Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

be parties, but in advocating particular measures the repre-
sentative must no more be a partisan than he must seek the
interests of only one particular place or district.
Hence, if it were possible for the whole country to choose
all the representatives by a general ticket, and to have wisdom
enough to do this, no better mode of selecting them could b*e
desired. They would be chosen out of the number of the
wisest, wherever they could be found, and with the fewest
local jealousies. But only a community of angels could do
this. The people in the best educated lands, where they are
trained up for the duties of political life, know little of the
men fit for serving the community who live three hundred
miles away from them. How could they intelligently cast
their votes for one or two hundred strangers ? The more
democratic the people, the lower down suffrage descends,
the worse things would be. We may lay it down that gene-
ral tickets are undesirable both for this reason and for a
reason of still greater importance, that they shut out th,e
opinion of the minority from having any weight whatever,
and in this way carry the principle that the majority shall
govern to a rigorous tyrannical extreme. They prevent
light from being thrown into legislatures, they render the
minorities disaffected, intriguing, possibly rebellious.
Small districts, returning each its member, are then far to
be preferred ; they are what now the practice of all free states
accepts. But still difficulties and inconveniences stand in our
way. It can and often does happen that opinion is concen-
trated in one place and diffused in others. Hence an actual
majority in a state may have a minority in the chamber or
chambers. Let there be, for instance, one hundred and
twenty districts returning two members each, of which one
hundred give, on an average, a majority of one hundred
votes to the candidates whom they elect. Here we have a
majority of ten thousand. But it is quite conceivable that
each of the other twenty may give, on an average, a majority
of- eleven hundred votes to their successful candidates.
Here we have twelve thousand more votes given by those