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courts, failed by a majority of 66,523 against, because of the grave doubt whether such a change were desirable. If the people cannot be trusted to choose their own election boards, they are surely in an evil case. The other amendments, which were passed by majorities varying from 15,460 to 28,037, relate to Articles IV, V, VIII, XII, and XIV of the State constitution. A schedule providing for carrying the amendments into complete operation was ratified at the same time, but by a much smaller vote.
Amendments to Articles V and IX were ratified by the people November 7, 1911.
What objects are set forth in the preamble of the State constitution? Discuss the Declaration of Rights.
What is meant by a preamble ?
How does the preamble of the State constitution set forth a time of peace?
What words in the preamble of each reveal the democratic feature of the instrument?
What does the State constitution say concerning trial by jury, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, standing army, elections, and titles of nobility ?
When are prohibition laws effective?
Does the constitution of Pennsylvania say anything about the sale of intoxicating liquors ?
How may the State constitution be amended? Discuss three recent amendments.
When and where did the first Continental Congress meet? State at least one thing that they did.
What is the object in having two branches of the State Legislature?
What are some of the advantages possessed by a written constitution over an unwritten one?
Why must the constitution be subject to change?
THE STATE AND THE NATION
State Governments as Models.—It is believed that the State should come first in the study and description of the government of the country, because the Government and Constitution of the United States were constructed in conformity to models and precedents from the various States. The great bulk of the business of government rests with the State authorities. The State dispenses justice and right, bears the weight of the control of its citizens, and still stands nearest to the people in all social and legal relations.
The Scope of State Power.—The authority of a State is an inherent, not a delegated authority. In all ordinary matters, the State rules its citizens without the interference of the Federal Government. Our State courts make a complete judiciary system from top to bottom, independent of the courts of the United States in many important respects, yet at the same time not entirely unrelated. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has all the powers of an independent government, except such as it has delegated elsewhere. The State government and the National Government are complements to each other. In the great mass of affairs in ordinary life, those which relate to the Government of the United States form the exception, while those relating to the State government constitute the rule. The powers not delegated to the United States by the Federal Constitution nor prohibited by
it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.
Scope of the Federal Power.-All the powers of the general government are such as affect interests which could not be regulated harmoniously by any scheme of separate action by the several States. The Federal Government has only such powers as it can be affirmatively shown to have received; and while these appear large by enumeration, they are really small compared with the vast power which remains with the States or with the people.
The Constitution and laws of the United States form the supreme law of the land (X2),* not because they are set above the constitutions and laws of the States, but because they are integral parts of the law of each separate State. The Constitution is a part of the State law in so much as it limits the sphere of State activity; but the laws passed by Congress are also portions of State law which all are bound to obey.
No State can as a single commonwealth deal politically with or act upon any other State. The United States as a nation has been called a Banded-State. The powers granted to Congress have proved sufficient to bind the States together in a Union that is strong because of the partition of powers between the Federal Government and the individual States. While the United States Government must not encroach upon the sphere of the several States, it is vested with higher powers of government worthy of the most careful study. The Constitution of the United States is a clear sketch of the fundamentals of good government.
Brief Outline of the Government of the United States.The foundation of the Government of the United States is
* Such letters and numbers as these refer to clauses of the United States Constitution, as printed near the end of this book.
the National Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land (X2). All laws made by Congress, or by the legislature of any State, or any ordinance or rule of a county, borough, or city, or even of a school district, is void if it is not in accord with the National Constitution. The local government and the State government, each with great variety of detail, must move in harmony with the Government of the United States.
The National Government consists of three branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial.
The Legislative branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and is called Congress (B). Bills are passed by Congress, and become laws when signed by the President. If, however, the President neither signs nor vetoes a bill within ten days after its passage, it becomes a law without his signature, unless Congress, by adjournment, prevent its return. A vetoed bill may be passed again by a majority of two thirds in each branch of Congress, and then becomes a law.
The Executive branch is vested in the President, who represents the unity, the power, and the purpose of the Nation. It is his duty, through his officers, to enforce the laws. A bill passed by Congress may be prevented from becoming a law by being vetoed or forbidden by the President, and only in exceptional cases are bills passed over his veto. The President's office is the highest in the power of the people to bestow.
The Judicial branch of government is vested in the Supreme Court, created by the Constitution, and in inferior National Courts, which are called District Courts, established by Congress. Ordinary cases involving Federal law can be brought in the District Courts, and appealed to a Circuit Court of Appeals, or in certain cases, to the Supreme Court. Appeals can be taken from the highest State courts to the Federal Supreme Court in all cases involving Federal law. Thus all cases turning on Federal law may be brought before the courts of the Nation. These National courts adjust legal difficulties, interpret the laws, and decide upon their constitutionality. The Supreme Court of the United States has become the balance wheel of our system of government.
In the succeeding chapters each of these branches will be treated in detail. While in theory all three of these functions of government are justly regarded as distinct and best exercised by entirely different persons, the practical working out of systems of government in communities, States, and the Nation has shown that it is convenient and wise that some officials should be connected with more than one of these departments and discharge varied duties. Thus it will be seen that Congress exercises judicial powers in cases of impeachment; that the Senate has executive power in the confirmation or rejection of appointments of officials by the President; and that the judges in courts inferior and superior exercise executive powers in ordering the carrying out of the judicial decisions in individual cases. The Supreme Court practically becomes executive when it pronounces a law unconstitutional. This right, vested in the highest court of the United States, forms the most powerful barrier against the tyranny of political legislation.
What is the scope of the State power? Of the Federal power?
What powers are vested in the Judiciary, and how are these powers exercised? What are the powers of the Executive department?
State the primary function of each of the three great departments into which the Federal Government is divided.