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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEMOCRACY AND  DEMOCRACIES.                     141
twice a year and for executive officers once. Yet simplicity
of life and the absence to a great extent of public agitations,
together with the sober religious character and homogeneous
English descent of the people, produced a steadiness of habits
which made these semi-annual elections and the annual elec-
tions of judges almost forms. The same persons were chosen
over and over again. In one instance a representative was
chosen by his town for seventy-two sessions or thirty-six
years for the general assembly; and three secretaries of state
filled that office for ninety-seven years in succession from
1712 onward. Three treasurers had an official life of nineteen,
thirty-seven and thirty-one years respectively ; and the terms
of eight governors amounted to eighty-three years. This is
a favorable specimen of the colonial and post-revolutionary
governments, but the contrast in all the colonies between the
steadiness of habits and modern fluctuations has been very
considerable.
The change in the habits of American democracies which
the last seventy-five years have brought with them is exceed-
ingly great. The leading causes of this change are three :
the changes in the condition of society as it respects wealth,
diversity of employment, and the growth of cities; the infu-
sion of new elements, especially from the lower classes of
Europe; and the gradual reception of doctrines of political
rights, which belong to extreme democracy. They are seen
in such doctrines as these : that office should be held for a short
term in order to let the people use their power the oftener;
that judges should be elected by the people, and not for life
but for short terms ; that the representative is bound to obey
his constituents' will ; that the triumph of a party must be
followed by a general sweep of officials of the defeated party
out of power; that election districts must have an equality
of numbers as nearly as possible. These or most of them
having been referred to before, are only mentioned. In their
company appear bribery, ballot-stuffing, intimidation of elect-
ors, violence at the polls, a general lowering of the charac-
ter of candidates for public places, the caucus-system, and