Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

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

Part 2 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

all cattle and meat intended for export to foreign countries. He
investigates causes of and remedies for cattle diseases, the best method
of breeding, etc. The Statistician publishes monthly and annual reports
concerning statistics of the condition, prospects and harvests of the
principal crops, the wages of farm labor, etc. The Chemist analyzes
fertilizers, soils, etc. By the act of March 2, 1887, $15,000 per annum
was appropriated by Congress to each of the States and Territories which
have established an agricultural college or an agricultural college
department, for the establishment of experiment stations. The Department
of Agriculture has general oversight over these stations.

The Department carries on experiments regarding the feasibility of
profitable silk reeling in this country, for which purpose there is a
separate division; it also makes experiments in the manufacture of sugar
from sorghum and from beets grown in this country. The best qualities of
seeds are tested and distributed gratuitously among the farmers. Efforts
are made to introduce and foster the cultivation of new kinds of
agricultural products, and in various ways to advance agricultural

Congress, by an act passed during its last session, 1890, created a
weather bureau under the Agricultural Department and transferred to it
the business of weather prognostication which had been tinder the Chief
Signal officer in the War Department. The service remains unchanged. It
has stations at the military stations in the interior of the continent,
at life-saving stations, and at other points in the States and
Territories. Meteorological observations are taken at each station, and
the information forwarded to the central office at Washington, where
weather predictions for the succeeding day or days are made. The
predictions are given gratuitously to the public through a system of
flag signals, by the distribution of weather maps, and by publication in
the daily papers. The percentage of successful forecasts of the weather
during 1890 was 84.4.

The Department publishes the result of the scientific investigations
carried on by its officers in "Annual Reports" of the Secretary and
Chiefs of Divisions; in a series of "Circulars" on special subjects, in
regular "Bulletins;" and in a series of studies on "Insect Life." These
documents are distributed gratuitously.

_#The Department of Labor.#_--The Department of Labor was created in
1884, as a bureau under the Interior Department. In 1888, it became a
separate department. It is a purely statistical bureau. It collects and
publishes statistics on the cost of production, on wages, labor
statistics, etc. Its six published reports are on (1) Industrial
Depressions, (2) Convict Labor, (3) Strikes and Lockouts, (4) Working
Women in Large Cities, (5) Marriage and Divorce, and (6) Railroad

Had all the executive departments been created at one time by a
constitutional convention, we should be justified in expecting a greater
symmetry and uniformity in the naming and grouping of chief officials.
An inspection of the various executive officers shows that not a few are
under departments other than would be expected; and the naming of
officials is often misleading as to their importance. Within recent
years there has appeared a strong tendency to depart yet more from a
systematic grouping of executive duties under departments. Executive
functions have been given to bodies entirely independent of the
departments. To complete our survey of the federal executive we must
consider the following: (1) the Interstate Commerce Commission, (2) the
Fish Commission, (3) the Civil Service Commission, (4) the Government
Printing Office, (5) the National Museum, Smithsonian Institution, the
Bureau of Ethnology, (6) the Congressional Library.

_#The Interstate Commerce Commission.#_--With the growth of our railroad
system have come various abuses. Roads have discriminated in favor of
one shipper over others, and of one locality over others. Combinations
have been formed to keep up railroad passenger and freight charges.
Their influence has been used in political offices through the issuing
of free passenger tickets, etc. Various other minor abuses have centered
around these corporations. The States have been powerless to provide a
remedy for the roads have been mostly engaged in interstate commerce
with which the States are forbidden by the constitution to interfere. To
provide a remedy for the principal of these abuses Congress passed the
act of February 4, 1887, regulating the practice of railroads and
creating the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce the provisions.
The Commission is composed of five commissioners appointed by the
President. The Commission sits as a court and adjudicates complaints
arising between railroads or between citizens and railroads, involving
principles covered by the act. It has rapidly attained its present
position as one of the most important courts in the United States. A
statistician, attached to the Commission, publishes annual statistics of
railroads, covering the extent, the amount, and value of their stock and
bonds, expenses of management, receipts, &c. The act, of course,
applies only to those railroads lying in more than one State.

_#The Fish Commission.#_--The Fish Commission was created by act of
Congress in 1870. Its chief is the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries.
There is also an Assistant Commissioner. This Commission stands in the
same relation to the fishery interests of the country as does the
Department of Agriculture to agricultural interests. Both are scientific
and practical departments. The former investigates the food, habits and
enemies of fishes; experiments concerning the best methods of their
capture, the best kind of baits, apparatus, etc. It collects statistics
of fish and fisheries of the whole country. Probably its most important
service is the propagation and distribution of food fishes. Under its
direction are hatched and liberated millions of the young of the best
food fishes in the various inland waters of the United States. Rivers
suitable for black bass, shad, carp, or other food fishes, but not
having them in their waters, are supplied. For these purposes the
Commission owns and manages various fish hatcheries, fish distributing
vessels and cars, propagating ponds, etc.

The yearly appropriation for carrying on this work amounts to nearly a
quarter of a million of dollars.

_#The Civil Service Commission.#_--To correct the wasteful and
demoralizing spoils system, in vogue ever since the first administration
of Jackson, Congress passed, January 16, 1883, "an act to regulate and
improve the Civil Service of the United States." Under the provisions of
this act, the President appoints three commissioners, only two of whom
may be of the same political party, to administer the act. It is one of
the duties of this Commission to provide examinations for testing the
fitness of applicants for public service. Appointments in those branches
of the government coming under this act can only be made from persons
who have passed the civil service examination successfully. Adherence to
one or the other political parties has little weight in the selection
of employes. Under the regulation of this act are: the nine executive
departments at Washington, the Civil Service Commission itself, the
customs districts, eleven in number, in each of which there are fifty or
more employes, all postoffices in which there are fifty or more
employes, and the Railway Mail Service; including altogether about
28,500 clerks.

_#The Government Printing Office.#_--In order that there may be
intelligent legislation and administration, an extensive system of
reports is required. The publications of the federal government are of
course very numerous. Each department, bureau, and division makes an
annual report. The proceedings of Congress are reported verbatim and
published. This printing and binding are done by the government through
the government printing office, established for that purpose. The Bureau
of Printing and Engraving, which is under the Treasury Department, does
no part of this. Its duties are limited to those of engraving and
printing banknotes, etc. The chief of the Government Printing Office is
styled the Government Printer, and is appointed by the President.

_#The National Museum, Smithsonian Institution and Bureau of
Ethnology.#_--In 1829 James Smithson, bequeathed by his will the whole
of his property, something over half a million dollars, "to the United
States of America to found at Washington, under the name of the
Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion
of knowledge among men." This fund held by the United States now amounts
to $702,000 yielding six per cent, per annum. In 1846 Congress
determined to devote this gift of Smithson to the founding and support
of a museum. The National Museum was established in 1846, and is
supported by annual appropriations by Congress.

In 1879 Congress created a special bureau under the Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution, to be called the Bureau of Ethnology, to make
researches in North American anthropology. This work is supported by
annual appropriations. The National Museum, Smithsonian Institution and
Bureau of Ethnology, though distinct institutions[1] are under
substantially the same management. Their reports are of great scientific

_#The Librarian of Congress.#_--The Librarian of Congress is an
independent officer and reports directly to Congress. He has complete
control of the Congressional Library, now situated in the Capitol
building. The books now collected in this library have been purchased
from time to time by Congress. There is a law requiring that two copies
of every book, pamphlet, newspaper, photograph, etc., copyrighted in the
United States, shall be sent to the Congressional Library. It thus
receives large and valuable additions yearly. The Library now numbers
over half a million volumes. A new building for the library is in
process of construction, and it will have cost when completed between
seven and eight million dollars.

[Footnote 1: A valuable and suggestive paper on The Origin of the
National Scientific and Educational Institutions of the United States,
by Dr. G. Brown Goode, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian
Institution, was published by the American Historical Association. Vol.
IV, Part 2. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1890.]


The Federal Judiciary.

In forming the Constitution the framers of our government were
controlled by the principle that the powers which belong to all
governments can be most safely and satisfactorily exercised by dividing
them according to their nature among three separate branches, the
executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Under the Articles of
Confederation this maxim of government had been disregarded. The old
Continental Congress had been given under that plan, not only
legislative powers, but also those executive and judicial powers which
the States had yielded to the central government.

The lack of a Federal judiciary was, as Justice Story says, "one of the
vital defects of the old confederation." Hamilton, the expounder of the
Constitution, said: "Laws are a dead letter without courts to enforce
and apply them."

The reasons why a national system of courts was necessary were in order
that there might be some power:--

1. To give to laws an interpretation that would be uniform throughout
the land. If there were thirteen independent courts, each giving Federal
decisions on the same causes arising under the same national laws, what
but confusion and contradiction could arise?

2. To settle disputes between the States and citizens of different

3. To construe and interpret the Constitution itself, and decide all
disputes arising under it act of either Congress or of a State
legislature contrary to the Constitution can therefore be valid. Hence,
the necessity of some power which should have authority to determine the
constitutionality of an act when brought into question, and--

5. There should be the power of determining the constitutionality of any
act of a State legislature, and thus enforce upon State legislatures the
restrictions laid upon them, such as, for example, the inability to lay
impost duties, to pass laws violating the obligation of contracts, etc.,
or to regulate objects given exclusively to Congress. The manifest
necessity of such a power may be best stated by using Hamilton's own
words (Federalist, 30):

"What would avail restrictions on the authority of the State
legislatures without some constitutional mode of enforcing the
observance of them? The States, by the plan of the Constitution, are
prohibited from doing a variety of things, some of which are
incompatible with the interests of the Union; others with the principles
of good government. The imposition of duties on imported articles, and
the emission of paper money are specimens of this kind. No man of sense
will believe that such prohibition would be scrupulously regarded,
without some effectual power in the government to restrain or correct
infractions of them. This power must be either a direct negative on the
State laws, or an authority in the Federal courts to annul such as might
be in manifest contravention of the articles of Union." * * * "These
courts are to be the bulwarks of a limited constitution against
legislative encroachments."

These reasons were so strong that there was little or no objection in
the constitutional convention to the creation of a national judiciary,
but difficulty arose in determining its precise nature and powers. As we
have learned, the difficulty to be overcome in drafting our new scheme
of government was to satisfy State jealousies and interests, and
preserve State rights of government, and yet to obtain a strong central
government; and to harmonize State rights with Federal strength.

In forming the national judiciary, the objects to be obtained, difficult
of achievement, were, to use the words of Judge Curtis (Federal Courts
of United States): "To construct a judicial power within the Federal
Government, and to clothe it with attributes which would enable it to
secure the supremacy of the general constitution and all of its
provisions; to give to it exact authority that would maintain the
dividing line between the powers of the Nation and the States, and to
give to it no more: and to add to these a faculty of dispensing justice
to foreigners, to citizens of different States and among the sovereign
States themselves, with a more even hand and with a more assured
certainty of the great ends of justice than any State power could
furnish--these were objects not readily or easily to be obtained, and
yet they were obtained with wonderful success."

The establishment of the federal judiciary is given in a few words in
the Constitution: "The judicial powers of the United States shall be
vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as Congress may
from time to time ordain and establish."

In pursuance of this clause, Congress passed in 1789, what is known as
the "Judiciary Act," the first section of which reads: "The Supreme
Court of the United States shall consist of one chief justice and five
associate justices." This act also established the inferior federal
courts, the circuit and district courts, and also defined and fixed
their fields of jurisdiction, i.e., the class of cases which these
courts could have power to try.

The Supreme Court stands at the head of our national judiciary. Its
field of jurisdiction is the construction and exposition of the
Constitution of the United States. Hon. S.F. Miller, senior justice of
this court, speaking of the high character of the duties performed by
this court, said: "This court, whether we take the character of the
suitors that are brought before it, or the importance of the subjects
of litigation over which it has final jurisdiction, may be considered
the highest the world has ever seen. It has power to bring States before
it, States which some of our politicians have been in the habit of
considering sovereign, not only when they come voluntarily, but by
Federal process they are subjected, in certain cases, to the judgment of
the court. Whatever these States may have been at the time of the
formation of the Constitution, they now number their inhabitants by the
millions, and in wealth and civilization are equal to many of the
independent sovereignties of Europe."

There have been considerable changes in the structure and duties of the
Supreme Court since its formation. At present there are nine justices,
instead of six. There is now one annual term of the court held,
beginning on the 2d Monday of October and continuing until about May 1.
Of the nine justices six constitute a quorum.

The Supreme Court first met in February, 1790. Since its organization it
has had eight chief justices, in the following order.

John Jay, 1789-1795.
Oliver Ellsworth, 1795-1801.
John Marshall, 1801-1835.
R.B. Taney, 1836-1864.
S.P. Chase, 1864-1873.
M.R. Waite, 1873-1888.
M. Fuller, 1888.

In 1795 John Rutledge was appointed to succeed Jay, received his
commission, and held one term of the court, but was not confirmed by the

During the early years of the existence of the Supreme Court few cases
arose requiring its jurisdiction. During the first term there was no
business to be transacted. In 1801 there were only ten cases on the
docket, and for some years the average annual number of cases was
twenty-four; but in later years the number rapidly increased. From 1850
the average number of cases decided was seventy-one, while from 1875 to
1880 the average was three hundred and ninety-one per annum, and now
there are more than a thousand cases awaiting a hearing, and the court
is so far behindhand in its work that it takes from three to four years
for a case to come up for trial after having been entered upon the
docket. At present there are about four hundred cases granted a hearing

Almost immediately after the adoption of the Constitution began
struggles and disputes between the States and the Federal Government. In
this contest the Supreme Court steadily upheld the central power, and
did much by its decisions to enforce and establish the power of the
Constitution. Especially was the court powerful during the years 1801 to
1835, when Marshall was chief justice, to whose wisdom and prudence it
is difficult to ascribe too much influence in fixing the present
stability of our government.

The Supreme Court has been an invariable supporter of the Federal
Constitution. During the early years of our government it was our
firmest barrier against the efforts of the States to lessen the federal
power. It has always maintained the balance of power between the States
and the Union.

The annual term of the Supreme Court begins the second Monday of October
and lasts until about May. Daily sessions, with the exceptions of
Saturdays and Sundays, are held, beginning at 12 o'clock, in the Capitol
building at Washington. The present justices are Fuller, chief justice,
and Lamar, Bradley, Field, Harlan, Gray, Blatchford and Brewer,
associate justices. Every Saturday morning the justices meet in
consultation and decide cases argued during the week. The decisions are
announced on Monday mornings. The justices are appointed by the
President, hold office for life, and are removable only by impeachment.

The following are a few cases decided by the Supreme Court with which it
is important that we should be acquainted owing to the influence which
their decision has had upon our history:

1. In 1793 the case of _Chisolm_ vs. _Georgia_ came before this court.
Chisolm, a citizen of North Carolina, sued the State of Georgia for a
sum of money, and under the second section of Article III of the
Constitution, which says that the judicial power of the United States
shall extend to disputes between a State and citizens of another State,
the court gave judgment in his favor. This decision that a State
government could be sued against its will created so much
dissatisfaction that the Eleventh Amendment was adopted, which says,
"the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to
extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one
of the United States by citizens of another State, or by citizens or
subjects of any foreign State." The effect of this amendment has been to
enable a State to repudiate its just debts.

2. In 1819 was decided the very important case of _McCulloch_ vs.
_Maryland_. The United States had established a national bank, which was
objectionable to many of the States. Maryland attempted to destroy the
bank by levying a very high tax upon a branch bank within the State. The
question as to her right to do this was brought before the Supreme
Court. To have allowed Maryland this right would have been to give to a
State Government the power to oppose and render useless an institution
created by the Federal Government. The court sustained the Federal
power, and it was declared unconstitutional for any State to pass laws
opposing the operation of any Federal statute.

3. In the case of _Dartmouth College_ vs. _New Hampshire_ was declared
the unconstitutionally of a state law which impaired the obligation of

4. A very important case decided by Chief Justice Taney was that of
_Dred Scott_ vs. _Sandford_ in 1857. Dred Scott, a negro slave in
Missouri, had been carried into the Territory of Minnesota, where, by
the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery did not exist. Upon being
carried back into Missouri by his master, Scott claimed his freedom upon
the ground that he had been voluntarily carried into a Territory where
slavery was not allowed. The Supreme Court in its decision declared that
Congress had never had the power to pass any law which would forbid
slave-owners settling in Territories and still retaining control of
their slaves. The whole country was at this time in great excitement in
regard to the question whether or not, in the organization of the
Territories of Kansas and Nebraska into States, slavery should be
prohibited, and this decision, whereby the Missouri Compromise Act was
practically annulled, and which pointed directly forward to an
establishment of slavery in the new Territories, raised public
excitement to a fever heat. It was in this decision that the statement
was made that at the time of the formation of the Constitution the
general opinion had been that the colored man had no rights which the
white man was bound to respect. As a direct result of this case a more
determined stand was taken at the North against slavery; the
Anti-Slavery Republican party was strengthened, and their candidate for
President, Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1861, and the catastrophe of
civil war precipitated.

5. The Legal-Tender decisions, given in several cases soon after the
civil war, are important. During the progress of the war the Government,
in order to raise funds to meet its extraordinary expenses, had been
forced to issue slips of paper which represented no deposits of coin in
the Treasury, but only promises to pay certain sums by the Government.
These were declared legal tender, that is, made by law as good as gold
and silver, and the people were forced to receive them in payment of
debts and for commodities. It was questioned whether the Government had
by the Constitution power to do this. The legal-tender decisions
declared that it had. Judicial System and Jurisdiction of the United
States Courts.

_#District Courts.#_--The United States is divided into judicial
districts. Many single States form a judicial district, while others are
divided into two and others into three districts. The number of
districts has varied. At present there are about sixty. To each of these
districts is given a court and a district judge. These form the lowest
grade of Federal courts.

_#Circuit Courts.#_--These judicial districts are grouped into nine
circuits. For example, the Fourth circuit includes the districts of
Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
For each circuit is appointed one circuit judge. One of the justices of
the Supreme Court is also allotted to each of the circuits, who, after
the expiration of the Supreme Court term, visits his circuit, and tries
the more important cases which may arise in that circuit. The Circuit
Court may be held by the circuit judge, the Supreme Court justice, or
the district judge of that district in which the court is sitting, or by
any two of them, or all of them, sitting together. The Circuit Courts
form the next series of the Federal courts higher than the District

_#Jurisdiction.#_--The relation between the Supreme, Circuit and
District courts is easy to explain. Their jurisdiction is upon federal
questions; that is, over those cases mentioned in the Constitution over
which judicial power has been granted to the United States, viz.,
questions arising under the Constitution, federal laws, or treaties,
between citizens of different States, between citizens and foreigners,
between States themselves, etc., and all crimes punishable under the
United States laws.

The Circuit Court is higher than the District Court, and to it cases
involving $500 and over may be appealed from the District courts. The
Supreme Court is the court of last resort, and to it all appeals from
the Circuit Courts come, with the limitation that $5,000 be involved.
The cases decided by the Supreme Court are then of two classes: (1)
those over which it has original jurisdiction, (see Constitution); i.e.,
those cases which originate or begin in that court; and (2) those cases
over which it has appellate jurisdiction, i.e., those cases which come
thither by appeal from the lower Circuit Courts, and which form the
larger part of its work, and also by appeal from the highest State
courts in cases involving certain Federal questions. The District of
Columbia being directly governed by the United States, its courts are
Federal courts, and hence, cases may be appealed from such courts to the
Supreme Court; likewise for the same reason appeals may be had to the
Supreme Court from the territorial courts.

We must remember that these courts deal only with Federal questions
arising under United States laws, and, that besides these courts, all of
the States have their own judicial systems of courts to interpret state
laws and to try the great majority of cases. These courts are entirely
separate from the United States courts, and with different judges,
though cases may begin in them and be transferred to the United States
Courts, if the interpretation of a Federal law is brought into question.

There are four grades of law in the United States. First and highest is
the United States Constitution; second, United States laws, or statutes
as they are called, passed by Congress; third, State constitutions; and
fourth, State laws, passed by the State legislatures. In case of
conflict of laws the lower must yield to the higher.

For the purpose of settling claims of private persons against the United
States, there has been established at Washington a Court of Claims, held
by five judges. From it appeals lie, in some cases, to the Supreme
Court, and, in others, they are referred to Congress for action.


The Ordinance for the Government of the Northwest Territory.

When the colonies joined in union under the Articles of Confederation,
in 1781, they ceded to the General government their claims to unoccupied
western territory. The largest land grant was that by the State of
Virginia, which occupied that part of the United States lying north of
the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River.

The problem of management of public lands was thus early presented to
our Federal Government for solution. The manner in which Congress dealt
with this question has proven eminently wise and successful, and has
been largely influential in making the United States the nation that it
is to-day. The feature that has characterized the plan followed from the
beginning, and which still obtains, is the formation of States from such
territory as soon as there is sufficient population. Such States have
similar forms and powers of government as the original States, are on an
equal footing with them, and are bound by the Constitution of the United
States. Congress has absolute control of the Territories. (For
Territorial government see Article on Territories.)

The ordinance which the Continental Congress adopted in 1787 for the
government of the Northwest Territory is of great importance: it
provides for the establishment of our territorial system; it contains
many of those features of management which have been used from that date
until now; and it is also of interest because of the influence it has
had upon the history of slavery in our country.

This ordinance provided that the whole of this territory should form one
district. At first Congress appointed the governor, secretary, judges,
and military generals. The governor was to make the laws, subject to the
approval of Congress. When the population reached five thousand the
inhabitants were to have a legislature of their own, and to have a
delegate who should sit in Congress, but have no vote. There was a bill
of rights. Public education was encouraged. Not less than three nor more
than five States were to be formed from it. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan, and Wisconsin have been the five States formed from this
territory. The transformation of the territory into States was promised
as soon as the population should reach sixty thousand.

Slavery was forever prohibited in all this territory. We shall see the
tremendous importance of this clause, which guaranteed to this large
tract freedom from the curse of slavery, when we come to consider the
struggles which were made for many years to keep slavery from the


Government of the Territories.

There are at present four areas, situated outside of the States, and
organized under territorial governments. These are Utah, Arizona, New
Mexico and Oklahoma. Besides these there are the two unorganized
territories, Indian Territory, and Alaska, and the District of Columbia,
which last tract contains sixty-four square miles.

_#Government of Territories.#_--The fundamental law of a Territory is
the Federal Constitution, just as in a State. Unlike the State, however,
it has no constitution of its own, but is regulated entirely by
Congress. In Section 3, Article IV, of the Constitution, it is declared
that "Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful
regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the
United States." In pursuance of this clause Congress has in the four
organized Territories instituted governments as follows: The executive
of the Territory is a Governor appointed by the President for a four
years' term. There is also a secretary and treasurer. The legislature
consists of two houses, a council of 12, and a House of Representatives
of 24. These are elected by the people of the Territories, and have a
term of two years. The Legislature meets every other year. All its acts
require approval by Congress before becoming law.

The judiciary consists of three or more judges appointed by the
President, together with a district attorney and United States marshal.

Territories send neither Senators nor Representatives to Congress, but
have one delegate apiece in the United States House of Representatives,
who may speak, but not vote.

_#Admission of a Territory as a State.#_--A Territory is an embryo
State. As soon as a Territory becomes sufficiently populated it applies
for admission into the Union as a State, and such admission is
accomplished in the following manner. When an application by a Territory
for Statehood is made, it is considered by Congress, and, if approved,
the inhabitants of the Territory are authorized to form for themselves
out of such Territory a State government, and thus prepare themselves
for admission into the Union.

A State government is formed as follows: The Governor of the Territory
issues a proclamation declaring that on a certain date there shall be an
election of delegates to a convention; such convention is to be held on
a certain date. These delegates are elected by a popular vote. The
members of the convention thus formed declare that they, on behalf of
the people of the Territory, adopt the Constitution of the United
States, and then proceed to draft a State constitution and government.
It is provided that this constitution shall be Republican in form, and
make no distinction in civil and political rights on account of race or
color, except for Indians not taxed: that it shall not be repugnant to
the Constitution of the United States and the principles of the
Declaration of Independence. Perfect religious toleration must be
guaranteed, all right or title to the unappropriated public lands lying
within the Territory must be disclaimed and given over to the United
States. Provision must be made by the constitution for the establishment
and maintenance of the system of public schools.

After adoption by the convention the constitution is offered to the
people for ratification. If it is ratified, the Governor certifies the
fact to the President of the United States. Provided the constitution is
found to comply with all the conditions just mentioned, the President
issues his proclamation declaring the ratification of the constitution,
and upon the same day that the proclamation is issued the territory is
deemed admitted by Congress into the Union as a State, on an equal
footing with the original States, and entitled to representation in both
houses of the Federal Congress. The representatives and the Governor and
other State officers are elected on the same day as that upon which the
constitution is ratified by the people.


State Governments.

The United States is a nation of forty-four federated States. Each State
has its own separate government, which is sovereign, except as to a few
powers which have been granted to the United States government for
general purposes. Citizens of States are also citizens of the United
States, and thus owe a double allegiance, namely, to the State in which
they reside and to the United States.

These States vary in size from that of Texas, the largest, with an area
of 265,780 square miles, to that of Rhode Island, the smallest, with
1,250; and in population from that of New York, with nearly six
millions, to that of Nevada, with about forty-five thousand. The largest
State is greater than either France or the German Empire.

State governments are older than the Federal government, for it was by a
grant by the States of certain of their powers that the United States
government was created. Each State is represented in Congress by two
members in the Senate. Members of the lower branch of the Federal
legislature are apportioned among the States according to population. As
in the case of the United States, the powers of government are divided
among three departments--the executive, legislative, and judicial.

In the United States Constitution it is expressly declared that "the
powers not granted to the United States by the Constitution, nor
prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively,
or to the people." It would require considerable space to enumerate the
duties of State governments. With the exception of the few acts which
the constitution forbids them to perform, most of which they would not
care to perform if allowed, and the few general powers coming within the
province of the Federal Government, the States can do whatever their
legislatures sanction. They can go to the extremes of State socialism.
All States have a complete judicial system. They regulate all legal
relations of their citizens, the laws of husband and wife, principal and
agent, and of contract. They provide for the detection and punishment of
crime. They control and mainly support the militia of the county.
Railroad, banking, insurance, and other corporations, are chartered and
controlled by them. The construction and maintenance of roads, the care
of the public health, the inspection of factories, the determination of
the right of suffrage, and the control of its own elections are among
the exclusive powers of State governments. Our extensive system of
public schools are under the dual management of the State and local
governments, and under the superintendence of State officers. The State
takes care of the defective classes, of the insane, paupers, etc.; and,
in general, performs all those ordinary duties concerning internal
affairs which are exercised by central governments.

Each State government has--

1. A Constitution.

2. A Legislature of two Houses.

3. An executive, composed of a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor (in
almost all cases), Secretary of State, Auditor, and a few other

4. A system of local government in counties, towns, cities, etc.

5. A body of State laws.

6. A judicial system of courts, from which no appeal can be had to
United States courts, except upon Federal questions.

7. A system of local taxation.

Each State government has all the rights usually pertaining to a
sovereign State, except--Those powers which the Federal
Constitution expressly forbids to the States.

3. Those powers which have in the Constitution been exclusively
given to the United States.

All States have public debts, which they may, and sometimes do,
repudiate. They can be sued only by other States. The Eleventh Amendment
declared that a citizen could not maintain a suit against a State. State
laws are binding only within the boundaries of the State enacting them.

_#State Constitutions.#_--As the Federal Constitution is the supreme law
of the United States, so the State constitution is the highest law of
the States. The Constitutions of the original thirteen States were
naturally formed after the model of the charters enjoyed by the New
England colonies. In the colonies of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and
Massachusetts their charters were adopted as constitutions without any
change, except, of course, the annulment of obedience to the English
king. All subsequent constitutions have been closely modeled after these
first thirteen. The Federal Constitution provides that all State
constitutions must be Republican in form. (For other conditions of
admission of territories as States, see subject "Territories.") The
modes of amendment of constitutions differ in different States, but in
all, amendment is much easier of accomplishment than in the case of the
Federal Constitution. This is shown by the fact that since 1776 there
have been adopted by the States one hundred and five complete
constitutions, and two hundred and fourteen partial amendments; while,
since the passage of the first ten Federal amendments in 1789, there
have been but five additional amendments. Some States provide that the
constitution shall be submitted to the people for amendment at the end
of certain intervals of time. In the larger number of cases a majority
of the popular vote is required for ratification of a constitutional
amendment. State constitutions show a tendency to become longer, and to
regulate a constantly increasing number of subjects.

A normal State constitution has the following provisions:

1. A definition of the State boundaries.

2. A bill of rights (guaranteeing private rights, such as freedom of
the press and speech, trial by jury in criminal cases, right to
assemble and petition, etc.).

3. A frame of government, an enumeration of officers and powers of
legislature, executive, courts of justice, etc.

4. Miscellaneous provisions, relating to administration of schools,
militia, taxation, debts, local government, corporations,
amendments, etc.

_#State Legislatures.#_--The legislature in all States consists of two
Houses, of which the upper and smaller branch is called the Senate, and
the lower and more numerous branch usually the House of Representatives,
though in six States it is termed the Assembly, and in three the House
of Delegates. The members of both houses are elected by popular vote,
but Senators usually for a longer time, and frequently higher
qualifications for them are required. States are divided into districts
for election purposes, and, though members of the legislature may offer
themselves for election from any district, it has become the invariable
custom for them to be elected only from the districts in which they
reside. Universal manhood suffrage, that is, the right of all male
citizens over 21 years of age to vote, is the rule, though in eight
States paupers have no vote, and in a few, a certain amount of education
is required (generally enough to read the State constitution). The
number of members in the State legislatures varies greatly. In the
Senate, Delaware has the smallest number (9), and Illinois the largest
(51). In the lower House, Delaware has likewise the smallest number
(21), while New Hampshire has the greatest (321).

The Lieutenant-Governor of the State is _ex officio_ President of the
Senate. In all States, except six, sessions of the legislature are held
only once every other year, and even then the length of the session is
limited to a fixed number of days. As in Congress, business is conducted
by means of committees, but are in both Houses elected by ballot. The
State legislatures have full charge and control of all local
governments within their individual States. The Senate has the power of
trying impeachments of State officials. It also ratifies appointments of
the Governor. In all States, except four, acts of the legislature
require the signature of the Governor before they become laws. To pass a
bill over a veto requires in twenty-three States a two-thirds vote in
both Houses; in two, a three-fifths vote, and in nine, a majority vote
of the total number of members. A State legislature can enact no law
which will be effective beyond its own boundaries.

_#State Executive.#_--The chief executive of the State is the Governor.
Other chief officials are the Lieutenant-Governor, Treasurer, Attorney
General, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Superintendent of Public
Instruction. The term of office of the Governor varies in different
States from one to four years. He has but small powers of appointment,
most of the State officials being elected by the people. In all but four
States he has a veto on legislation. He has the power of pardoning. The
Lieutenant-Governor is President of the Senate.

_#State Judiciary.#_--The State judiciary includes three sets of courts:

1. A Supreme Court of Appeals, the highest court, from which cases
involving Federal questions may be appealed to the Supreme Court of
the United States.

2. Superior courts of record.

3. Various local courts, such as county courts, corporation courts,

Each State recognizes the judgments of other States, and gives credit to
their public acts and records, and delivers up to justice, on demand of
the executive, any criminal fleeing from other States into her borders.
In most of the States the judges are elected by the people, though in
eight they are appointed by the Governor, and in five by the
legislature. The Attorney-General conducts cases in which the State is a
party, and manages other legal business in which the State is


Local Government.

In the chapter on Government we learned that the people of the United
States owe allegiance to two systems of government; the one a central
national government, the other the state governments. We have now to
mention a third system of governments, namely, local governments; for
citizens of the United States live, in reality, under three distinct
governments: first and highest, the National United States Government;
second, State governments, and third, local governments. It is
concerning local governments in the United States that we shall learn in
this chapter.

Just as the whole United States is divided into forty-eight sections,
each section being a State or Territory, so each State is in turn, for
convenience in the administration of its government, divided into small
local areas, each division managing those affairs which appertain to its
own area. Many of these divisions were not formed by dividing up the
States. The divisions came first, or sprang up naturally within the
States as soon as the colonies were settled. Social governments were the
first governments formed in the settlement of our Western territory. Dr.
Edward Bemis has described the beginnings of government in a new State
in the following interesting manner:

"The genesis of local government in Western hamlets is very simple.
First comes the settler who, ax in hand, clears the ground for his
humble dwelling, and plants whatever seed he has brought with him. Then
comes another settler and another until perhaps a dozen families are
established near. Two wants are now felt: roads, or at least paths from
house to house, from hamlet to market town, and a school-house for the
multiplying children. There is no strong central authority to provide
these things, but the settlers meet and vote to tax themselves. The
services of a supervisor, collector, clerk, constable and justice of the
peace are required."[1] This is the beginning of the township and
county. As population increases, other wants arise which only a stronger
government can supply. A territorial, and then a State government are
consequently formed.

[Footnote 1: Local Government in Michigan and the Northwest. _J.H.U.
Studies in History and Political Science._ Vol. I, No. 5, p. 11.]

The principal duties of local governments are those of education,
police, sanitation, charity, the construction and maintenance of public
roads, the administration of justice, the assessment and collection of
taxes, etc.

There are three types of local government in the United States: First,
the New England type, in which the unit of government is the town or
township; second, the Southern type, in which the unit is the county;
and third, the Western system, in which the New England and Southern
systems are combined.

_#1st. Local Government New England.#_--Here the unit of government is
the township, or town, as it is usually called. There are few towns
exceeding five square miles in area, and the population is generally
less than 3,000. The New England township is therefore not a thickly
settled area. When a town becomes closely settled it is incorporated as
a city.

In the New England towns the people govern themselves directly. In the
State and Federal governments the people are governed not by themselves,
but through representatives chosen by themselves. The town or township
form of government is that of a pure democracy; the States and Federal
governments are representative governments or republics.

The supreme governing power of a town is in the town meeting, composed
of all qualified voters of the town. The town meeting is held in the
Spring of each year. After the choice of a Moderator, officers are
elected for the ensuing year, reports of officers for the past year
read, and the amount of taxes to be raised and expenditures to be made
during the year, determined upon. The officers are the Selectmen, three,
five, seven or nine in number, who constitute the executive officers of
the town, and administer the ordinances passed by the town meeting; a
town clerk, who keeps a record of the proceedings of the town meeting,
and a record of births, deaths, marriages, etc.; a treasurer, assessors
and collectors of taxes, constables, and various other petty officers.
Several offices are frequently given to the same individual.

The county also exists in New England, and is formed by the union of
several towns, but it is of very little importance, and has but few
duties. The township system is found in the Middle States, but in a
modified form. It is less democratic as a rule--officers being elected
by ballot, the town meeting generally absent, and county government more

_#2d. Local Government in the South.#_--Here the town (township) does
not exist, except in a few instances. The unit of government for
performing local duties is the county, which is much larger than the New
England townships. The county government is managed by a Board of County
Commissioners. These are elected not in open meeting as are the town
officers, but by ballot. County government is therefore a representative
or republican government. The county, wherever found, is primarily a
judicial district. The chief officer for executing the decrees of the
county judiciary is the sheriff. Other county officers are the
treasurer, assessor, etc.

_#Local Government in the West.#_--Here, as before stated, we find the New
England and the Southern systems combined, but combined in different
States in such various degrees as to make impracticable any attempt to
describe them more particularly.[1] In consequence of the grants of land
by the Federal Government to Western States for education, local areas
for the administration of these funds have been formed. These are called
school districts. Local government has tended to center around these
districts, and they have in many cases become important administrative
districts. Their boundaries coincide with the boundaries of the
townships and counties, though a number of school districts may be in
one county or township.

[Footnote 1: More detailed accounts of the various systems of Local
Government in the United States may be found in the early numbers of the
_Johns Hopkins University Studies_, and also in Professor George E.
Howard's _Local Constitutional History_, an extra volume in the same


City Government.

The proportion of people in the United States who reside in cities is
increasing. In 1790 there were only thirteen cities of 5,000 inhabitants
and none with 40,000. Now there are over 500 that have a population
exceeding 5,000 and 28 with a population of 100,000. In 1790 33 per
cent. of the total population lived in cities of over 8,000 inhabitants,
while to-day over 25 per cent live in cities of this size or over.

When any small area becomes thickly and permanently settled, and a
certain population is reached (which varies in different States), the
state legislature is appealed to, and a charter of incorporation as a
city is granted. This enables the incorporated district to act
independently of the county or township, to levy municipal taxes and
carry out public improvements. Rapid as has been the growth of cities,
the duties required of city governments have increased still faster.

The government of our large cities has become a question of vital
importance. It would be difficult to give a complete list of the duties
devolving upon them. The principal duties are (1) the collection of
municipal and state taxes, (2) the establishment and care of public
schools, (3) the administration of justice, (4) police supervision, (5)
the support of a fire department, (6) the care of the streets, (7) of
street gas and electric lighting, (8) of sewerage, (9) of the water
supply, (10) of public parks, (11) of sanitation and public health, (12)
of prisons, (13) the supervision of the liquor traffic, (14) the
regulation of street railways, (15) the enforcement of building
regulations, (16) the supervision of charities, hospitals, asylums,

The form of government of all our large cities is much the same. It is
substantially a reproduction, in form, of the state governments. First,
there is a mayor, who is the chief executive, and is elected directly by
the people of the city. His term of office is sometimes only one year,
though more often two, three, or four years. In almost all cases he has
a veto on acts of the city legislature, which veto may, however, be
overridden by a two-thirds vote.

Other subordinate officials are, the treasurer, collector of taxes,
chief of police, health officer, etc. They are in part elected by the
people, in part appointed by the mayor, or appointed by the city
legislature. Practice varies in different cities.

City legislatures are of one or two houses. The larger cities usually
have two houses, and the smaller cities one house.

The legislature is usually called the City Council, the upper branch the
Board of Aldermen, and the lower and more numerous branch, the Common
Council. The members of the city council are elected by the people. The
acts of the council are called ordinances. They are not sufficiently
general to merit the designation of laws.

City judges are usually elected by the people. The administration of the
various duties of municipal government are generally given to special
boards of officers, as the police department, fire department, etc. For
election purposes, cities are divided into wards, and the wards into
voting precincts.

Our methods of municipal government have proved the least successful of
any of our institutions. Corruption and grave abuses exist in almost
every one of the larger cities. Problems connected with city government
are among the most important questions of our time.


Government Revenue and Expenditure.

Government is an enormous business enterprise, maintained and operated
by its citizens, that certain duties of a general interest and benefit
may be performed. The magnitude of the work performed necessarily
requires the expenditure of vast sums of money. The chief source from
which these sums are derived is taxation. Taxes have been defined to be
"the legally determined and legally collected contributions of
individuals for meeting the necessary and general expenses of the
State."[1] In the large majority of cases this is a good definition, but
in a few instances it is too narrow. There are some taxes that are
levied not primarily for the purpose of raising an income to meet the
expenses of the government, but to subserve some other purpose. For
instance, the maintenance of our high duties on articles imported into
the United States from foreign countries has for its main purpose the
protection of our industries from European competition. The large
revenues that are derived therefrom are incidental. High liquor
licenses, also, are maintained for the express purpose of lessening the
consumption of intoxicating beverages.

[Footnote 1: Carl Knies.]

The aim of every good government is to distribute its burdens of
taxation, as well as its benefits, fairly and equitably among its
citizens. It is the duty of every citizen to assist in the realization
of this aim, by an intelligent, honest and disinterested vote. Equality
of taxation means equality of sacrifice. Each person should contribute
towards the support of the government in proportion to his means and the
benefits enjoyed. It is the duty of every citizen, first to see that
just and expedient tax laws are passed, then to pay his proper
proportion, and lastly, to see that his neighbors likewise contribute
their share. To obtain an equitable system of government revenue and
expenditure has been the great motive force which, in the past, has
urged the people forward in their efforts to secure popular forms of

The power to tax is legislative, and, according to our theory, can be
exercised only by representatives directly elected by the people. The
refusal of England in the last century to extend this principle of "no
taxation without representation" to her colonies in America, lost her
these possessions. A government to be stable and efficient must possess
adequate powers for the collection of its revenue. The miserable
condition to which the old Confederation was reduced by reason of the
inadequacy of its powers in this respect, has already been discussed.
Says Fiske: "Between the old Continental Congress and the government
under which we have lived since 1789, the differences were many; but by
far the most essential difference was that the new government could
raise money by taxation, and was thus enabled properly to carry on the
work of governing."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Civil Government_, p. 77.]

The sources of government revenue other than taxes, are various, and
differ in different countries. In our consideration of the revenues and
expenditures of our national, state, and local governments we shall have
occasion to notice the various means by which their treasuries are

_#The Federal Government#_ raises its revenues independently of the
other governing bodies, from different sources, and by a different set
of officials. Besides taxation, the principal source of revenue is from
the sale of public lands. Federal taxes are of two kinds:

1. Customs duties.

2. Excise or internal revenue duties.

Of these, much the greater sum is raised from customs duties. For the
year 1889,[1] the total net receipts were $387,050,058. Of this
$223,832,741 was derived from customs, and $130,894,434 from the
internal revenue duties. The sale of public lands yielded in that year
$8,038,651. The miscellaneous revenues amounted to $24,297,151.

[Footnote 1: For fiscal purposes the year begins July 1st.]

Customs or tariff duties are taxes which have to be paid on a large
class of goods imported into this country from foreign countries. These
charges are collected by Government collectors, stationed in all our
principal seaport cities, who inspect all incoming vessels and determine
the amount to be paid, according to the rate determined by Congress.
This system constitutes the so-called protective tariff policy of our
country. Those commodities not so taxed are said to be on the "free
list." How much, and on what articles these duties shall be levied, is
the question upon which the Republican and Democratic parties differ;
the former favoring high, and the latter low rates, that is to say
merely enough to support the Government, or, as it is termed, "a tariff
for revenue only."

Internal revenue duties are those taxes collected by the government from
its own citizens upon a small class of articles produced in this
country. The chief items of this class are distilled liquors, tobacco,
and oleomargarine. In 1889, out of the $130,894,434 received from
internal revenue, there was derived from spirits and fermented liquor
$98,036,041; tobacco, $31,866,861; oleomargarine and miscellaneous,
$991,532. These duties are collected by Government collectors stationed
in every United States district, who visit the distilleries, collect the
taxes, and see that the law is enforced. In several Southern States
attempts to evade the law are very frequent and difficult of detection.
The expenses of the vast postal system conducted by the Federal
Government are very nearly defrayed by the charges made for postage, and
the amount received by fees more than equals the expense of the Patent

_#The State and Local Taxes#_ are generally, for convenience, collected
at the same time, and by the same officials, but independently of the
Federal government. The Constitution of the United States forbids the
States to derive a revenue from duty upon goods imported or exported.
The States are, therefore, for the most part, restricted to a direct tax
on property for the support of their governments.

The general method for raising this tax is as follows: The legislature
of the State, having determined what income is needed, apportion this
sum among the counties, or, in New England, directly among the
townships, in proportion to the value of the property situated within
them, or establish a certain percentage tax on all property, to be
collected in the same manner. So, similarly, the counties apportion
among the cities and townships within their areas, in proportion to the
value of their taxable property, not only what they have to pay to the
State, but also the sums they have to raise for county purposes. Thus
when the township or city authorities assess and collect taxes from the
individual citizens, they collect at one and the same time three
distinct taxes--the State tax, the county tax, and the city or township
tax. Retaining the last for local purposes, they hand on the two former
to the county authorities, who, in turn, retain the county tax, handing
on to the State what it requires. Thus trouble and expense are saved in
the process of collection, and the citizen sees on one tax paper all
that he has to pay. The chief tax is the property tax, based on a
valuation of property, and generally of all property, real and personal.
Of this, by far the greater sum is realized from the tax on real
property, (land and buildings on it). Cities and other local
subdivisions, as has been stated, are raising their revenues more and
more from the sale, taxation, or operation of such public franchises and
rights as street-car lines, gas and waterworks. Those who fix the value
of taxable property and thus determine the amount the owners are to pay,
are called assessors. Those collecting taxes are called collectors. The
revenue of the States is seldom large in proportion to the wealth and
number of the inhabitants, because the chief burden of administration is
borne not by the States, but by the Federal government, on the one hand,
and the local subdivisions of the States on the other. The total revenue
of all the States is barely one-third that of the Federal government.

_#The Expenditures#_ of all the governing bodies, Federal, State, and
local, are kept entirely independent of each other. Those of the Federal
government are for the benefit of all the States, while those of the
other bodies are only for their own individual benefit. The Federal
government receives much more than it expends, and has yearly a surplus
on hand in the Treasury. The States and local bodies have in the past
expended more than their revenues, making up their deficiency by loans
on their credit.

The chief objects of Federal expenditure (in addition to the postal
system already considered and for the most part supported by its own
revenue) are: 1st, interest on the public debt; 2d, pensions to disabled
soldiers; 3d, for the support of the civil branch of the government;
4th, war and naval expenditures.

Total expenditures for the year 1889 were $299,288,988. The chief items

1. Interest on the public debt, $41,000,484
2. Pensions, 87,624,779
3. Civil service, 80,664,064
4. War and Navy, 65,815,079
5. Indians, 6,892,207

Money can be expended by the government only after it has been
appropriated by Congress in its annual appropriation bills. The
appropriation of supplies by Congress is the most important business
that it transacts. Every year the heads of all the different departments
frame estimates of the amounts of money needed to support their
departments during the following year, which estimates they send to the
Secretary of the Treasury, who, after considering and revising them,
transmits them to Congress in his "Annual Letter." This letter is
considered by the Appropriation Committee, whose duty it is to consider
and frame bills for the appropriation of moneys. Though guided by these
estimates, supplies frequently depart widely from them. After being
reported to the House and passed, money bills are sent to the Senate,
where they are invariably amended by increasing the appropriations and
are returned to the House. A conference committee is then appointed from
the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, who, after mutual
concessions, agree upon such appropriations as will be passed by both
houses. The House then amends the bill as agreed upon, passes it, and
sends it to the Senate again, which in turn passes it, and sends it to
the President for his signature. All bills for raising money must, by
the Constitution, originate in the House. Besides the appropriations for
the expenses of government there is annually authorized a large
expenditure for improvement of rivers and harbors. Many of the
expenditures authorized by these bills are undoubtedly unnecessary, but
they are passed by general consent of the members, each of whom desires
to increase his popularity at home by getting public money spent in his

The expenses of the State governments are not heavy, and are devoted to
but few objects. The chief expenditures are for:--(1) the salaries of
officials; (2) judicial expenditures; (3) the State volunteer militia;
(4) grants to public schools; (5) public charities and institutions, as
prisons, insane asylums, etc., (6) interest on State debts; (7) internal
improvements and public buildings.

The methods of appropriations are similar to those employed by the
Federal government.

The expenditures of the local bodies, and particularly cities, are much
larger, in proportion to their population, than those of the States, and
are increasing at a greater rate than the increase of population. The
objects of expenditure are numerous and very important. The chief ones
are: (1) Interest on local debts; (2) maintenance and care of the
streets and roads; (3) lighting of streets; (4) police; (5) salaries of

The following are outlines of the receipts and expenditures of the State
of Maryland for 1888, and for the City of Baltimore for 1887. These
figures are given not because they of themselves possess any especial
importance, but because from them can be obtained an idea of the
activity of a typical State and city.

_#Maryland.#_[1]--The total receipts from all sources were $2,542,130;
and there was paid out $2,016,060. The chief receipts were from:

General Taxes, $793,301
Licenses, 487,969
Corporation Tax, 73,553
Railroad Tax, 58,455
Inheritance Tax, 57,767
Income from Stocks and Bonds owned, 206,175
Fees, 17,585

_#Baltimore.#_[2]--The gross receipts into the treasury for the year
ending December 31, 1887, were $8,446,439, and were chiefly from the
following sources:

Taxes, $4,210,112
Public schools, tuition fees, etc., 6,766
Market houses, rent of stalls, 58,287
Wharfage and rent of wharves, 33,561
General licenses, 44,609
Auction duties, 7,431
Dividends on stock in B. & O. R.R., 130,000
Water rents, 745,446
Passenger railway companies, 132,167
From the State for public schools, 147,403
Temporary loan, 1,510,000
Receipts to pay interest on loans, 896,704
Sale of stock, 243,285

The total disbursements were $8,403,930. Of this $4,541,357 was spent on
account of expenses of city government, the following being the
principal items of expense:

Interest on the public debt, $915,987
Expenses of law courts, 118,906
Expenses of jail, magistrates, &c., . . 103,587
Public schools (less amount paid by State), 594,089
Expenses of poor, 210,739
Police department, 702,882
Street-cleaning department, 263,934
Fire department, 214,226
Street lighting, 221,203
Parks, &c., 52,080
Salaries, 72,624
City council, 52,925

[Footnote 1: Finance Statistics of the American Commonwealths: E.E.
Seligman. Publications of Am. Statistical Asso., Dec., 1889.]

[Footnote 2: R.T. Ely, _Taxation in Am. States and Cities_.]

Nearly all of our State and local governments, as well as the national
government, have contracted large public debts, the interest payments
upon which constitute one of the chief items in their lists of
expenditures. The present debt of the Federal Government is largely the
result of the enormous expenditures occasioned by the Civil War. In
1865, August 31, it reached its highest point $2,381,530,294, with an
annual interest charge of $150,977,697. Since then it has been steadily
reduced until in 1889 the total interest-bearing debt was but
$829,853,990, with an annual interest charge of $33,752,354. The
principal of the national debt is mainly in the form of interest-bearing
bonds held by the National banks and private individuals. These bonds
are of various denominations and are promises of the government to pay
the sums named on their face, at the expiration of a certain period. The
bonds at present unpaid, and as such constituting the major portion of
our national debt, are principally of two kinds; those bearing four and
one-half per cent, annual interest and falling due in 1891, and those
bearing four per cent, interest and falling due in 1907.

The debts of most of the States were contracted by ill-advised and
untimely systems of internal improvements. The total state indebtedness
June I, 1890, as shown by the Eleventh Census, was $238,396,590, a
decrease of slightly over $58,000,000 in ten years. The tendency now
seems to be for States to withdraw from the money market as borrowers,
and for the county and city governments to take their place.

The local debts are very large, and have shown a marked increase during
the last twenty years. They have been for the most part incurred in
improvements and construction of public works, which have in most
instances well repaid the debts incurred.



No man by himself produces everything he wants to use, but devotes his
time to the production of some few things, and the surplus that he does
not use, he exchanges for other things made by other men. In rude stages
of society this is done by a direct exchange of one commodity for
another, _e.g._ so much wheat or corn for a gun or plow. This is a very
imperfect and cumbersome method, which cannot be employed in our present
complicated transactions of buying and selling. There thus early
developed the use of money, or the practice of referring the value of
all things to one standard, usually the precious metals: so that,
instead of trading 20 bushels of corn for a plow, where it would be
necessary to go to the great trouble of finding a man who had a plow,
and also wanted your corn, you sell it for so much money, and with this
money you buy a plow. Money is thus but a medium of exchange and a
standard of value.

In the United States, as in most nations, money has always been made by
the Government, and the Government alone, so that one certain fixed
system may prevail. For the sake of convenience, money is made of
various kinds and denominations, and United States money may
conveniently be regarded under the five following divisions: 1. _#Gold
Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates.#_--There are six gold coins:
(1) the eagle, $10 piece; (2) the double eagle, $20 piece; (3) the half
eagle, $5; (4) the quarter eagle, $2.50; (5) the $3 piece, and (6) the
$1 piece. The three last are but little used. The gold bullion, or gold
in bars and blocks uncoined, is for all practical purposes as good as
the coin, and in foreign trade is much used, it being more convenient to
handle. Besides the gold coin and bullion there are in circulation gold
certificates. These are paper, the same in general appearance as the
ordinary bank-note, and certify that an equivalent amount of gold has
been deposited with the Treasurer of the United States, and that the
holder of the certificate has the right to obtain the gold for it at any
time. This does not increase the amount of money in circulation, as for
every one issued just so much coin is withdrawn and stowed away in the
Treasury. The certificates are used simply for convenience, and in order
to avoid the necessary wear of the coin if in constant use. These
certificates are of the denomination of $20.

2. #_Silver Dollars and Silver Certificates_#.--There is no silver
bullion circulating as money, for a silver dollar does not contain a
dollar's worth of silver, as the gold dollar does of gold, and the
silver bullion is thus of different value (less value), according to
weight, than the silver dollar. The silver certificates are similar to
the gold certificates, already described, and certify that an equivalent
amount of silver has been deposited in the Treasury.

3. _#Subsidiary and Minor Coins.#_--All coins of a lower denomination
than $1 belong to one or the other of these two classes. There are three
subsidiary coins, the fifty cent, the twenty-five cent, and the ten cent
pieces. The three cent piece is no longer coined. All other coins are
minor coins. The peculiarity of the subsidiary and minor coins is that
they are, as compared with the standard coins (gold and silver dollars),
of a greater value than the value of the metal they contain. The
subsidiary coins are legal-tender to the amount of $10, the minor to
the extent of twenty-five cents. By legal-tender is meant that the
government has ordered that it must be received in payment of all debts
and articles bought. Gold coin and the silver dollars and certificates
are legal-tender to any amount.

4. _#Treasury Notes.#_--Under this head are included that form of money
ordinarily known as "greenbacks," from the color of their backs. They
were originally issued during the civil war, and are promissory notes on
the part of the government, and as such constitute a portion of the debt
of the government. They are paper, which of itself is of no value, and
no coin is deposited in the Treasury which they represent, as in the
case of the gold and silver certificates. They thus cost the government
nothing, and, as they are made legal-tender, and paid out by the
government, they were just so much clear gain to it. At first they were
not redeemable, i.e., exchangeable for coin at the Treasury, but since
1879 they are, and are therefore just as valuable now as any other form
of money, though formerly worth much less than their face value. One
hundred million dollars in gold is kept on deposit in the Treasury for
their redemption.

5. _#Notes of National Banks.#_--This is the one form of money that is
not issued directly by the Federal government, but through the agency of
what is called our "National Banking System," which may be thus
described: A national bank can be organized by any number of men,
provided the capital stock of the bank is at least $100,000. One-third
of the capital must then be invested in government bonds and deposited
in the United States Treasury. The bank may then issue notes to the
extent of 90 per cent, of such deposit. Such notes are thus amply
secured by the deposits with the government. The government guarantees
their payment, and so they circulate as well as the certificates issued
directly by the government. Thus a great deal of the paper money in
circulation is issued by the national banks, which must, on demand, be
redeemed with coin, and, in case of failure of the banks, are paid by
the government, which reimburses itself from the deposits. A bank-note
differs from a Treasury note in two particulars. The Treasury note or
"greenback" is a promise of the government, and is legal-tender in
payment of all private debts; the bank-note is the promise of a private
company, and is not legal-tender. A bank-note is said to be paid when
the bank gives a greenback or coin for it. A greenback is said to be
paid or redeemed when the government gives gold for it.

The following figures, taken from the report of the Secretary of the
Treasury for 1889, give the amounts of the various sorts of money
described in the foregoing, which were then in the Treasury, in the
banks, and in the hands of the people:

Gold coin and gold bullion, $680,063,505
Silver coin and silver bullion, 343,947,093
U.S. Treasury notes, 346,681,000
National Bank-notes, 211,378,963
Subsidiary coins, 76,601,836

It will be noticed that gold and silver certificates are not included,
for, as explained, they merely represent an equal amount of coin or
bullion on deposit.

The total amount of money is thus approximately $1,660,000,000, which,
divided by the total population, gives about $27 per capita. It should
be borne in mind in connection with these figures that other devices,
such as checks, drafts, bills of exchange, and other forms of credit,
are used side by side with money in carrying on trade and serving the
same purposes.

By the Compromise Silver Bill of July 14, 1890, provision was made for a
new kind of paper money. By this act the Secretary of the Treasury was
directed to purchase, from time to time, silver bullion to the amount of
4,500,000 ounces each month, and to issue in payment for such purchases
Treasury notes; these notes so issued to be redeemable on demand in
coin, and to be a legal tender in payment of all debts, public and
private, except where otherwise expressly stipulated.

[Footnote 1: In the preparation of this article, much assistance has
been derived from an article by H.C. Adams contributed to the


Public Lands of the United States.

Prior to 1781 but six of the original thirteen States--New Hampshire,
Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware--had
exactly defined boundaries. The others claimed lands of various extents,
stretching to the Mississippi River, or even to the Pacific Ocean. The
title to all this land was then in the individual States, and the
National Government, as such, had no land of its own. This question of
the ownership of the western land was one of the subjects of controversy
and discontent between the States. It delayed the adoption of the
Articles of Confederation for some time. Those States with little or no
land regarded with jealousy their more fortunate neighbors, and would
not consent to a union until a settlement or understanding was reached.

The Articles of Confederation were adopted only after assurance was made
that all the public lands would be ceded to the Federal Government. This
was finally done by the States.

The Government formed under the Constitution succeeded to all this land,
and in addition, to further cessions made by the States, the last being
that of Georgia in 1802. The subsequent additions of territory were made
directly to the United States, and not to the States, and all land thus
gained was held as public land to be disposed of by Congress.

While the area of the United States is 3,603,884 square miles, the
public domain which has been acquired by cession, purchase, or conquest,
to be disposed of by the Government as it desires, has amounted to
2,708,388 square miles, or about two-thirds of the total area of the

The absolute title to this land, as before stated, became vested in the
United States Government. The disposal of these lands has always been
under the sole power and control of Congress.

This land was all thinly populated by Indian tribes, who merely hunted
over it, leaving unimproved its natural fertility and vast mineral
resources. These tribes, being actual occupants, were recognized to have
a sort of half interest in the land. This half ownership was always
first extinguished by the United States by purchase for small sums, or
by the granting of certain privileges, etc., before it was opened up for
settlement and occupation by the white man. Land is still held, to a
considerable extent, in this way by the Indians. This right of the
Indians can be extinguished only by the United States, as they are not
allowed to sell or treat at all with individuals or States or foreign

Until 1812 the affairs of the public domain were managed by the
Secretary of the Treasury. In that year the office of Commissioner of
the General Land Office was created, which remained a bureau under the
Treasury Department until 1846. On the creation of the Interior
Department in that year, Indian affairs were transferred to it, and have
remained under the same management until the present time. This bureau
has complete charge of all matters relating to the management and
disposal of the public lands, subject to the direction of Congress.

Almost every conceivable method of disposing of this land has been
followed. The Government has, however, never assumed the position of
landlord and rented the land, except in one case of some mineral land,
and this experiment resulted disastrously. Before the land could be
disposed of, it was necessary that it should be surveyed by the
Government. To do this there was adopted as early as 1776, the so-called
rectangular system, which, with slight changes, has been continued
until the present time. By this system there are first surveyed a base
and a meridian line, crossing each other at right angles, running north
and south and east and west. From these fixed lines the land is surveyed
and marked off into rectangles of six miles square, each thus containing
thirty-six square miles. This is called a township. This is again
divided up into sections of one square mile each or 640 acres, and this
again into quarter sections of 160 acres each. In some cases these are
still further subdivided.

The regulation and disposition of the public lands has been one of the
chief duties imposed upon Congress.

The chief methods by which the public lands have been disposed of are as

1. _#Educational Grants.#_--Congress from the very first provided
liberally for the establishment of common schools through grants of
public lands for this purpose. As each township is surveyed one quarter
section of 640 acres is set apart for common schools. This has continued
from the beginning down to the present time. In addition, large grants
have been made specially for the endowment of universities. Within later
years land has been given to every State to found State military and
agricultural colleges. Up to the year 1888, there had thus been granted
for educational purposes 77,448,192 acres.

2. _#Land Bounties for Military and Naval Service.#_--There have been
granted by different acts bounties of public land, in the nature of
pensions, to the soldiers and sailors of the United States Army, on
their honorable discharge, for their service to the Government. The
amount of land thus granted (1880) has been 61,028,430 acres.

3. _#To the States for Internal Improvement.#_--There was granted to the
States during the years from 1828 to 1846, for the improvement of
rivers, building of canals, wagon roads, railroads, etc., 162,230,099

4. _#Sale of Public Land.#_--Under this head there are two classes of
public land--first, that which may be bought for the minimum rate of
$1.25; and, secondly, the alternate sections along the railroads (the
other alternate sections being granted to the railroads), the minimum
price of which is $2.50. There have been sold in all 192,584,116 acres,
realizing $233,000,000.

5. #_Under the Pre-emption Acts._#--These acts, passed at various times,
provide that where a man, a citizen of the United States, settles upon
and cultivates for a certain length of time, a tract of land not greater
than 160 acres, the United States will give him such tract.

6. #_Under the Homestead Acts._#--The homestead laws have created a
better and more certain manner for settlers to acquire land than under
the pre-emption acts. By these acts it is provided that any citizen who
will select either 160 acres of the $1.25 land, or 80 of the $2.50 land,
can then get a permit from the land office, settle on his land, and
acquire a title to it.

7. _#Under the Timber Culture Act.#_--This act gives to any one the
right to 160 acres of the $1.25 land if he will plant 10 acres in
timber, or 80 acres of the $2.50 land if he will plant 5 acres in

8. _#Certain Lands to States.#_--Quite a large quantity of the public
land has been given to the States on account of its quality, as swamp or
overflowed land, and for various reasons, to the extent of 158,417,514

9. _#Grants to Pacific and other Railroad Companies.#_--The nature of
these grants have already been spoken of in another chapter. From 1850
to 1872 a total of 150,504,994 acres was given for railroad



The conclusion of the civil war in 1865 did not relieve the United
States Government of its extraordinary difficulties. There was the whole
South, a conquered territory, occupying the anomalous position of a
district, still within the Union, yet possessing no legal state
governments. The Confederate government had now been destroyed by the
North, and the South was thus without a government. Four million slaves
had been liberated, who were uneducated, without money, and living among
people hostile to them. Congress had to provide for and protect these
freedmen in their rights. The work to be done by Congress, was then:--1.
To decide upon what terms and upon what conditions the seceded States
should be re-admitted into the Union, and to provide for them a
government until such re-admission. 2. To protect the negro.

The South, though in the Union, had at this time, of course, no
representation in Congress, and consequently, the Republicans were in
great majority. Unfortunately, Johnson, who succeeded to the Presidency
at the death of Lincoln, though a Republican, disagreed with his party,
and legislation upon this subject was only secured by passing all acts
over his veto by a two-thirds vote.

After much discussion, the first Reconstruction Bill, "to provide for
the more efficient government of the rebel States," was passed in 1867,
vetoed by the President, and passed over his veto. Its principal
provisions were--1. The insurrectionary States were to be put under
United States control, and for this purpose divided into five military
districts, over each of which the President was to appoint a commanding
officer. 2. The people of the various States might hold a delegate
convention, elected by the citizens who had not been deprived of the
right to vote for participation in the rebellion. The convention was to
prepare a new constitution, which constitution was to be then submitted
to the vote of the people, and when ratified by them and approved by
Congress, should go into force, and the State be entitled to
representation in Congress. Before approval by Congress the
constitutions adopted by the rebel States had to agree in all the
following particulars: (1) abolishing slavery; (2) declaring null and
void all debts created by States in aid of the rebellion; (3) renouncing
all right of secession; (4) declaring the ordinance of secession which
they had passed null and void; (5) giving the right to vote to all male
citizens, without regard to color; (6) prohibiting the passing of any
law to limit or abridge the rights of any class of citizens.

In 1868 the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted by a sufficient number of
States, and was declared a part of the Constitution.

In 1871 all the States were, for the first time since 1861, represented
in both houses of Congress. Reconstruction by Congress was then


Party Machinery.

In all the States, counties, cities, and even in the smaller
subdivisions of wards, political parties are thoroughly organized, with
acknowledged leaders, and under systems of rules or party government.
This party government, or "machine," as it is called, has been created
by no law or constitution, but is one which has been gradually formed by
the voters themselves, and under which they have voluntarily placed
themselves, in order better to succeed in their elections, well
realizing that the best chance of success is by having all the voters of
their party united on certain principles embodied in a party platform,
and having candidates so nominated that the whole party will recognize
them as their choice.

The aims of party organization are: First, union, that is, having all
voters united as to candidates and platform; and second, recruiting or
the gaining of new adherents.

There are at present two opposing political parties, both striving for
the control of the Government. Both have very nearly the same system of
party government, but their organizations are totally distinct and
separate one from the other.

There are two distinct parts of party government. They are; first, sets
of committees, whose business it is to do all the work of managing
elections, such as raising and applying funds for election purposes,
organizing meetings, providing speakers, publishing and distributing
political tracts and other information, and stirring up enthusiasm by
parades and fireworks, etc. They have also the important duty of
calling together nominating conventions.

The second part of the "machine" embraces the nominating conventions,
which propose the names of the candidates whom their party are to
support for election. These assemblies are called together by the
committees periodically, for the purpose of specific nominations, and
cease to exist as soon as their work is done. Besides nominating
candidates, the conventions draw up the platform, which is a statement
of party principles, beliefs, and pledges. To provide for their
reassembling next time, they also elect a new committee, for the next
term; and also send delegates to the next higher convention. Thus are
found committees and a nominating convention, managing not only national
and state elections, but even arranging and managing elections in the
smaller electoral subdivisions.

There is a committee and a nominating convention for every city, for
every county, for every district, and for every State. There are, then,
throughout the whole United States, such committees, each controlling
its own local affairs, but yet all related to each other, thus forming
one vast organized system.

Beginning with the smallest and lowest, let us show their mutual
connections and workings. Starting, then, with the township convention,
or convention of a city ward, we find that all the voters of the party
are called together on a certain day by a committee (which was chosen at
the preceding meeting) for the purpose of nominating candidates for
local affairs, and naming delegates to represent them at the city or
county convention. The city or county convention, composed of these men,
is called together by the city or county committee. It first nominates
candidates for the city or county offices, and selects delegates to the
state convention, and also provides for the next meeting by the election
of a new committee for the ensuing year. In similar manner, just before
every state election, the state convention, composed of city and county
delegates, is called together by the state central committee. Here are
nominated men for state officers; a new committee is appointed to manage
state elections; and also, once every four years, the important duty of
selecting Presidential electors is performed. The Democrats also select,
in this state convention, their delegates to the National Presidential
Nominating Convention. The Republicans select but four delegates from
each State in state conventions, the remainder being appointed in
district conventions. Following the same method the National Central
Committee calls together a National Convention of all the delegates
which have been appointed by the State, for the purpose of (1)
nominating candidates for their party for President and Vice President;
(2) drawing up and accepting a party platform; (3) selecting a new
National Central Committee for the next four years, which committee is
to manage the election campaign and call the next National Convention.


National Conventions and Presidential Campaigns.

_#History and Development of the National Convention.#_--In the
Presidential elections of 1789 and 1792 there was no necessity for
regular party nominations, as the whole people were practically
unanimous in favor of Washington. Likewise in 1796 it was so well
understood that Adams was the man desired by the Federalists, and
Jefferson by the Democrats, that formal nominations were not required.
But, commencing with 1800, political parties were more divided in their
choice, and some method was demanded by which it might be decided on
whom the party should unite. From 1800 to 1820 this demand was met by
nominations made by Congressmen, in caucuses, or private meetings, of
the members of each party. This method finally proved unsatisfactory to
the country, but from 1824-1835 no new and better method was invented,
and nominations were made rather irregularly, each State legislature
proposing the name of its favorite. This method of nomination naturally
failed to unite the voters of the party, in all the different States, on
one man, and had to be abandoned. After a failure to revive nomination
for President by Congressional caucuses, a new method was developed and
adopted, which was by National Nominating Conventions, such as we have
to-day. The introduction of this last plan may fairly be dated at 1840.
National Conventions were first held at Eastern cities, but are now held
further West, to accommodate the shifting center of population, Chicago
being the favorite city. The National Convention is composed of
delegates from all the States. Each State sends twice as many delegates
as it has representatives in the National Senate and House of
Representatives, thus making a total now of 802. In addition to these,
the Republicans allow two delegates from each of the Territories.

_#Method of Procedure.#_--As soon as the State and Territorial
delegations arrive in the city they each elect a member for the new
National Central Committee for the next term. Inside of this committee
is chosen an executive committee, which, in reality, does all the work
of conducting the campaign. The members of this committee are almost
always men of wealth, and are expected to contribute liberally to the
campaign fund.

The business of the National Convention is commenced by the chairman of
the National Central Committee calling the convention to order. A
temporary chairman is then chosen, who appoints a "committee on
credentials," whose duty it is to decide which delegation shall be
admitted in case two delegations are sent from the same State, both
claiming admittance as representing the party in that State. A
"committee on resolutions" is also appointed to prepare the party
platform. The next day the permanent chairman is appointed. The platform
is then read and adopted, or amended and adopted. There is next an
alphabetical roll-call of the States, when names are proposed and
seconded for nomination as candidates for President. The average number
of names proposed is seven or eight, though sometimes as many as twelve
are offered. As each man is proposed the delegate presenting his name
extols him in a laudatory speech, and gives reasons why his man will
make a strong candidate and an able President. Voting then commences.
Each delegate has one vote. In the Republican convention a majority of
the whole number of the delegates voting for one man is required before
a nomination is reached, while the Democrats require a two-thirds vote.
Sometimes a nomination is made on the first ballot, while at other
times the convention has been so divided that as many as 53 ballots have
been required, as was the case when the Whigs nominated Scott.
Forty-nine ballots were needed when Pierce was nominated by the
Democrats. In 1888 Cleveland was nominated by the Democrats by
acclamation, no vote being necessary to show the wishes of the
delegates. Harrison was nominated by the Republicans on the eighth

A candidate for President having been selected, a Vice President is
nominated in a similar manner, though generally with much less trouble,
and the work of the convention is ended.

The candidates are now put before the people by their respective
parties. The people, of course, do not vote directly for them, but what
amounts to the same thing, vote for electors, who are pledged to vote
for them. A vigorous campaign of four months then follows, until
election day, in the first week in November.

Each candidate, a short time after his nomination, is expected to
publish a letter of acceptance, in which he expresses his full
confidence and belief in the platform which his party has adopted,
discloses his views, and outlines what his future policy will be if he
is elected.

To recapitulate, then, in a few words, let us see how a President is
nominated and elected.

In nominating the President each voter in caucus or primary meeting
shares in choosing delegates to the ward convention, which chooses
delegates to the city or county convention, which in turn sends
delegates to the district conventions. In these, delegates are chosen
for the State conventions, where Presidential electors are appointed,
and also the delegates sent to the National Convention.

In the National Convention, composed of delegates sent from the State
conventions and Territories, the Presidential candidate is nominated.
The electors are elected by the people, who in turn elect the nominees
of their National Convention. If State officers, as Governor,
Attorney-General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, etc., are to be
elected, they are nominated in the State conventions and elected by the

Besides counties, townships, and cities, States have other subdivisions
for political purposes. Thus the whole State is divided into senatorial
districts, each one of which sends one Senator to the State legislature,
and also into smaller districts, each one of which sends one member to
the lower house of the State legislature. Usually a senatorial district
is one or more counties, except in the case of large cities, which may
in itself contain two or more senatorial districts.


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

A knowledge of the nature of our federal government, and its relations
to the State Governments, of which it is composed, is a prerequisite to
an understanding of the history of our political parties.

The government of the United States is a federal republic, first formed
by the voluntary union of thirteen commonwealths. At present it is
composed of forty-four united States. It is a government of enumerated
powers, and in this respect differs radically from the governments of
the individual States. As all agree, the Federal Government possesses
only those powers specifically granted to it by the constitution. The
States possess all powers except those granted to the National
Government, and those not prohibited to them by the terms of the
constitution. When the government of the United States desires to
exercise a power, it must be proven that it was the intention of the
framers of the constitution, and so expressed in that instrument, that
it should possess such a power. The States in the exercise of their
powers need only show that they have not resigned that power. If there
be any dispute as to the constitutionality of an act of either Congress
or a State legislature, the point is decided in the final instance by
the Supreme Court of the United States.

In the political history of our country since the adoption of the
constitution, there have been ever present two great constitutional
questions, in the conflicting answers to which we must seek the origin
and creeds of our great political parties. If we can gain a proper
conception of the character of these two questions, we shall have taken
a long step towards the understanding of the reasons for the conduct of
the various opposing parties, and the basis of the disputes arising
between them. These have been the two questions. First, What is the
extent of the powers granted by the constitution to the National
Government? Second, What is the real nature of our Union; and, arising
under this problem, What is the extent to which the States are justified
in opposing what they believe to be unconstitutional acts on the part of
the National Government; and, Can a State or States, as a last resort,
withdraw from the Union? The remainder of this chapter will be mainly
devoted to a more particular examination of these questions.

What are the legitimate powers of the United States Government?

The United States government was the result of the union of thirteen
independent colonies--a union voluntary on the part of the colonies, yet
forced upon them by the evident need of some central power strong enough
to enforce obedience at home and demand respect abroad. The
determination of what and how many the national powers should be, was
the work of the Constitutional Convention. Of the difficulties of this
task we have already spoken.

In forming a scheme for a central government, there was the double
necessity of creating a government strong enough to perform the duties
for which it was established, and yet not so strong as to endanger the
free self-government of the States. The delicate point to be adjusted
was to give to the Federal Government only such powers as were necessary
for the establishment of an effective National Government, and, as far
as possible, to retain in the States their full governmental powers; in
other words, to harmonize federal strength with State sovereignty.

The fear exhibited by the States in the debates preceding the adoption
and ratification of the constitution of 1787, that the National
Government might become too strong at the expense of their own powers of
government, was not set at rest by the compromises obtained in the
convention, nor by the eleven amendments adopted soon after the
inauguration of the new government. The reason for the continuance of
this fear is that the constitution is so worded that the powers of the
general government are not precisely fixed.

The statement sometimes loosely made that a description of our
government is contained in the constitution, is apt to be misleading.
The constitution has served rather as a foundation upon which to build
the government, than as an entire framework. As a distinguished writer
has termed it, "The constitution was meant only as a scheme in outline,
to be filled up afterwards, and from time to time, by legislation."

A description of our present form of government is far from being
contained in the instrument adopted in 1788. For example, the
constitution makes no mention of how business shall be transacted by the
legislature. Committee Government in Congress owes its existence to no
provision of the constitution. The only mention made in the constitution
of the Speaker of the House, to-day the most powerful officer in the
legislature, is where it is provided that "The House of Representatives
shall choose their speaker and other officers." All executive
departments--the State, War, Navy, Treasury, Post Office, Interior,
Justice, Agriculture, and Labor--have been created from time to time by
act of Congress. Regarding the structure and number of federal courts,
the constitution merely provides that "The judicial power of the United
States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts
as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." Our elaborate
system of district, circuit, and territorial courts, rests solely upon
congressional enactments. So, too, the constitution gives to Congress
the control of territories, but does not provide how that control shall
be exercised.

The framers of our constitution were wise in not attempting to specify
more particularly than they did, the manner in which the several powers
granted to the Federal Government should be exercised. They realized
that they were forming a scheme that was to endure for many years, and
that if it was to be capable of meeting the needs of a changing and
rapidly growing country, it would have to be elastic, and contain within
itself the power of adapting itself to new needs and conditions. To
secure the beneficial execution of the powers granted, Congress was
given the power of selecting appropriate means. To have refused the
grant of this power, would have been to attempt to provide by
unchangeable rule for emergencies that could by no possibilities be
foreseen. Or, as Chief Justice Marshall has put it, "It would have been
to deprive the legislature of the capacity to avail itself of
experience, to exercise its reason, and to accommodate its legislation
to circumstances."

After enumerating the various particular powers given to the Federal
Legislature, the constitution further says (Art. I, Sec. 8) "and [shall
have power] to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for
carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers
vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or
in any department or officer thereof." This is the clause under whose
authorization all those powers have been assumed, and functions
exercised, that have made the United States government of to-day so
different from that of 1789.

The general rule is, as has been said, that the United States government
possesses only those powers granted to it by the constitution. But here,
in this clause just quoted, is a general grant of all powers necessary
or proper for carrying into effect any of the powers particularly
granted. Who or what is to decide just what powers are necessary and
proper for the accomplishment of this object? Naturally people have not
been able to agree upon the question of just what powers are
constitutional or expedient as "implied" under this title of "necessary
and proper" and this question has been largely instrumental in dividing
the people in opposing political parties. There has always been a party,
the members of which, favoring great powers for the States rather than
for the Federal Government, have been "strict constructionists," and
have advocated a close and narrow interpretation of this clause of
"implied powers." From their desire to retain in the State governments
as many powers as possible, they have been known as the "States' Rights
Party." Opposing them has been the party of "loose constructionists,"
the members of which have held to a free, liberal interpretation of the
constitution, and have endeavored to increase the power of the Federal
Government. There have never been political parties styling themselves
"Strict Constructionists" and "Loose Constructionists," for these are
terms that have been used not as titles, but as definitions of different
principles of constitutional interpretation. But by whatever name they
may have been known, there have been, during the greater part of our
history, these two political parties, the one holding to the principle
of strict construction and States' Rights, and the other to that of
loose construction and federal power.

The second fundamental question spoken of in the beginning of this
chapter as underlying national politics, is concerning the nature of our
union and the rights of state nullification and secession.

A final answer to these questions cannot of course be here attempted,
but that which can be done, is to state in a few words just what their
meaning is, and the points upon which they have turned. When we come to
the consideration of the course of politics in the United States we
shall see the answers that history has given to them.

The government of the United States is the judge of its own powers, for
it is in its own supreme judicial tribunal that the constitutionality of
both State and Federal laws is finally determined. More than once has a
practical answer been demanded to the question What is to be done by a
State or States when, in their estimation, the National Government has
transcended its powers and legislated in an unconstitutional manner?
Obedience, nullification, or, in the last resort, secession from the
Union, have been the various alternatives that have offered themselves
to the States. Different views of the nature of our Union have sustained
the propriety of the selection of different ones of these alternatives.

According to the nullification theory, the constitution is held to be of
the nature of a compact between the States as one party and the Federal
Government as the other; and that, as in all contracts, if the
agreements contained therein are broken by the one party, the other
party has the right to refuse its assent thereto. Therefore, if the
United States government attempts the exercise of powers not granted in
the compact, the States have the right to interpose the "rightful
remedy" of "nullification." That is to say, that each State has the
right to determine for itself when an unwarranted power has been assumed
by the general government, and in such a case to declare the obnoxious
law null and of no force within her own boundaries.

In considering the question of nullification, it is necessary to
distinguish between the theory or rather method of nullification
propounded by Madison and Jefferson in the Virginia and Kentucky
Resolutions, from that of Calhoun brought forward at the time of South
Carolina's resistance to, and attempted nullification of, the Tariff
laws of 1828, and 1832. In the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions the
Alien and Sedition Acts were solemnly declared to be unconstitutional,
that the Union was a compact, and the States had the right to interpose
the remedy of nullification; but open resistance was not proposed. By
the Jeffersonian theory, it was proposed to obtain the opinion of
three-fourths of the States that the acts were unconstitutional, and
thus to "nullify" them after the manner of a constitutional amendment.
Until such nullification, the laws were to be obeyed.

The Calhoun doctrine was something entirely different from this.
According to his doctrine, any single State might order at once a
suspension of the law within her borders, and not until three-fourths of
the States in national convention had overruled the nullification could
the State be forced to obey the obnoxious law. To use Calhoun's own
words, his theory was, that "it belongs to the State, as a member of the
Union, in her sovereign capacity in convention, to determine definitely,

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest