Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats


least, checked by means of personal candidacy, by minor-
ity representation, and voting independently of party, the
indirect election would be much the less evil of the two ;
although in a democratic state where the single election pre-
vailed it would stand little chance of being substituted for the
other. The reader will find something further on this sub-
ject in the sections on parties in democratic states.*

In the system of estates, as has appeared, there were three
Number of cham- or  even  fur distinct bodies, which often sat
bers<                 aPart-     Two  chambers  became,   as we have
seen, rather by historical accident than by any political tact,
the established usage under the constitution of England, and
* Mr. J. S. Mill discusses this subject in chap. 9 of his Considera-
tions on Representative Government. He makes two points against
indirect elections. The first is that the benefits incident to popular
power are more certainly lessened by such elections than the dan-
gers. The danger lies in entrusting with a vote for a member of
parliament, a person who has not intellect and instruction enough to
judge who would best fill such a place, and yet could pick out from
among his neighbors a person fully able to judge and choose with
wisdom. The benefit would lie in the public spirit and political
intelligence which would be developed by the necessity of making
a direct choice, while an indirect choice has no effect in cultivating
either. Moreover, the voter who cannot cast a direct vote, cannot
be expected to take much interest in the indirect one. Would he
not, then, fail to discharge it? Again, if a person without intelli-
gence is not a sufficient judge of the fitness of a person offered to his
choice to be a member of parliament, and really wishes to have some
one make the choice for him, "he has only to ask this confidential
person whom he had better vote for. In this case the two modes
of election coincide in their result, and every advantage of indirect
election is obtained under the direct." If, however, he desires to
make what would be substantially a direct choice when he can only
cast a primary vote, "he has only to choose a well-known partisan
of the candidate whom he prefers, or some one who will pledge him-
self to vote for that candidate." The force of all this may be ad-
mitted, and yet we may reply that he who cannot vote directly with
intelligence would not take wise counsel whom he should vote for,
but would assuredly in most cases take the advice of a plausible