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to a civil war and to his execution, yet the struggle expressed
the grievances of the country and the turn of public opinion
under a somewhat unsettled constitution. Something deci-
sive, therefore—some end of the struggle, was necessary, if
England was to have a future history; and the actual end
was surely worth the struggle. Under a government by a
ministry, conflicts involving civil war are not to be feared;
the majority in parliament controls purse and sword ; if the
monarch was to take his own course, the ministry would be
impeached, and parliament would prove strongest. The
great danger in England and in our country—here more than
there—is from corrupting influence, which is unavoidable
so long as public men are assailable by corrupt motives. In
the United States there can well be a contest between the
president personally, and the legislature, arising either from
a change of parties during a presidency, or from the peculiar
temper of the chief officer. The only signal instance of this
kind has been the contest between Andrew Johnson, presi-
dent by the death of Mr. Lincoln, and the congress—a con-
test which ended in a well-nigh successful impeachment.
Here the independent obstinacy of the head of the govern-
ment created the difficulty. Another man, less honest and
less dogged, might have sought to bring congress to his side
by corrupt means. But this trial of our constitution served
to show that no conflict between these coequal powers can
seriously threaten the government. For the president must
obstruct legislation by a veto, and if the people sustain him,
he conquers; if otherwise, he must soon come to the end
of his term of four years.
Most of the modern constitutional monarchies are so framed
that, if a conflict comes, the sovereign can get the better of
the parliament. Having been made under a dread of public
opinion as an influence on public measures, and by political
men attached to the principle of monarchy, these constitu-
tions naturally seek a support for monarchy as the main
moving power against a fluctuating public feeling. And
there is still much of loyalty to the king as a person, as con-