Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

368                              POLITICAL SCIENCE.
rable. The government of France under Louis XIV. was
thoroughly central, yet the administration was much less
central than it came to be after that time, and was when De
Tocqueville wrote under Louis Philippe. In England, he
adds, the centralization of government is carried to great per-
fection ; and so far from supposing that the American govern-
ments are not sufficiently centralized, he undertakes to prove
that they are too much so. " The legislative bodies daily
encroach upon the authority of the government, and their
tendency, like that of the French convention, is 'to appropri-
ate it entirely to themselves/* (i., 91.) If we understand this
passage, it means the transfer of authority from one branch,
the executive, to another, the legislative, which certainly may
be an evil, and in some respects is admitted to be one in all
the reformed constitutions, which limit the power of the legis-
latures. Yet, on the whole, the authority of the state govern-
ments, where one independent body administers, another
interprets the laws, where all the officials are responsible, and
can enforce what they claim to be the observance of the law
only by trial before the courts in the last instance, is not
excessive. The general government can be defended with
less justice. from the tendency towards centralization. In
order, however, to compare governmental power in this
country with the same power in countries where no federal
system exists, must we not compare the sum total of attri-
butes, both of the state and the general governments, with the
powers of a simple one as of a united monarchy ? If we so
proceed, we shall not, I think, find them greater here than
elsewhere in theory, and the constitutional checks are great
as between the government of the state and that of the union.
To prevent the undue strength of the general government,
there must be responsbility of every executive officer who
advises and administers, down to the lowest functionary. If a
case has been brought before the courts, it must serve as a
precedent binding on all officials. The meanest person mustl
be able to get justice, not by petition addressed to the head ,:
of the government, but by prosecution before an impartial;;