網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

to show connection with electric or gas plant, telephone company, source of milk supply, reservoir, lake, or river which supplies water etc., and black ink to show connection with the parts of the home that have overflowed into the community-playground, parks, garage, laundry, bakery, etc. But include only those parts of the community that are actually used by your home.

9. Write out in diary form all the things you did on a recent schoolday and on Saturday and Sunday, then indicate whether the government was connected in any way with each of these. Write out a similar imaginary diary for your father or some person who has to earn his living.

10. Make a separate study of the "getting together” part of the community. Copy the outline, with the facts that you collect, in your notebook. Be sure to include gatherings at the churches, school hall, public library, etc.

11. Find out by consulting your local newspaper, your parents, and several business and professional men what private organizations (like board of trade, Red Cross branch, American Legion, coöperative marketing associations, ladies' aid society, etc.) your community has and what is the purpose of each. Assuming that you will some day want to join one or several of these, what will be your choice? Why?

12. On page 150 are mentioned some of the unofficial helps given to the community by private individuals or organizations. Quite as important are the helps sold to the people by business concerns. It is usually government that brings pure water to homes and carries away waste water, but it is private companies that install in the buildings the necessary pipes and fixtures (which were invented and manufactured by private concerns). Government officials inspect the electric wiring of buildings to see that there is no danger of fire, but private electricians are employed to insert the wiring and fixtures (which were invented and manufactured by private concerns). Government lays out roads, but inventors and manufacturers together have produced automobiles to sell to the people to make inexpensive travel possible. Electric lights, elevators, telephones, and many other conveniences are produced by private companies. Make a list of the conveniences of your home and community to see how many are given by government and how many are sold by business concerns.

CHAPTER VII

THE MACHINERY OF GOVERNMENT - VOTING AND

LAWMAKING

1. Government Machinery consists of Laws and Plans. The machinery of government consists of laws and plans for carrying out the laws. Government officials and employees are the operators of this machinery. All such acts as hiring teachers or collecting income taxes are merely the machinery of government in motion-certain laws being carried out by special officials. Of course not every act of a government official has been provided for by law. How many deliveries of mail a day there shall be, whether the post offices in cities shall be open evenings, and many other matters have been left to the officials in charge of the post-office department to decide. For every law there must be many such plans carefully worked out.

2. Three Different Sets of Government Machinery. There are three different sets of government machinery in the United States: national, state, and community. For each of these there is

1. A general plan: that of the nation is called "constitution"; that of the states is also called "constitution”; that of cities and other legal communities is called "charter” or its equivalent.

2. A large number of laws made to carry out the plan of the constitution or charter.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

To make the necessary laws, in the first place, and to revise and amend them as needed, requires the services of a large number of people:

1. A group of men called Congress to make laws to supplement and carry out the national Constitution.

2. A group of men in every state— called the legislature-to make laws to supplement and carry out the state constitution.

3. A group of people called common council, or trustees, or town or village meeting, or county board of commissioners, to make the laws or ordinances to supplement and carry out the charters of communities and the state laws pertaining to counties.

To carry out the laws and ordinances made by Congress, state legislatures, common councils, trustees, town meetings, etc. requires the services of too many thousands of persons to be enumerated here, but certain ones are illustrative of all:

1. In the nation- (a) President and Vice President; (b) ten departments : State, Treasury, War, Navy, Post Office, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, all of which have many subdivisions called bureaus, boards, service, etc.; (c) certain commissions and boards which do not belong to any department but are directly responsible to the President.

2. In the state— (a) various officials, like governor, lieutenant governor, treasurer, secretary, etc. ; (b) many regular departments, such as Agriculture, Education, Highway, Park, Labor, etc. ; (c) many special boards and commissions which are not a part of a regular department.

3. In the community-(a) various officials, like mayor, selectmen, treasurer; (b) many regular departments, such as School, Finance, Street, Sewer, Fire, Police, Park, etc.; (c) special boards and commissions which are separate from the regular departments.

[ocr errors]

To act as leaders of those who make and carry out the laws requires such special helpers as

1. In the nation : president, vice president, cabinet. 2. In the state : governor,

lieutenant governor. 3. In the community: mayor, secretary, chairman of trustees, president.

To assist these groups of officials-Congress, state legislatures, common councils, town or village meetings, president, and governors—to carry out laws requires still another kind of government help:

1. In the nation: Department of Justice, Supreme Court, other courts.

2. In the state : supreme court, county courts, other special courts. 3. In the community: police courts, municipal courts.

3. A Brief Summary of the Machinery of Government. This elaborate machinery and its operators can be summed up as follows:

1. Written plans called constitutions and charters. 2. Written rules for carrying out the plans, called laws and ordinances.

3. People to make the laws, called Congress, legislature, common council, trustees, town meetings, etc.

[graphic][subsumed]

The Senate and the committee rooms of the Senate are in this wing of the

Capitol at Washington

4. Officials to carry out the laws, with many names, such as department of agriculture, school committee, or policemen.

5. Leaders to supervise the carrying out of laws: president, governors, mayors, etc.

6. Special officials to assist in carrying out the laws, called courts of various kinds.

4. How the Machinery of Government is Made and Run. To make and carry out laws requires the time of many persons. The people choose these officials, either directly by voting for certain officials, such as presidential electors, governor, or mayor, or indirectly by allowing the elected officials to appoint others. In other words, it is the people who make and run the machinery of government. Through taxes-direct or indirect

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

-the people pay for the work of making constitutions and granting charters, making laws and carrying them out. But this is, of course, only another way of saying that government is all the people all the time, for back of every official and every law stand all the people of the nation. Thus the making and running of the machinery of government is accomplished (1) by voting, (2) by lawmaking, (3) by carrying out the laws, (4) by taxpaying.

5. Voting is the First Step in Making and Running the Machinery of Government. Voting is such a simple matter that many persons fail to realize how important it is. Even when the welfare of a great city is at stake, thousands of citizens do not take the trouble to register and vote. Virginia had an early colonial law requiring that "every freeholder actually resident in each county shall appcar and vote at such election, or shall forfeit Two hundred pounds of Tobacco to the Informer.” But none of the states attempted to make voting compulsory until 1890, when a bill was introduced into the New York State legislature, making it a misdemeanor, with a penalty of $25, to fail to vote. Other similar bills have been introduced in other states from time to time, but neither the New York bill nor any of the others have passed. Probably compulsory voting will never be tried in the United States, for that would destroy one of the ideals of a democratic nation. But if large numbers of the people who benefit from government continue to take no interest in elections, then incompetent or dishonest officials will be elected, and the work of government will be badly done.

6. Voting is Something More than marking a Ballot. The first and most important part of voting is helping decide what names shall be placed on the ballot. According to present laws each political party or group of citizens that obtains the necessary signatures can nominate candidates for office. And it is therefore through these parties or groups that one must act. Formerly candidates for office were nominated only in caucuses or in conventions. Now the people often nominate the candidates of their party through what is called the primary. This

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« 上一頁繼續 »