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Oert 1935

The National Association for Constitutional Government was formed for the purpose of preserving the representative institutions established by the founders of the Republic and of maintaining the guarantees embodied in the Constitution of the United States. The specific objects of the Association are:

1. To oppose the tendency towards class legislation, the unnecessary extension of public functions, the costly and dangerous multiplication of public offices, the exploitation of private wealth by political agencies, and its distribution for class or sectional advantage.

2. To condemn the oppression of business enterprise,—the vitalizing energy without which national prosperity is impossible; the introduction into our legal system of ideas which past experience has tested and repudiated, such as the Initiative, the Compulsory Referendum, and the Recall, in place of the constitutional system; the frequent and radical alteration of the fundamental law, especially by mere majorities; and schemes of governmental change in general subversive of our republican form of political organization.

3. To assist in the dissemination of knowledge regarding theories of government and their practical effects; in extending a comprehension of the distinctive principles upon which our political institutions are founded; and in creating a higher type of American patriotism through loyalty to those principles.

4. To study the defects in the administration of law and the means by which social justice and efficiency may be more promptly and certainly realized in harmony with the distinctive principles upon which our government is based.

5. To preserve the integrity and authority of our courts; respect for and obedience to the law, as the only security for life, liberty, and property; and above all, the permanence of the principle that this Republic is “a government of laws and not of men."

Representative Government

By David Jayne HIII 1 Wherever in the world absolute gov times in the same month. The Presiernment, in the form of despotism, has dent being practically without power been abolished, it has been through the and the ministry depending upon the influence of representative government support of the Assembly, there is rein some form, good or bad, perfect or peatedly, for short periods, no governimperfect. There is now, at this time, ment at all in France, and were it not no country in the world which claims to for the tenacity of routine traditions in have a constitution, which does not the administrative offices and the sound claim to have some kind of representa- practical judgment of the French tive government. Most of the criti judges, the Republic, which, properly cisms that have been passed upon it are speaking, has no constitution, but rests based upon its failure to produce the upon a few organic laws, would be results that were expected of it, but plunged into the utmost confusion. But whenever they are examined in detail, it may be said that with all this inoin each case, I think it can be found to bility of feeling in France, which acts have failed either, first, because of the so suddenly and destroys the governabsence of some corrective device to ment so quickly, there is in the Gallic give stability to popular representative mind, a logical quality, a devotion to government, as in the case of France, great ideas represented in the courts of or in its being treated as a practically France, that give it a great steadying inoperative system, a sort of conces- quality. sion to public opinion, as in Germany, In the German Empire, the exactly or in its being considered as a sort of opposite condition prevails. There automatic mechanism which can start

every good and perfect gift is believed itself and stop itself at the right time to come down from above. The Reichwithout much human supervision, as in

stag, though elected by universal sufthe United States.

frage and secret ballot, is in effect little In France, for example, it controls

more than a debating society, with the whole government with such com

power to obstruct new legislation, but pleteness, and so promptly expresses

obliged to submit all its own proposals the mobile state of public opinion—and

to the Bundesrath, a non-elective body in normal times when the Gallic nature representing the sovereigns, before it is not under the stress and strain of a can act upon them. This is just what great public calamity as at the present

Bismarck, who hated parliamen'ary time, French sentiment is very mobile government, intended it to be. -that a few votes in the Senate and Now, in the Netherlands, that wonChamber of Deputies may completely derful little monarchy, with various change the whole government several strictly republican traditions, the peo

'From an address delivered before the Lawyers' Club of New York, January 13, 1917, and here reprinted by permission of the author.

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