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And other Works.
And other Works.
And other Works.
ART. I.-I. Digest and Manual of the Rules and Practice of the House of Representatives, to which are added the Constitution of the United States of America, with the Amendments thereto. Compiled by the Journal Clerk of the House of Representatives. Washington, Government Printing Office. Second Session, 47th Congress.
2. The Federalist. A Commentary on the Constitution of the United States. By Alexander Hamilton, Jay, and Madison. Edited by John C. Hamilton. Philadelphia, 1877.
American Statesmen. Edited by John T. Morse, Jun. Boston, 1883.
Eighty Years of Republican Government in the United States. By Louis J. Jennings. Second Edition. London, 1868.
HE Constitution of the United States of America is much the most important political instrument of modern times. The country, whose destinies it controls and directs, has this special characteristic, that all the territories into which its" already teeming population overflows are so placed, that political institutions of the same type can be established in every part of them. The British Empire contains a much larger population, but its portions lie far apart from one another, divided by long stretches of sea, and it is impossible to apply the popular government of the British islands to all of them, and to none of them can it be applied without considerable modifications. Russia has something like the compactness of the United States, and her population is at present more numerous, although her numbers seem likely to be overtaken in no long time by those included in the American Federation. All the Russian Empire is nominally governed through the sole authority of the Emperor, but there are already great differences between the bureaucratic despotism of Western Russia and the military autocracy which presides over the East; and, whenVol. 157.-No. 313.
ever the crisis comes through which Russian institutions seem doomed to pass, the difference between the eastern and western systems of Russian Government cannot fail to be accentuated. But the United States of America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Canadian lakes to the Mexican border, appear destined to remain for an indefinite time under the same political institutions; and there is no evidence that these will not continue to belong to the popular type. Of these institutions, the most important part is defined by the Federal Constitution. The relative importance, indeed, of the Government of the United States and of the State Governments did not always appear to be as clearly settled as it appears at the present moment. There was a time at which the authority of the several States might be thought to be gaining at the expense of the authority of the United States; but the War of Secession reversed this tendency, and the Federation is slowly but decidedly gaining at the cost of the States. Thus, the life and fortunes of the most multitudinous and hor rous population in the world will, on the whole and in rain, be shaped by the Constitution of the United
The political liberty of the United States exercises more or less influence upon all forms of free government in the older world. But to us of the present generation it has the greatest interest for another reason. The success of the United States has sustained the credit of Republics-a word which was once used with a good deal of vagueness to signify a government of any sort without an hereditary king at its head, but which has lately come to have the additional meaning of a government resting on a widely-extended suffrage. It is not at all easy to bring home to the men of the present day how low the credit of Republics had sunk before the establishment of the United States. We recently called attention to the language of contempt in which the writers of the last century speak of the Republics then surviving. The authors of the famous American collection of papers called the 'Federalist,' of which we shall have much to say in this article, are deeply troubled by the ill-success and ill-repute of the only form of government which was possible for them. The very establishment of their independence had left them a cluster of Republics in the old sense of the word, and, as hereditary kingship was out of the question, their Federal Constitution was necessarily Republican. They tried to take their own The Prospects of Popular Government;' 'Quarterly Review,' vol. 155,