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to account on behalf of the public interest by the Machine, and still less by the State Legislature, which is supposed to have elected them and which will expire before them. This irresponsibility, ensured on the other hand by the absolute separation of powers which prevents the legislative and the executive from meeting in the light of day, has but stimulated the tendency to encroachment and to extravagant conduct which have marked the career of the Senate during the last quarter of a century.

The havoc wrought in the House of Representatives is less conspicuous, because the contrast between what it was and what it is, is not so flagrant, and the House even conveys the impression of having gained in dignity. But in reality the standard of the Representatives and their political manners have undoubtedly deteriorated. The men who find their way into the assembly are those who have succeeded in "getting the delegates," or in ingratiating themselves with the Machine or the boss. All their habits and all their political methods have, consequently, been formed by the practice of the petty expedients, of the paltry combinations and compromises on individuals and interests, of the “deals,” which are the life-breath of the primaries and conventions. The custom which confines the choice of candidates to local residents helps to narrow the political intelligence and to lower the morality of the people's representatives.

And these men enter Congress as slaves of the Machine and the boss, of sordid parochial considerations, or of powerful private interests, industrial or financial, which are so often in league with the Machine. One or other of these servitudes of mind and conscience, or even all combined, is what they have to pay for their seat. The House therefore is simply a diet of representatives of private or local interests, and it has been aptly remarked that every interest is represented in it except the public interest. The members make common cause against the latter by lending each other their votes, on condition that the loan is returned, upon the log-rolling system, in order to obtain the special law or the money appropriation in which they are each interested. The appropriations are their principal objective and, so to speak, their principal victim. Every year, on the occasion of the River and Harbour or Public Buildings Bill, they indulge in a regular “Beutezug (body-raid),” to use the term recently adopted in Switzerland to describe a raid upon the federal chest for the benefit of the cantons and in the ratio of their respective population. Here, however, no one thinks of any proportions, everybody takes what he can grab for his district or for the “interest” which he represents. The financial extravagances of the House being always sure of support in the Senate, or being exceeded even by that assembly, the federal budget has swollen to an inordinate extent." Enormous sums are voted almost without discussion.?

i The Senators being elected for six years never have to seek re-election from the same Legislature, because the term of the State Legislatures scarcely exceeds the period of two years.

These disorderly modes of financial legislation are, no doubt, largely due to the defective organization of the legislative business: the absolute separation of powers, which excludes the Ministers from the chambers, excludes the spokesmer of the general interest from them, leaves the assemblies without guidance, enables each member or group of members to pursue their own ends; the concentration of the real legislative work in the committees and sub-committees screens it from the supervision of the public and consequently from responsibility. But it is primarily the character of the men whom the party Organization instals in Congress which divests them of their responsibility. Congress has ceased to be a deliberative assembly, it no longer lives by discussion. Here, again, the current legislative methods have greatly contributed to this result. In the House of Representatives, in particular, discussion has been rendered superfluous or impossible by the committee system and by the discretionary power of the Speaker, who appoints the members of the committees by his sole authority and curtails at his pleasure the debates in the House by refusing any member the floor. But if this dictatorial organization has been thrust on the House, it is precisely because the latter is so recruited, owing to the Caucus, as to be filled with men incapable of constituting a deliberative assembly worthy of the name, so much so that the celebrated Speaker Mr. Reed "thanked God” that the "House was not a deliberative body.” The Senate has no such stringent procedure, the Senators are given their heads, but real parliamentary discussion has fallen into discredit in that chamber as well. True, its members speechify a great deal, but they only demonstrate that a régime of talk is far from being a régime of discussion. The decline of Congress in this respect is evidenced and completed by its legislative sterility; it does not initiate great measures, it does not solve the problems, the solution of which is demanded by the life of the nation; it acts only on impulses coming from outside, by registering more or less faithfully the decisions which are dictated to it either on behalf of the party in power, or by experts who make up for its incompetence. Thus, the most important measure of late years, which at last settled the grave question of the currency, after a fashion, was prepared by a private conference of citizens of different States, meeting for this purpose at Indianapolis, and devoid of all official authority and without any formal mandate. Congress is deficient at every point; it fails to protect the public purse, to administer the finances, to safeguard the credit of the country, and to pass the necessary laws. Its power, whether legitimate, or usurped, as in the case of the Senate, is expended in demonstrations and manauvres which aim at the applause of unthinking mobs, and in the service of private interests. Under the régime of the separation of powers, a degenerate Congress might have been held in check by the executive; the latter might have afforded protection against the extravagances of the legislative; but the executive itself has been weakened by the Caucus, being left with no means of action but its constitutional right of veto, and often not feeling sufficiently strong to make use of this weapon. Thus the Caucus, without preventing, as we have seen, the mischievous effects of the separation of powers, has nullified all its advantages.

1 In the ten years extending from 1889 to 1898 the expenditure of the Union has risen from $299,288,978 to $41:37:368,582.

2 In 1899, on introducing the River and Harbour Bill, which involved an expenditure of more than $30,000,000, the member in charge of it asked the House to limit the duration of the general debate to half an hour. There happened to be a representative who held that thirty minutes were not enough, and he asked for one hour; another, improving on him, asked for an hour and a half. The House took a liberal view and granted ninety minutes for the debate.

VOL. 11- 2 N

II

The State Legislatures exhibit in a still greater degree the decline, one would be almost entitled to say the collapse, of representative government. The function which the Constitution of the Union has assigned them in the federal sphere, by entrusting them with the election of the Senators of the United States, is prostituted to the bosses and to millionnaires; at the best, the selections are thrust on these assemblies from outside by the party managers, so that in the upshot their constitutional prerogative is never exercised in an independent manner. Nor do they represent the people better in the sphere of their immediate jurisdiction, in that of the local interests of the State. The finances are administered by the Legislatures without the faintest regard to economy; the waste of the public resources is an ever present and growing evil, even in “conservative” States, such as Massachusetts. The laws are made with singular incompetence and carelessness. Their number is excessive, running into volumes each session; but they are mostly laws of local or private interest. The motives which enter into the making of these laws are often of an obviously mercenary nature. In most of the Legislatures there is a "lobby," which buys legislation and wields such a powerful influence in them that it has earned the name of “third house." In the States ruled by the Machine the majority of the members of the Legislature are simply tools of the boss. By means of the boss or the Machine the rich industrial or financial companies make these members their docile instruments and obtain all sorts of concessions, of “franchises," of fiscal privileges. Discussion in the Legislatures is too often a mere farce, the most important laws are “jammed through,” as is said in the State of New York; the legislators just wait for their cue—“what the old man (the boss) wants.” “Vote and don't talk,” is the rule of procedure. The moral and intellectual standard of the members of the Legislatures has fallen to the lowest level: side by side with respectable but narrow-minded and weak men there are many who do not scruple to make money out of their seat, accepting bribes or

1 During the three years from 1895 to 1898 the public debt of the State of Massachusetts has risen from $1,377,666 to $12, 162,379.

blackmailing all those whose interests can be promoted or injured by legislation. They do not stick even at petty dishonesty, obtaining payment for carriage hire and other small expenses which they have never incurred, or getting stationery bought for themselves in enormous quantities and at exorbitant prices, or even ordering albums for their photographs which they have had taken at the cost of the State. Each new Legislature makes people almost regret the old one. The groove of the party Organization, vitiated withal by the custom which confines the choice of representatives to local residents, and by rotation in office, appears incapable of turning out men of a different stamp.

The municipal assemblies are often no better off than the Legislatures: filled with “boodle aldermen,” they indulge in the same practices, and with the same disastrous results for the public purse. What bribery leaves undone, is done by incompetence and wasteful habits. When the resources of the city are not plundered by a ring, and its primordial interests are not neglected, the expenditure is too often out of all proportion to the return. In one way or another the administration of the cities, which deals with the greater part of the American population, and which affects its most important economic interests, exhibits the most complete failure of elective government in the United States.. The effect is proportional to the cause; it is in the municipal sphere, which is within its immediate reach, that the party Organization has established its first base of operations, and it is there that living interests are most completely subordinated to the interests of the party, or even simply to its label, which covers the malpractices of the public plunderers, in the eyes of its adherents.

The judicial power was more spared than the others: from a feeling of self-preservation the political society of America tried to withdraw the law-courts from the régime of the Caucus; yet they did not entirely escape its dissolvent action.

1 “In Massachusetts, during each successive session for years, I have heard on every hand: “This is the worst legislature we have ever had'" (Moorfield Storey, The American Legislature. The Annual Address before the American Bar Association, 1894). Or as has been said to me in several States: this time we have a villainous legislature,” "this time we have an exceptionally bad legislature."

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