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ilar or inferior to themselves; it is because the instinctive feeling of their country's claims still exists in their hearts; and because an involuntary pride in the name it bears, or a vague reminiscence of its bygone fame, suffices to give them the impulse of self-preservation. Nor can the prodigious exertions made by certain people in the defence of a country, in which they may almost be said to have lived as aliens, be adduced in favor of such a system ; for it will be found that in these cases their main incitement was religion. The permanence, the glory, and the prosperity of the nation were become parts of their faith; and in defending the country they inhabited, they defended that Holy City of which they were all citizens. The Turkish tribes have never taken an active share in the conduct of the affairs of society, but they accomplished stupendous enterprises as long as the victories of the Sultans were the triumphs of the Mahommedan faith. In the present age they are in rapid decay, because their religion is departing, and despotism only remains. Montesquieu, who attributed to absolute power an authority peculiar to itself, did it, as I conceive, undeserved honor; for despotism, taken by itself, can produce no durable results. On close inspection we shall find that religion, and not fear, has ever been the cause of the long-lived prosperity of absolute governments. Whatever exertions may be, made, no “true power can be founded among men which does not depend upon the free union of their inclinations; and patriotism and religion are the only two motives in the
world which can permanently direct the whole of a body politic to one end. -
Laws cannot succeed in rekindling the ardor of an extinguished faith; but men may be interested in the fate of their country by the laws. By this influence, the vague impulse of patriotism, which never abandons the human heart, may be directed and revived: and if it be connected with the thoughts, the passions and daily habits of life, it may be consolidated into a durable and rational sentiment. ‘Let it not be said that the time for the experiment is already past; for the old age of nations is not like the old age of men, and every fresh generation is a new people ready for the care of the legislator.
It is not the administrative, but the political effects of the local system that I most admire in America. In the United States the interests of the country are everywhere kept in view; they are an object of solici. tude to the people of the whole Union, and every citizen is as warmly attached to them as if they were his own. He takes pride in the glory of his nation; he boasts of its success, to which he conceives himself to have contributed; and he rejoices in the general prosperity by which he profits. The feeling he entertains towards the State is analogous to that which unites him to his family, and it is by a kind of egotism that he interests himself in the welfare of his country. The European generally submits to a public officer because he represents a superior force; but to an American he represents a right. In America it may be said that no one renders obedience to man, but to justice and to law. If the opinion which the citizen entertains of himself is exaggerated, it is at least salutary; he unhesitatingly confides in his own powers, which appear to him to be all-sufficient. When a private individual meditates an undertaking, however directly connected it may be with the welfare of society, he never thinks of soliciting the co.operation of the Government: but he publishes his plan, offers to execute it himself, courts the assistance of other individuals, and struggles manfully against all obstacles. Undoubtedly he is often less successful than the State might have been in his position; but in the end, the sum of these private undertakings far exceeds all that the Government could effect. As the administrative authority is within the reach of the citizens, whom it in some degree represents, it excites neither their jealousy nor their hatred : as its resources are limited, every one feels that he must not rely solely on its assistance. Thus when the administration thinks fit to interfere, it is not abandoned to itself as in Europe; the duties of the private citizens are not supposed to have lapsed because the State assists in their fulfilment; but every one is ready, on the contrary, to guide and to support it. This action of individual exertions, joined to that of the public authorities, frequently performs what the most energetic central administration would be unable to execute. It would be easy to adduce several facts in proof of what I advance, but I had rather give only one, with which I am more thoroughly acquainted.✻ In America, the means which the authorities have at their disposal for the discovery of crimes and the arrest of criminals are few. A State-po. lice does not exist, and passports are unknown. The criminal police of the United States cannot be compared to that of France; the magistrates and public prosecutors are not numerous, and the examinations of prisoners are rapid and oral. Nevertheless in no country does crime more rarely elude punishment. The reason is that every one conceives himself to be interested in furnishing evidence of the act committed, and in stopping the delinquent. During my stay in the United States, I saw the spontaneous formation of committees for the pursuit and pro
secution of a man who had committed a great crime in a certain county. In Europe a criminal is an unhappy being, who is struggling for his life against the ministers of justice, while the population is merely a spectator of the conflict: in America he is looked upon as an enemy of the human race, and the whole of mankind is against him. I believe that provincial institutions are useful to all nations, but nowhere do they appear to me to be more indispensable than among a democratic people. In an aristocracy, order can always be maintained in the midst of liberty; and as the rulers have a great deal to lose, order is to them a first-rate consideration. In like manner an aristocracy protects the people from the excesses of despotism, because it always possesses an organised power ready to resist a despot. But a democracy without provincial institutions has no security against these evils. How can a populace, unaccustomed to freedom in small concerns, learn to use it temperately in great affairs ? What resistance can be offered to tyranny in a country where every private individual is impotent, and where the citizens are united by no common tie? Those who dread the licence of the mob, and those who fear the rule of absolute power, ought alike to desire the progressive growth of provincial liberties. On the other hand, I am convinced that democratic nations are most exposed to fall beneath the yoke of a central administration, for several reasons, among which is the following. The constant tendency of these nations is to concentrate all the strength of the Government in the hands of the only power which directly represents the people: because, beyond the people nothing is to be perceived but a mass of equal individuals confounded together. But when the same power is already in possession of all the attributes of the Government, it can scarcely refrain from penetrating into the details of the administration; and an opportunity of doing so is sure to present itself in the end, as was the case in France. In the French Revolution there were two impulses in opposite directions, which must never be confounded; the one was favorable to liberty, the other to des. potism. Under the ancient monarchy the King was the sole author of the laws; and below the power of the Sovereign, certain vestiges of provincial institutions, half destroyed, were still distinguishable. These provincial institutions were incoherent, ill-compacted, and frequently absurd ; in the hands of the aristocracy they had sometimes been converted into instruments of oppression. The Revolution declared itself the enemy of royalty and of provincial institutions at the same. time; it confounded all that had preceded it—despotic power and the checks to its abuses—in an indiscriminate hatred; and its tendency was at once to republicanism and to centraliz ution. This double character of the French Revolution is a fact which has been adroitly handled by the friends of absolute power. Can they be accused of laboring in the cause of despotism, when they are defending that central administration which was one of the great innovations of the Revolution ?” In this manner popularity may be conciliated with hostility to the rights of the people, and the secret slave of tyranny may be the professed admirer of freedom.
I have visited the two nations in which the system of provincial liberty has been most perfectly established, and I have listened to the opinions of different parties in those countries. In America I met with men who secretly aspired to destroy the democratic institutions of the Union; in England I found others who attacked the aristocracy openly; but I know of no one who does not regard provincial independence as a great benefit. In both countries I have heard a thousand different causes assigned for the evils of the State; but the local system was never mentioned among them. I have heard citizens attribute the power and prosperity of their country to a multitude of reasons: but they all placed the advantages of local institutions in the foremost rank.
Am I to suppose that when men who are naturally so divided on religious opinions, and on political theories, agree on one point, (and that, one of which they have daily experience,) they are all in error 7 The only nations which deny the utility of provincial liberties are those which have fewest of them ; in other words, those who are unacquainted with the institution are the only persons who pass a censure upon it.
CHAPTER VI. . .
JUDICIAL POWER IN THE UNITED STATES, AND ITS INFLUENCE ON POLITICAL SOCIETY.
The Anglo-Americans have retained the characteristics of judicial power which are common to all nations.—They have, however, made it a powerful political organ.—How.—In what the judicial system of the Anglo-Americans differs from that of all other nations.—Why the American judges have the right of declaring the laws to be unconstitutional.—How they use this right.—Precautions taken by the legislator to prevent its abuse. -
I HAVE thought it essential to devote a separate chapter to the judicial authorities of the United States, lest their great political importance should be lessened in the reader's eyes by a merely incidental mention of them. Confederations have existed in other countries beside America; and republics have not been established on the shores of the New World alone : the representative system of government has been adopted in several States of Europe; but I am not aware that any nation of the globe has hitherto organised a judicial power on the principle adopted by the Americans. The judicial organisation of the United States is the institution which the stranger has the greatest difficulty in understanding. He hears the authority of a judge invoked in the political occurrences of every day, and he naturally concludes that in the United States the judges are important political functionaries: nevertheless, when he examines the nature of the tribunals, they offer nothing which is contrary to the usual habits and privileges of those bodies; and the magistrates seem to him to interfere in public affairs by chance, but by a chance which recurs every day. When the Parliament of Paris remonstrated, or refused to enregister an edict, or when it summoned a functionary accused of malversation to its bar, its political influence as a judicial body was clearly visible; but nothing of the kind is to be seen in the United States. The Americans have retained all the ordinary characteristics of judicial authority, and have carefully restricted its action to the ordinary circle of its functions. The first characteristic of judicial power in all nations is the duty of arbitration. But rights must be contested in order to warrant the in