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POLITICAL PARTIES.                              559
fair to lose public confidence, and to render some other com-
binations necessary. And here we are brought to the pecu-
liarities of our party systems, their results on national charac-
ter, and to the question whether remedies can be successfully
applied for the cure of their too obvious evils.
The lines within which parties move in this country are
somewhat narrow. To a great extent, questions of foreign
relations lie outside of them. There is hardly a question of
importance now touching external intercourse, on which the
country would separate according to party divisions. For-
eign wars are not looked upon as probable, unless with weak
powers in our neighborhood, and these would be short, isola-
ted occurrences.
Within the lines where party can move, it may be by our
consitution unable at once to get possession of the administra-
tion. We have already said that the national parties, ia
great measure, control and direct those in the states. Hence,
these national parties, when they have once elected the presi-
dent of, their choice, are tolerably sure of a very important
control for at least four years. Even if a majority in both
houses should be against the "president, they could not have
their own way in managing the government. . His veto, his
appointing power, his direction through his cabinet of all for-
eign affairs, of the treasury, of the post-office, the army and
the navy, remain untouched. It is conceivable that a presi-
dent, with the two houses—especially with the senate—against
him, might encounter much factious opposition ; that he might
be obstructed in doing what was his unquestioned work; but
the plot, if there were one, to force him into a compromise
within his own sphere, would only recoil on its inventors.
The president, then, for his four years, is not only a power,
but a personal power. There is no denying that a self-willed
man in that place is intrenched by the constitution in a fort-
ress that cannot at once be taken. This personal power is
made up not so much of his having political opinions, as of
the appointments to office which are under his control, imme-
diately or directly. This power of appointment has presented