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volved in the idea. The term state then expressed the combined idea of people, territory, and government. “The state,” says Bluntschli, “is the politically organized people of a particular land.” A State in the United States, as defined by the Supreme Court, “is a political community of free citizens, occupying a territory of defined boundaries, and organized under a government sanctioned and limited by a written constitution, and established by the consent of the governed.” This definition applies to the United States as a whole, as well as to the individual States.
7. Types of Civil Government. There are three types of civil government, which are designated by Aristotle as: government by an individual, government by a few, and government by many. Expressed in other words these types are the monarchical, the aristocratic, and the democratic form of government. Where the rule of the Individual or the Few or the Many is directed to the benefit of the community, or state at large, the government is normal; where it is directed to the private interest of the Individual or the Few or the Many it is perverted. The perversion of monarchy is tyranny; of aristocracy, oligarchy; and of democracy, demagogy and anarchy.
8. Special Forms of Government. Few of the modern governments are pure and simple monarchies or aristocracies or democracies. The three typical forms are sometimes combined into one and the same government. However, in all such cases one of the typical forms predominates. The special forms of government in which the rule by the Individual predominates are the oldest and most numerous. Many people think that government by the Few. and more especially by the
Many, is possible only after the people of a state have become possessed of intelligence and self-control.
A Patriarchy is a government in which the eldest living male parent is the absolute ruler of a family which has descended from a common progenitor. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were patriarchal rulers.
A Theocracy is a government in which God rules through the institution of a priesthood. The government which Moses established among the Israelites was theocratic.
An Absolute Monarchy is a government in which a single person is the absolute ruler; that is, all the powers of government are vested in him. He makes the laws, executes them, and punishes violations of them. Not that he attends to all this personally; but those who do derive their authority from him. Though the will of an absolute monarch is the law of the land, yet the plain rights of his subjects act as a check upon him. Even a tyrant fears revolution and personal violence. Siam is an example of absolute monarchy.
A Limited Monarchy is a government whose powers are not all vested in the monarch; some are granted to the people. Generally, the making of the laws is either wholly or in part in the hands of the people. Modern kingdoms are nearly all limited monarchies. In England about all that is left of the monarchy is the name; the King can only advise, and even his advice, when given in a formal way, as in the King's address to Parliament, is formulated by the Cabinet, whose members represent the will of the people. The law-making power in England is entirely with the people. No sovereign since the Hanoverian dynasty came to the throne in 1714 has used the
veto power. Nor does the House of Lords, which is an aristocratic feature of the government, withhold its consent to an act passed by the Commons, unless there is some doubt as to the will of the people.
An Elective Monarchy is one in which the king is elected. Greece and Norway are elective monarchies. Originally, kings were elected (see p. 9); but the desire to perpetuate power, wealth, and glory in a family led to the usurpation of the kingship.
An Hereditary Monarchy is one in which the crown descends to some member of the royal family. The rule of succession varies in different monarchies. In some the Salic law, which prevents females from inheriting the throne, is in force. Such used to be the case in France, and in Spain prior to the time of Isabella.
An Aristocracy is a government in which a few men distinguished by birth, culture, and wealth exercise supreme power jointly. This is a very unstable form of government, and generally passes into the hands of one or of many, becoming either a monarchy or a democracy. The Italian cities of the Middle Ages, notably Venice, were aristocracies. The nobility of modern monarchies is an aristocratic feature of government; but it is everywhere subordinated either to the king or to the people.
An Empire, in a loose sense of the word, is any monarchy that assumes such a name; in the strict sense it is an aggregation of conquered, colonized, or confederated states, each with its own government subordinate or tributary to that of the empire as a whole. The ruler of an empire is called emperor. The Roman Empire consisted largely of conquered states. England is both a
kingdom and an empire. As an empire it consists of conquered and colonized states added to the kingdom. Its ruler is styled King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India. Germany is mostly an empire of confederated states; and the King of Prussia is German Emperor. An empire is generally considered as a grant, and royalty as a right.
A Democracy is a government administered directly by the people. It is possible in a small state only, where the people have not far to go in order to meet in a body for the purpose of making laws and electing officers. In Rhode Island, for a brief period in its infancy, every man who was the head of a family was a member of the General Court (legislature). And in Pennsylvania every freeholder was entitled to attend the first session of the General Assembly. The townships of New England are at the present day pure democracies. The referendum, i. e., submitting a public question directly to a vote of the people, is based on the principle of a pure democracy.
A Republic is a democracy in which the people elect representatives to make the laws, administer justice, and attend to the affairs of state in general. Representative democracy is the only form of democratic government that is practicable for large states. There is little difference between a democracy and a republic, for in both the sovereign power is in the hands of the people. The representatives in a republic are the agents of the people and simply act in their stead. In the making of laws the members of a legislature are politically identical with the people. The United States government and the forty-eight State governments are all republican in form.
9. The Best Form of Government.--Pope says:
'For forms of government let fools contest,
William Penn, in his “ Frame of Government" for Pennsylvania, says that “Though good laws do well, good men do better.” Both these utterances lay much stress on good men for the administration of government. In an inquiry, therefore, as to what form of government is best, we may get some light by asking the question, What form of government produces the best rulers? A republican government makes the people themselves, and not one or a few, responsible for the security of their rights, as in a monarchy or an aristocracy. As a rule all our interests in life are never so well guarded as when we guard them ourselves. Hence it may be inferred that popular government produces the best rulers, provided, of course, that the people have the necessary intelligence and morality to understand and practice the right principles of government. Another question that arises is, Which form of government is most easily perverted and overturned? History is full of examples where monarchs became tyrants and aristocracies became oligarchies. As to republican government, it is still on trial. It is true that republics have been perverted and overthrown, in both ancient and modern times, but they were not established on absolute equality of rights, which is the foundation on which ours rests.