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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

IIO                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
new election, the attacks of newspapers in the interests of
parties, any fear of loss of influence, are sufficient motives for
their support of a bad measure or law. But there have not
been wanting also cases in the history of representative gov-
ernments where they have showed themselves open to corrupt
motives ; and within the last few years in the United States,
instances of this kind have either been frequent, or at least
suspicion of bribery within legislative halls has been very
general and seemingly well founded. The modern occasions
for receiving bribes have been connected with the chartering
of great companies, whose vast business will, it is thought,
enable them to be at great expense in starting well. The
greater the enterprise, if it requires, like means of locomotion,
or like any companies founded on a principle of monopoly,
or like subsidies given for public purposes, some legislative
sanction, the more dangerous is it to a democratic community.
In fact, this special danger, which is peculiarly a modern one,
appears in all communities, but most in those where the rep-
resentatives are not men of substance belonging to the upper
class of the community. And the hope of getting a share in
the gains acquired by knavish politicians may be a motive on
the part of some men for seeking places in the legislatures.
They go, it is to be feared, wishing to be bribed, not intend-
ing to vote against their convictions, but to make gain out
of their convictions, like many members of parliament in the
time of Charles II. of England.
The principal remedy for such baseness within the political
sphere is some restriction on the power of special legislation
—for conviction of bribery is and always was exceedingly
difficult. It is significant of the feeling in this country, that
in the latest revisions of state constitutions, the power, for-
merly lodged in the legislatures, of giving special charters, and
the general power of special legislation are in great measure
taken away. Thus, in the new constitution of Illinois, made
and adopted in 1870, which seems to have led the way in
confining legislative power within narrower limits, there are as
many as twenty-five cases enumerated, in which the general