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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

270                              POLITICAL  SCIENCE.
*
chief magistrates, with which, as we have said, aristocracies
are familiar, was tried in several of the constitutions of revo-
lutionary France. A directory of five appears in that of 1795.
In that of 1799 three consuls appear holding for ten years and
re-eligible, and the same three held office by the senatus con-
sultum of 1802. Thus the way was paved for the empire.
We find also that there was a proposition, made in the con-
vention for making our present constitution, to have two
officers, which was, happily, we think, not approved.
There have been instances even of two sovereigns with dis-
similar powers, like the two lately existing in Japan—one, the
representative of the old sovereignty and the religious head
of the nation ; the other the principal feudal chieftain, acquir-
ing his high position in recent times, and reminding one of
the mayors of the palace under the later Merovingians. We
find again in aristocratic states sometimes a number of equal
executive officers, a kind of council without a head, which
governs with vigor and unity so long as the aristocracy is not
divided into factions ; then one party generally sides with
the people and overturns the government.
In modern times the tendency has been, both in republics
and in monarchies, to have one chief magistrate—elected, in
'the former of these classes of states, for a short term of years,
and in the other (not taking kings elected for life into ac-
count, since, with the fall of Poland, they have disappeared
from Christian states), hereditary monarchs. The advantages
of a single chief are obvious : he is able to bring unity and
efficiency into his government, and, being alone, he or his
ministry is responsible ; whereas, two presidents would be apt
to checkmate one another, if they were of different parties,
and would be jealous and rivals if they were of the same
party. How long their term of office ought to last, and
whether they should be re-eligible on the expiration of office,
if at all, are questions to. be settled with reference to the po-
litical feelings of the people. Our constitution gives to the,
president a term of four years, and lays no restriction on his
re-election ; but the example of Washington, and a strong feel- •