Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

288                               POLITICAL  SCIENCE.
few provisions of what we should call the Athenian constitu-
tion,  that  a   large  committee   of  law-makers   (tiomothetce)
should  examine  it,  that it  should be  put on  trial  before
them, so to speak, and then first be submitted to the assem-
bly.    At Rome the senate, besides other powers, could pass
decrees relating to various parts of the administration, which
answered to some  of the business  that now  comes before
legislatures.    Yet a rogation  or law proper, so called from
the question put to the people in the comitia by the presiding
officer whether they would accept of a law, was  outside of
the senate's competence.    In order to come before the co-
mitia the project of a law needed to be announced before-
hand, but the same comitia of the people before which it first
came could make it become a law, and the senate had no
authority to prevent its passage.    The checks to hasty legis-
lation lay in the arbitrary power of the presiding officer to
retard the passage of a law, to refuse to put a vote, and to
prorogue the  assembly re infecta;   in the intercessio of a
tribune  and in the influence  of the   senate.     When the
people's power passed over to the emperors the general rule
was that quod principi placuit legis haket  vigor em, but the
senate also, subject to his approval, could pass acts which were
binding as laws, and he was practically checked in the exercise
of his law-making power by the learned lawyers who belonged
to the consistory and framed his rescripts.    In the same way
substantially despots without parliaments have since man-
The original type of the assembly among a number of
'tribes and nations has already passed under review. When
the Roman empire was reconstructed, the old assemblies of
the gait and the kingdom could not be convened for judging
err for making laws. The Frank kings had their councils
where laws were proposed and in a manner accepted, but
what was done could hardly be called legislation. Still we
find that after the new kingdoms of Germanic origin had been
constituted, the leading powers in each nation participated
anew in the making of laws and the management of public