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of a piece of mechanism working automatically and blindly, of a machine. The effect appeared so precisely identical that the term “Machine' was bestowed on the Organization as a nickname, which it bears down to the present day, even in preference to that of “Caucus."
The new powers, both of a moral and material kind, which the Organization derived from the situation created by the Civil War, enabled it to take the whole electorate in tow. Having thus come into possession of the electoral monopoly, the Organization could all the more easily thrust itself on the government, and especially on the executive, which disposed of the places in the Federal service required by the Organization for feeding its machine. Since the introduction of the spoils' system, the Organization had always pressed heavily on the exercise of the presidential patronage. Now it was about to strip the executive completely of this prerogative, and the latter was in too weak a state to resist. This weakness was due to a multiplicity of causes, some of them developed by the Caucus and the party system, the others lurking in the economy of the constitutional fabric set up by the founders of the Republic. The first source of the President's inferiority lay in his own origin, in the mode of his election: he owed it to the Organization of the party; it was a convention of its delegates which had nominated him, having taken him, perhaps, out of obscurity; the innumerable committees of this Organization had worked up the electorate to vote for him ; in short, he was its creature. Could he forget this in power ? had he not contracted obligations to its leaders, even without having entered into any explicit engagement? How, indeed, could he turn his back on the men who had fought hard for the White House on his behalf, who had made personal and pecuniary sacrifices to ensure his triumph? We have already seen Lincoln, when grappling with this fatal situation, give in on more than one occasion, at a time when he enjoyed the highest power ever wielded by a chief magistrate in a republic with free institu
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tions. It is therefore not surprising that the successors of the great President should not have exhibited more firmness. The anxiety about re-election, which haunts almost every President in his first term, could not but increase their conciliatoriness towards the local leaders of the Organization. But personal obligations were not the only ones which the President contracted towards them. The party system, which had made its way into the government behind the back of the Constitution, and which was developed and intensified by the Caucus, made the President a party chief, or a trustee, who, on entering the White House, received the fortunes of the party as a deposit. As the party's success at the elections depended on the efficiency of the Organization, the President had to take good care not to weaken the latter, not to damp the zeal and ardour of the numerous workers who led the electoral troops. Consequently when, after the battle, a local leader requested the President to give his lieutenants places available under the rotation system, and for which he had already pledged himself to them, the President had no alternative but to comply; for if he refused, he ruined the political credit of the local leaders, as well as the chances of the party in the district.
But even if he wished to rise above personal calculations and party preoccupations, and take refuge in the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, this was of no avail, for it was there, within the four corners of the Constitution, that the managers of the Organization were on the watch for him; they guarded all the approaches to it. The scheme of the Constitution, which, for the better protection of liberty, had organized the great branches of government, — the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary,— as co-ordinate powers counterbalancing each other, was warped in practice. The separation of powers, which was to ensure the object aimed at, was the primary cause of its failure. On the strength of a mistaken interpretation of the English Constitution by Montesquieu, the principle of the separation of powers was introduced into America and was enforced there in the direction of absolute separation. Although they had laid the foundation for it, the authors of the Constitution, some of whom, and those the most eminent, had seen through the mistake of the Esprit des Lois,' had refrained from pushing to extreme lengths the separation of the public powers in regard to their mutual relations. But under the influence of the prejudice created by the false doctrine, that separation was soon accentuated and completed by the abolition of direct relations between the executive and the legislative; in pursuance of a custom which obtained the force of law, the President and his ministers communicated with Congress in writing only. However, the more the Union developed, the more complex its political life grew, the less possible did it become for the legislative and the executive to act separately or at a distance from each other, the sphere over which their operations extended, that of the interests of the country, being one and indivisible. Whether it was about legislation or for the annual appropriations of the budget, the executive bad to confer and treat with the legislative, and the partition set up by the Constitution fell down under the irresistible pressure of realities. But as they were not able to meet in public, the representatives of the two powers were obliged to negotiate and bargain privately, in corners, and in these encounters the legislative, armed from head to foot through its power of adopting or rejecting bills, was always at an advantage. The controlling supervision of public opinion, which was represented at these meetings, bore upon the legislative all the less that the latter's organization had undergone a practical revolution, in pursuance of which the activity of Congress became concentrated in a number of secret committees, which prepared all the business of the public sittings to such an extent as to make them a mere form. In fact, in certain specified cases the Constitution had deviated from the principle of the separation of powers by making the ratification
1 Lincoln himself admitted his powerlessness as regards the party. The following is a still more characteristic remark of his than that related by Julian, and quoted above: During his first presidency a member of Congress, one Jones, had got a certain Smith appointed postmaster in the chief town of his district. Subsequently, having a personal ground of complaint against bim, he asked Lincoln to turn him out. " And I must turn him out," said the President to one of his friends. “I don't want to, but I must, - there is no help for it.” To which his friend replied, “ Are you President, or is Jones President?” “ Jones is President," answered Lincoln promptly. (Nation of New York, 1872, Vol. XV, p. 69.)
of treaties and of appointments to the more important offices subject to the approval of the Senate. But the effect described of the separation of powers was only further accentuated by this enforced co-operation, which gave the legislative a formal hold over the executive, and all the more irresistible because the sittings, even the plenary ones, of the Senate devoted to the consideration of the presidential proposals relating to treaties and appointments (executive sessions) were (and still are) secret.
Closely pressed on various sides by the legislative, the executive was obliged to yield, and, in order to live, was reduced to purchasing the support of the members of Congress with the favours at its disposal. Towards the middle of this century this practice became a regular one, and Pierce and Buchanan bought legislation like an article of commerce with the places which they distributed to the protégés of the Senators and the Representatives. To the organic weakness of the position was added that of the men who filled it; the convention system made it impossible, apart from chance, for men of strong character to attain to the chief magistracy; for in the words of Benton, quoted above, “The man they choose must always be a character of no force, that they may rule him.” After the war, the prestige and the independence of the President suffered a fresh eclipse. The conflict of Congress with President Johnson, which culminated in the impeachment of the President, was a long series of mortifications and humiliations for him. Before this supreme ordeal Congress took from him, by the law of Tenure of Office of 1867 (repealed twenty years later), the right of dismissing officials whose appointment was subject to the approval of the Senate. The President could only suspend officials in and for the duration of the parliamentary recess. The officials whom he wished to turn out remained in their offices until the persons whom he selected to replace them were confirmed by the Senate. Johnson's successor, General Grant, borne into the White House by his military glory, personally enjoyed an immense popularity which might have emancipated him from the politicians, but his utter inexperience in civil business and his want of discernment in the choice of men placed him at the mercy of the leaders of Congress, who were only too ready to trade upon his weakness. Thus, by a combination of divers causes and circumstances, the executive gradually declined and the legislative obtained the ascendency.
But at the same time the latter in its turn lost its proper character, and became the stronghold of the leaders of the party Organization. The seats in Congress being the highest electoral prize that could be won, with the assistance of the Organization, its local managers naturally coveted them for themselves, and when the Machine acquired the strength which enabled it to operate with certainty, it systematically placed them in these important elective positions. Or - to put the same thing in another way, considering the situation created by the development of the Caucus in a somewhat different aspect — access to elective offices being possible only with the assistance of the Machine, the men who attained to the highest of them, such as seats in Congress, were almost always those who wielded the greatest influence in the local organizations. They were, therefore, the persons to reap the benefit of the superiority gained by the legislative over the executive. Deriving strength from the latter's weakness, the managers of the Organization, disguised as members of Congress, forced the executive to make over the whole federal patronage to them. Besides, the impossibility of the federal administration, with no local organs of its own, deciding by itself on the appointments necessitated by the periodical rotation of an ever increasing number of offices, had at an early stage paved the way for this encroachment on the part of Congress. Often perplexed by the host of applications from the office-seekers, the administration, even before the Civil War, used to consult the respective members of Congress, who were supposed to be better informed as to the merits of the local competitors. Lincoln, engrossed by the cares of the war, systematically referred to them for all appointments to local offices; he did little more than countersign the selections made by the Representatives or the Senators.
After the war the eclipse of the executive was complete and definitive, and the members of Congress entered so thoroughly into the part of dispensers of patronage, which they had assumed, that they considered it as a right, as a prerogative, of their position. Foremost among those who enjoyed this