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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEMOCRACY" AND DEMOCRACIES.                     Ill
assembly is prohibited from passing any local or special laws.
Among these are "granting to any corporation, association,
or individual, the right to lay down railroad tracks, and
amending existing charters for such purposes, and granting
any special or exclusive privilege, immunity, or franchise
whatever ; " and in all cases where a general law can be
made applicable, no special law, it is declared, shall be en-
acted (art, iv., sec. 22). Other restrictions—such as that upon
the rate of taxation which county authorities are allowed to
assess, upon the competence of the general assembly itself to
create banks without the consent of the people by a general
vote, or to create corporations by special laws—are dictated,
it is probable, at once by the desire to throw business out of
the legislature which could be provided for in some other
way, and by that of avoiding all that is called lobbying
and private solicitation of members of that body, Similar
provisions are introduced into the new constitutions since
1870, discussed in the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Mis-
souri. This exhibits to us the clear conviction that re-
strictions are needed on legislative as \vcll as on execu-
tive and on municipal power. And this conviction seems
to have arisen out of the experience of the dangerous and
unsatisfactory character of much of the special legislation of
the past in this country—a legislature, more than any other
public body, being exposed to corrupt or temporary or local
influences, and exposing those who are concerned in it to the
evil arts of interested persons.
Of course the representatives are accountable for the arts
and fraud which they may themselves have used in securing
their places. In the ancient city-states attempts to procure
office by fraud were common enough* Modern democracies
suffer from this source of corruption no more than modern
aristocracies, and probably less.
3. Qualifications for suffrage.    In the period when arisLo-
Limitation of suf- cratical  and democratical elements were  con-
rasc>               tending in  the ancient city-states, the contest
was manifested by various devices to restrict the suffrage, or