網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

F Fm were only 4,000,000 scattered people in the United States, no large cities, few factories, no steamboats or railroads, no telegraphs, telephones, automobiles, no great monopolies (“trusts").

Things which concerned one State then now concern the entire Union, and as it has been almost impossible to amend the Constitution, the Courts have allowed Congress to read a new meaning into the words which the framers of the Constitution used. So the Constitution instead of being a dead contract is a living agreement which changes with time and adapts itself to economic and social changes. One might say that the Elastic Clause of the Constitution, which gives Congress power to legislate on all matters “necessary and proper for carrying into execution” the enumerated powers, has kept the Constitution alive for more than a century of eventful years. (See Sec. 48.)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bacon, C. W. The American Plan of Government. 1921. MacDONALD, W. A New Constitution for a New America. 1921.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

QUESTIONS ON THE Text 1. Distinguish the meaning of confederate government from that of federal government.

2. What are the advantages of federal government in the United States ? ('s!

nal state 3. What is meant by“ local self-government,”?

gove 4. What is the Constitution of the United States ? rell

5. Mention some powers which the national government may exercise.

6. What powers are reserved to the States? What amendment of the Constitution provides for this reservation ?

7. Distinguish “delegated” or “enumerated” powers from “residual” or “ reserved ” powers.

8. If a State law conflicts with a national law which must yield to the other?

9. With whom does the final interpretation of the federal law rest ? 10. What relation do States bear to one another except as specifically provided by the Constitution ?

elect
}
.
ri

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

11. What is meant by the requirement that each State give full faith and credit to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State ?

12. Name some privileges and immunities which a citizen of one State is entitled to enjoy in every other State.

13. What is meant by extradition ?

14. The powers of the national government are divided among what three grand departments ? What powers has each ?

15. What is meant by the check and balance system? What are the arguments in favor of and against the system?

16. What Article of the Constitution explains the manner in which the Constitution may be amended ? Explain in what four combinations of ways it may be amended.

17. How many amendments to the Constitution of the United States are there?

18. Is the Constitution a “dead contract” or a “living document”?

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

D

B

1. The United States is a representative, constitutional, federal republic. Consult unabridged dictionaries and explain fully the meaning of each of these words.

2. Let each pupil prepare a large chart showing the powers of government under our federal system. The accompanying figure adapted from Tiedman's “Unwritten Constitution" can be enlarged. Let the outer circle represent all the powers of government. In section A write all the powers exclusively delegated to the

A с National government; in section B, all the powers reserved to the States; in section C, the concurrent powers, those which may be exercised by either the National or State governments; in section D, those denied to the National government; in section E, those denied to the State governments. Space may be economized by the use of figures. 1.8.3. in section A would mean Article I, Section 8, Clause 3; Am. X in section B would mean Amendment X.

3. Give reasons why each power granted exclusively to the National Government was so granted.

4. What legal complication would arise if the federal law and system of courts were not supreme?

E

5. Wisconsin recently enacted a law making a doctor's certificate a prerequisite for obtaining a marriage license. Couples crossed into neighboring States and there married without a doctor's certificate and returned to Wisconsin to live. Could Wisconsin enact a law declaring such marriages illegal and prohibit the parties in question from living together within her boundaries ?

6. In the government of one's self an individual is actuated by conscience, judgment, and will. Which of these is legislative, which executive, and which judicial ?

7. Do you believe in the check and balance idea in government? To bring the problem close to home let us suppose your father the legislative department, your mother the judicial, and you the executive.

8. Power has a tendency to concentrate in the President if he becomes the party leader, in the Supreme Court, which may declare laws unconstitutional, or in Congress, which holds the purse strings. In which of the three would you consider the concentration of power the least objectionable? Give reasons for your decision.

9. Some people view our Constitution as a sacred document that should not be changed, but Thomas Jefferson expresses the contrary view in the following words: “Some men ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age [of the Revolution] well. I belonged to it and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience is worth a century of book reading; and this they would say themselves were they to arise from the dead.” Are these words more or less true to-day than when they were spoken? Why?

10. Our Constitution has developed by amendment, by statutes, by court decisions, and by custom. By which method has each of the following changes occurred: (1) Popular election of senators ? (2) Succession to the presidency? (See Sec. 61.) (3) Use of the taxing power for the purpose of regulation ? (See Sec. 43.) (4) Twoterm presidential limitation?

CHAPTER V

THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

cheaoled

ente!

Hacase" Senot

a

33. Congress. - The Legislature of the United States is called the Congress.” It consists of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The House represents the national principle, because its members represent the people directly in proportion to population; and the Senate represents the federal principle, because its members represent the States, each State having equal representation. Article V of the Constitution provides that “no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of equal suffrage in the Senate.” Without equal representation in the Senate such small States as Rhode Island, Delaware, and Maryland would not willingly have become members of the United States.

The advantages derived from a Congress composed of two houses are: (1) The minority is protected against the majority (2) The one acts as a check upon the other. Through this check system a bill passed in the heat of passion by one house can be submitted to the cool judgment of the other. (3) One large house elected for a short term can express the wishes of the people, while the other house elected for a long term and small enough for deliberate debate can carefully weigh and consider them. (4) The press of our country has a better opportunity to point out the defects of a bill before it is acted upon by the second house.

Thomas Jefferson, who possessed great faith in “the voice of the people,” was in France when the Constitution was framed. Upon his return, while taking breakfast with Washington, he opposed the two-body form of legislature, and was disposed to twit Washington

66

about it. At this time Jefferson poured his coffee from his cup into his saucer. Washington asked him why he did so. " To cool it,” he replied. “ So,” said Washington, “we will pour legislation into the Senatorial saucer to cool it.”

Recently it has been argued that it is not in keeping with democratic institutions for Nevada, for instance, with 77.407 inhabitants to have as much legislative power in the Senate as New York with more than one hundred times as many

[graphic][merged small]

(10,385,227). If New York were represented in the Senate proportionately with Nevada there would be 268 New York senators. To this argument Woodrow Wilson replied:

“These critics are entirely wrong in assuming that the newer, weaker, or more sparsely settled parts of the country have less of an economic stake in its general policy and development than the older States and those which have had a great industrial development. Their stake may not be equal in dollars and cents — that, of course —

« 上一頁繼續 »