Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

or bills which are valid for short periods only, so that the
department which has to spend money or control the army
is kept in a certain sort of dependence. So also at the com-
mencement in a new state, unless the legislature puts the
wheels of the constitution in motion, it cannot act. Neither
executive nor court can do the work for which it was intended
without some preparatory legislation. But, practically, the
departments which have to do with specig.1 and particular
actions, are as truly invested with the public sovereignty as
the law-making department. The connection with physical
might, through the command of armies and of an army of
policemen, and the immediate control over foreign relations,
are in the hands of the executive; it is natural, therefore,
that this should strike the eyes as having the principal attri-
butes of sovereignty. When it draws also the other powers
into its circle, making laws and appointing dependent judges,
it is, indeed, the sovereign de facto. But when the three
powers are divided, it may happen that the judiciary which
is physically the weakest, may, by a decision which asserts
and defends law, show itself at certain crises to be the strong-
est arm of the state, simply because of its moral authority.
The true opinion then is that none of these powers represents
the sovereign more than another; that the executive, owing
to the physical force which must be put into its hands, is the
most dangerous and encroaching of the three ; that in reality
neither of them is sovereign except by catachresis, so that
for once Rousseau is right in holding that the political com-
munity never gives up and transfers its powers, but always
remains sovereign. Yet the large political community under
a constitution never acts directly, except ir. the extremes of
resistance to usurpation, or of revolution, or when, according
to its own provisions, the constitution is altered.
There is in theory, as we have seen, a distinction and
Essential distinc- necessity of a division between certain depart-
tion of departments. ments of state> on which the safety and rjght
action of the movements of the state depend.    The legislative
action is mainly general and prospective ; that of the judiciary