) _Annual Reports_, which set forth statistics and general information
concerning the educational systems of the States, Territories, larger
cities, universities, and colleges; professional, special, and
scientific schools, academies, preparatory schools and kindergartens,
with a summary of the progress of education in foreign countries; (2)
_Special Reports_, on subjects pertinent to the times; (3) _Occasional
Bulletins_, on matters of current educational interest; (4) _Circulars
of Information_, on important questions of educational work or history,
which are issued in yearly series. Under this last title there is now in
course of publication a very valuable series of monographs upon the
History of Higher Education in the various States. These monographs are
being prepared by competent scholars under the editorial supervision of
Dr. H.B. Adams of the Johns Hopkins University. Numerous Annual Reports
have been issued, and one is now in press, for the year 1889-90. The
working force of the Bureau is divided into three divisions: (1)
Records; (2) Statistics; (3) Library and Museum. The library of this
Office contains one of the most valuable pedagogical collections in the

_The Commissioner of Railroads_ has charge of the government's interests
in certain railroads to which the United States has granted loans of
credit or subsidies in lands or bonds. By the acts of July 1, 1862, and
July 1, 1864, Congress, in order to encourage the building of a
trans-continental railroad, granted to several Pacific railroad
companies subsidies in land adjacent to the roads, and issued certain
amounts of bonds on which was guaranteed interest at the rate of six per
cent. The amount of lands given and bonds issued were in proportion to
the number of miles of road constructed. The lands were a gift. The
bonds were to be repaid by the companies with all interest which might
have been advanced by the government. From 1850 to 1872 the various
railroads received a total of 155,504,994 acres of lands, and
$147,110,069 proceeds of bonds and interest paid by the United States.
The roads have repaid of this amount $36,723,477, leaving at the present
time due from the roads to the United States the sum of $110,386,592.
This they will be unable to pay upon the maturity of the bonds, and a
bill has been before Congress for several sessions looking towards a
better adjustment of this debt. The Commissioner of Railroads was
originally styled the "Auditor of Railroad Accounts." The office was
created June 19, 1878.

_Geological Survey_.--This branch of the Interior Department was
established in 1879. Its work is the investigation and determination of
the geological structure of the various sections of the country, the
composition of soils, the reclamation of waste lands, etc. In this
bureau are made topographical surveys and irrigation surveys of arid
regions of the United States. The publications connected with this work,
number ten Annual Reports, thirteen Monographs, fifty-eight Bulletins
and five Statistical Papers. In these there is a discussion of the
geological structure of every state and territory, and information
concerning the occurrence and production of each great metallic and
mineral staple of the country. The bureau comprises one geographical,
twelve geological, six paleontological and four accessory divisions. A
division of mines and mining publishes an annual report on the mineral
resources and production of the United States.

_The Superintendent of the Census._--The Superintendent of the Census is
appointed each decade for the purpose of taking the regular decennial
census. The Eleventh Census has just been taken. The first was taken in
1790. Each census has shown a tendency to be more elaborate and to
embrace a greater number of subjects than any preceding. There were
employed in the taking of the Eleventh Census 42,000 enumerators, 2,000
clerks, from 800 to 900 special agents, 175 supervisors and 25 experts.

In addition to these eight bureaus, the department has charge of various
other branches of government. All of the territories come under the
Secretary's supervision, and look to him in case of any difficulty. The
Secretary also has charge of the Yellowstone National Park, the Hot
Springs Reservation in Arkansas, and of certain hospitals and
eleemosynary institutions in the District of Columbia. A Superintendent
of Public Documents looks after the receipt, distribution, and sale of
government publications.

The most important subjects of recent legislation concerning this
department have been the dependent pension act, the act providing for
the survey of Western lands suitable for irrigation, and the land
forfeiture act. By this act over 8,000,000 acres of lands were forfeited
by the railroads for failure to fulfill the conditions under which the
land was originally granted to them.

_#The Post Office Department.#_--The Post Office Department was
established in 1789, but the Postmaster-General did not become a cabinet
officer until 1829. The Postmaster-General has charge and management of
the department, and of the domestic and foreign mail service. He can
establish post offices and appoint postmasters of the fourth and fifth
classes, i.e. those whose salaries are less than $1,000. These number
over 50,000. The total number of postoffices is about 56,000. The
President appoints to those of the first three classes. Other officers
besides the Assistant Postmasters-General are, the Superintendents of
the Money Order Division, of Foreign Mails, and of the Railway Service,
and an Assistant Attorney-General for the department.

The United States is a member of the Universal Postal Union, of which
most, if not all, of the civilized countries are members. The central
office is known as the International Bureau of the Universal Postal
Union, and is conducted under the superintendence of the Swiss Postal
Administration, and its expenses are borne by all the nations composing
the Union. The revenues of the Post Office Department nearly equal the
expenditures, and would have exceeded them before this but for the fact
that as soon as the amount of receipts has warranted, improvements have
been made in the service, through the reduction of postage rates and
the extension of the free delivery system. It has never been the policy
of the government to make this department a source of revenue.

The patronage of the postoffice department is the most important of any
of the departments, and it is very largely for this reason that the
Postmaster-General is a member of the Cabinet. Crawford of South
Carolina secured in 1820 the passage of an act limiting the term of
office of postmasters to four years. The appointment of postmasters does
not come under the Civil Service Act. It is the principal aim of civil
service reformers, that postmasters should be appointed under its
provisions. The most important questions of public policy concerning
this department, are the reduction of postage rates on letters to one
cent; the advisability of the establishment of a postal telegraph
service; the extension of the free delivery system, and the relation of
the department to the civil service regulations.

_#The Department of Justice.#_--The office of the Attorney-General of
the United States was established in 1789; the Department of Justice not
until 1870. The Attorney-General gives advice upon legal points to the
President and also, when requested to do so, to the heads of
departments. He directs the cases of the United States and sometimes
appears in them, especially in the Supreme Court. He supervises the
United States Marshals and District Attorneys. His substitute and
principal assistant is the Solicitor-General. There are two
Assistant-Attorneys-General, the business of the one being connected
with the Supreme Court, and of the other with the Court of Claims. There
are also, as mentioned before, certain legal officers attached to the
other departments. Additional counsel is frequently employed to assist
in the argument of important cases. To the Attorney-General belongs the
duty of recommending persons to the office of judges, etc., in the
United States Circuit and District Courts.

_#The Department of Agriculture.#_--The Department of Agriculture was
organized as a separate department in the year 1862. In 1889 its head
became a cabinet officer. There is one Assistant Secretary. The duties
of the Secretary are to promote in every way the agricultural interests
of the country. For this purpose the department is separated into
thirteen bureaus, under the following officers (1) the Entomologist, (2)
Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry, (3) Chemist, (4) Botanist, (5)
Chief of the Section of Vegetable Pathology, (6) Statistician, (7)
Ornithologist, (8) Director of the Office of Experiment Stations, (9)
Microscopist, (10) Pomologist, (11) Chief of the Forestry Division, (12)
Chief of the Seed Division, and (13) Weather Bureau. The enumeration of
these titles indicates the general nature of the work of the department.
Here are investigated the habits of injurious insects and birds and the
best means for their destruction; the causes of and remedies for
vegetable and fruit diseases. The Chief of the Bureau of Animal Industry
inspects herds of cattle and causes to be slaughtered those suffering
from a contagious disease. Under a law passed in 1890, he also inspects

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