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latter by the county assembly, etc. The head of the executive will be chosen by the popular branch of the legislature, and can be removed by it; the President of the United States by the House of Representatives, and so on. In this way, while the elective method will be diminished, the responsibility of the public representatives will be made continuous and immediate, and, consequently, more effective.
These proposals, which were set forth, in 1868, by Mr. Charles Goepp,' were afterwards revived and developed with much vigour by some writers, notably by Mr. Albert Stickney, in a whole series of writings, and by Mr. S. E. Moffett. Mr. Stickney's views are supported by a criticism, as penetrating as it is eloquent, of the existing party régime, which fully exposes its defects and abuses. According to Mr. Stickney's plan the heads of the executive at different grades will also and in like manner be elected by the people, that is to say, by assemblies of delegates emanating from the small, local meetings of the citizens. The members of Congress and the President of the United States can be removed by Congress. Popular election will take place only to fill up vacancies, and an end will be made of those "periodical convulsions of the whole national existence which we call elections." All holders of a public mandate will be protected from the tyranny of party and will serve the people only. Personal merit and character will become their sole qualifications. Individual responsibility for individual acts, the absence of which is the crying defect of the present system, will be ensured. Mr. Moffett, while accepting nearly all of Mr. Stickney's plan, reinforces it with the introduction of direct legislation by the people, of the referendum, and of proportional representation. This scheme will bring about the fundamental reform demanded by American political life — the re-establishment of the close contact between the individual citizen and the agents whom he chooses to manage his public affairs. The people in its primaries must be not only the original source, but the per
1 In a paper presented at the competition mentioned above, which the Union League Club of Philadelphia had proposed on the problem of the primaries; this paper is published in the collection quoted.
2 A True Republic, New York, 1879; "The People's Problem" (Seribner's Monthly, Vol. XXII, 1881); Democratic Government, 1885; The Political Problem, 1890.
Suggestions on Government, 1894.
manent depositary of power. It must control and direct the acts of its executive and legislative servants at every degree of the ladder; it must make known its opinion on measures as well as on men. The right of appeal to the people from the legislative assembly will diminish the intensity of party conflicts, will do away with the necessity of party discipline which is practised at the cost of the independence and the honesty of the members, and will stop legislative corruption. The continuous responsibility of each member to his constituents, who can always remove him, combined with the referendum, will keep the representation at a high level. With the introduction of direct legislation and the abolition of periodical elections, the parties will no longer be permanent or inelastic.
The plan of small electoral districts will bring the elections nearer to the people, and the party conventions will be bereft of their occupation. But what is there to prevent the Caucus from creeping into the small local assemblies, from settling their proceedings beforehand, and from usurping power under the new system as it has done under the present one? To obviate this Mr. Charles P. Clark hit upon a device which he thought would nullify all the previous arrangements of the Caucus clique and frauds in general: the electoral assemblies should be formed by drawing lots, like juries. In every place with more than 2000 inhabitants the electors would be divided, by drawing lots, into five, seven, or nine groups of 250 persons at the most. Summoned secretly by personal notices addressed to each member, each group would choose representative electors, who would appoint to local offices and would select representatives to the college of the county or city electors, and so on. In these colleges of electors the vote of each representative would count in proportion to the number of the citizens whom he represents. Every representative, whether elector or office-holder, can be summarily removed by the assembly which has chosen him. The system of drawing lots, strange as it may appear, can nevertheless invoke "the wisdom of old Greece, which employed it in the selection of juries (dikasteroi). Moreover, the lot is sanctioned in both of the Testaments.'
1 The Commonwealth Reconstructed, New York, 1878, p. 112; "A Logical System of Municipal Elections " (Proceedings of the Second National Confer
Some of the reforms included in the general plans which I have just described have been put forward by several men in public life and writers as the reform which of itself would work a cure. Such were the proposals relating to the reduction of the number of elective offices, to direct legislation, and to the referendum,' and, especially, to the representation of minorities or proportional representation. It is the system of the majority vote which has warped and degraded representative government and has enabled low politicians to monopolize it. The independent elector not being able to make himself heard in the councils of the nation, one of two things inevitably happens: the elector whose vote is practically nullified loses heart, holds aloof; or he accepts, in despair, the candidates of the caucus of his party solely in order not to separate from the majority and not to let the candidates of the opposite party get in. It is this state of things, brought about by the existing electoral system, which the Caucus exploits and on which it lives. The majority has a monopoly of the representation, and the Caucus has a monopoly of the majority. Once adopt proportional representation, and the electors will no longer be forced to choose between the two candidatures, both equally odious. Large bodies of electors will fall away from the two great organizations and will reduce them to simple political groups within the nation. In a word, the Caucus, now the arch-monopolist, would have to submit to the law of competition. The representation of minorities has ence for Good City Government, Philadelphia, 1895, pp. 524-535). In this last paper will be found an account of the painful experiences of the author of the scheme, who had succeeded in getting it accepted by the city of Oswego, where he resided, for the municipal elections. The State legislature voted the required modification of the municipal charter of Oswego, but the State Governor vetoed the bill. The Lieutenant-Governor, President of the Senate, a Tammany Hall man, is said to have alleged as the reason for the oppos to the bill that Mr. Clark's scheme would be the ruin of the politicians, that if the city of Oswego were allowed to adopt it, the other cities would follow suit, and then, added the representative of Tammany, “What would become of us fellows?”
1 Cf. J. W. Sullivan, Direct Legislation, New York, 1892.
2 Simon Sterne, On Representative Government and Personal Representation, Philadelphia, 1871; articles by the same author: "Representation" (Lalor's Cyclopædia of Political Science), “ The Administration of American Cities” (International Review, 1877). M. N. Forney, Political Reform by the Representation of Minorities. New York, 1894. John R. Commons, Proportional Representation, New York, 1896.
obtained a partial application in the States of Illinois and Pennsylvania, though without producing perceptible changes in political life. The failure is attributed to the defective character of the special form of minority representation adopted in those States, which is on the limited vote system.
The indifference usually displayed by the “good” citizens towards the public interest has suggested the idea of the compulsory vote, which I have already had occasion to mention, and even of the compulsory acceptance of elective office.
Some proposals, while abstaining from dealing with the whole electoral system, seek to change the modes of election to certain positions, to the Presidency of the United States and to federal senatorships by entrusting the election to the people. The election of the Senators by the State legislatures has given rich nonentities exceptional facilities for obtaining seats in the Senate, if not by direct corruption, at all events through the party organization, which they get hold of by their liberal contributions to the party. The electors of a whole State cannot be bought, of course; but if the Organization adopts these millionnaires as regular candidates for the popular election, will not the final result be the same? The direct election of the President by the people has been the object of proposals which date from a very long time back, from the Jacksonian era, and which were accompanied with the still older proposal tending to substitute the district system for the general ticket system. The authors of amendments to the constitution repeatedly brought forward for this purpose during the last sixty or seventy years, by members of one or the other branch of Congress, from Benton, and afterwards Charles Sumner, down to their successors of to-day — advocated the reform with the special object of getting rid of the intervention of the "intermediate bodies” in the presidential election, of “doing away with the Caucus or the convention." These proposals in their turn raise the question, what change will there be if the presidential candidates nominated by the national conventions are put straight on the ticket instead of the presidential electors who must vote for them? Would it not
1 See F. W. Holls, " Compulsory Voting” (Publications of the American Academy of Political Science, No. 25, Philadelphia, 1892), and A. B. Hart, Practical Essays on American Government, New York, 1893.
be simply dispensing with the formality of the vote of the electoral college, apart from the different apportionment of the popular votes for the several candidates, if counted per capita by districts instead of, as now, by States ? - More radical is the plan which proposes to place the election of the President in the hands of the National Legislature."
Others hold that the evil is due, not so much to the electoral system as to the organization of the public powers, to the separation of the legislative and the executive. Under the present régime the first is without guidance and the second without force. The remedy lies in the establishment of closer relations between the two by the admission of the representatives of the executive into the assemblies, -as in the parliamentary régime, minus the responsibility of the Cabinet, and by increasing the powers of the executive.
Lastly, in the opinion of certain publicists, all these reforms would be utterly ineffective and useless; it is trying to cleanse the stream without having purified the source. The source of the evil is the unlimited right of suffrage. Without restriction of the right of suffrage nothing will ever be accomplished. On the other hand, however, it is thought that if the working of American political life leaves so much to be desired, this is because the right of suffrage is mutilated, is restricted to one sex. Give women a vote, and the aspect of things will change, political life will be purified.
Having set out in quest of remedies for the abuses engendered or fostered by the Caucus, and having, as it were, gone over the whole field of American political life, the reformers appear to have reached the end, if not the object, of their search. After accompanying them to this extreme point, we can at last pause in the already lengthy investigation of the party system which we have patiently pursued throughout the past and the present career of American democracy. A final survey will enable us to collect and fix in the mind the general impressions conveyed by the multiplicity and the variety of the phenomena that have come under our notice.
1 See for a discussion of this plan by several writers and men in public life, the North American Review, February, 1885.
2 See all the writings of Mr. Gamaliel Bradford, in particular his last work, The Lesson of Popular Government, New York, 1899.