Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

26o                             POLITICAL SCIENCE.
it would happen (unless some political device were found out
to prevent the evil) that the outlying districts would lose
their political status, arid become unfree. The state also,
probably, would suffer in its constitution from its size. The
old general assembly, being unable to attend in person to its
large duties, would need to put power in the hands of agents ;
and these executive officers might, ere long, become holders
of power in their own right. Thus, Rome with its old
organization could not keep the empire together; either
a breaking- up or a more continuous and autocratic adminis-
tration would be a necessity. As a remedy for such evils
the representative system has grown up in the world, sug-
gested perhaps, by delegates to church councils, and by
deputies from independent bodies acting together. By this
great political contrivance it is possible for a large state to be
a free state, for a popular constitution not to fall into the
hands of the executive; not to speak of other most impor-
tant advantages which will presently appear. But when the
representative system is developed, the people is no longer
an active holder of power, as in the ecclesia or the comitia ;
in the making of laws, as in administration and justice, it has
intrusted direct power to its vicars. Hence the greater ne-
cessity of defining and limiting their power, of declaring in
constitutions what the functions of the several powers are, in
order that the agents may not dethrone or enslave the now
inactive political community.
The inquiry has been made, which of these three, the
.which department executive, the legislative, or the judicial depart-
* supreme?           ment, is the sovereign or the principal agent of
the sovereignty ? In theoiy we may say that the department
which lays down general rules binding on the rest, which in
the few words of a law commands or forbids without except
tion of person or limit of time, stands above the rest and is
the truest vicar of the sovereign community. And this will
be more evidently the position of the legislative department
if it provide for the wants of the state, not by general legisla-
tion, as by a tax-bill continuing until repealed, but by laws