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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

DEPARTMENTS  OF   GOVERNMENT IN A STATE.        319
percentage, unless in certain great and definite exigencies.
Some of these restrictions already appear in the constitutions
of a number of the states ;. thus divorces are chiefly confined
to the jurisdiction of courts of justice, which were formerly,
after the example of the English parliament, granted by the
legislature.
Other restrictions that deserve mention relate to the time
of holding office, the length of the sessions, the power of the
executive to dissolve the chambers, and the veto.
1.  No general rule can be given except that a very short
term of legislative service,  such as prevails in many of the
states of our union, is destructive of good legislation, and
calls forth unnecessary political excitements.    If the reforms
introduced into several of the newest constitutions shall be
found to  abridge  the  length of sessions,  it  will  be quite
possible to have but one in two years, and at all events the
term of two years for holding the office will be found to be
better than that of one.    But the plan of periodical renewal
which I shall presently speak of is probably better still.
2.   In regard to the length of sessions a plan has been hit
upon in some of the United States, which is worthy of men-
tion:-it is to give the legislators either an allowance of so
much1 for the session, in which case they would have a motive
to despatch business, or to pay them so much per diem for a
certain number of days, after which they must pay their own
expenses, or, finally, to provide that the session shall close
at a certain date.     Whenever the useless and  even  hurtful
power of special legislation is taken away, it will be easy to
close sessions within a reasonable period.
3.  The power to dissolve the chambers or estates was natu-
rally lodged in the mediaeval suzerain, for he called them
together for his own purposes.     The uses of the power in
the hands of the modern sovereign in England we have seen ;
in fact, it has appeared to be the hinge on which everything
turned.    But ought  the same power to  be  lodged in the
sovereign's hands in other constitutional kingdoms, or in that
of the chief officer in a republic.    Apart from the inconveni-