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who are faithful, by prompt discipline or dismissal of those who are unfaithful. Those governments have been most efficient in which the "responsible" head of the administration has been provided with effective staff agencies-a personnel detached from directing responsibilitywhich, with the heads of departments (i. e., of the "line") are organized to consider and report on results obtained, as well as new plans submitted.

Responsiveness and Responsibility of Executive

The positiveness with which these expedients have acted, even where the forms of monarchy have been retained, as in Western Europe, in locating and enforcing responsibility and responsiveness on the executive has been convincing. For example, in England and Italy, as well as in France, fundamental democratic ideals and practices have been incorporated and made effective in government, although the hereditary monarchs still use the language of absolute rulers and speak of "my subject," "my army," "my government." Where democratic ideals are most highly developed, the hereditary monarch, if he still remains, avoids all active interference in politics, and as a means of providing for responsiveness and responsibility a prime minister is chosen. He, with the ministry organized by him, is made responsible through the representative body to the electorate. Even where the monarch participates to some extent in politics, he does so more or less under the guidance of such ministers and subject to the support of a majority. Thus the immediate conduct of the details of administration is vested in an executive board or directorate, known as the cabinet. The continuance of the cabinet in office depends, in each case, upon their responsiveness to public demands, upon the manner in which they use their discretionary authority, upon the honesty and competency of those whom they employ to transact public business, and upon the efficiency and economy with which public resources are used and protected.

The Mechanism of Popular Control

Furthermore, under these so-called monarchies, the mechanism for the exercise of popular control is made just as simple and direct as in a private corporation. In every instance this is done through the utilization of an "electorate" and the development of a procedure by means of which existing agencies of government may be employed for making the political issues as definite as the issues presented to a jury in courts of law. Agencies are also created for presenting statements of fact and arguments in support of contentions when issues are joined and a vote is taken, whether by the representative body or the electorate.

These are methods with which every man is familiar in the conduct of his ordinary corporate affairs.

Responsibility for Leadership

What is worthy of special attention is this: that in every representative government, whether republican or monarchical in form, where devices have been adopted for making government responsive and responsible, there has been no such thing as an irresponsible political boss. In other words, constitutional provision for responsible leadership has been found to be an essential ingredient of responsible government. In every country where responsible government obtains, the leader of the party in power necessarily is the one who is made to assume responsibility for the acts and proposals of the administration; and the leader of the "opposition" is made responsible just as soon as he obtains the support of a majority, i. e., when the leader of the opposition succeeds in retiring a responsible executive, either he must accept responsibility for the management, or retire in favor of someone in the opposition who will.



The constitution of the state provides for two kinds of governing agents:

1. An electorate, i. e., a personnel whose only official function is to register the decision of the citizens on questions or candidates brought before the several constituencies for expression of opinion.

2. Representatives and officers-a personnel which is charged with the duties of representing the electorate between elections, and of conducting the business of the state.

Leading Constitutional Questions Relating to Electorate The leading constitutional or legal questions relating to the electorate therefore are:

1. Who shall constitute the electorate?

2. What shall be the organization and procedure for formulating and presenting issues and questions to the electorate so that they may be understood and publicly discussed?

3. What shall be the organization and procedure for taking a vote-i. e., for getting a true expression of opinion that will be binding on the official personnel of the government?


The question as to who shall constitute the electorate should be a matter of community judgment, founded upon considerations of expediency, the welfare of the state, the moral rights of human beings, and broad principles of democracy. The function of the electorate being to register public opinion on issues and on the selection of persons for such offices as are to be filled by popular choice, the composition of the electorate, as a personnel to whom authority is given to express the popular will, should depend upon the relative competence of different classes of persons in the community to think intelligently about public needs, official proposals and official acts.

Composition in England After Magna Charta

Historically the composition of electorates has depended upon the prevailing judgment in each politically organized community with respect to the material and moral capabilities of persons and their fitness to partici

pate in the exercise of control over men and affairs. In England, after Magna Charta, the sovereign power was in the hands of the lay and spiritual baronage as great landlords; in the thirteenth century the landed. gentry and burgesses came to a share in the government as electors, and in the nineteenth century the workingmen of the towns and the agricultural laborers were admitted to the suffrage.

Who Constituted Electorate in 1777

At the time of the formation of the first constitution of the state of New York, the landed proprietors were in an overwhelming majority, and the leaders among them believed that the land owners were "the only safe depositaries of public power." Accordingly the first constitution gave the freeholders a special weight in the government by providing that the governor, the lieutenant governor, and the senators should be chosen by freeholders, the last named group by freeholders possessed of freeholds worth one hundred pounds over and above all debts charged thereon. With this material safeguard for the landed class securely established, a slighter property qualification was provided for voters for members of the assembly, which admitted to the suffrage renters and taxpayers and "freemen and "freemen" of the cities of New York and Albany.

Initially, Electorate a Small Fraction of the Citizenship

These qualifications, as slight as they were for the voters for assemblymen, excluded from the suffrage a considerable portion of the adult. males of the state. How large this portion was we cannot determine from the figures available, but we have a reliable statement to the effect that "The census of 1790 shows that out of a population of thirty thousand in New York City, there were but 1,209 freeholders of 100 pounds or over, 1,221 of 20 pounds, and 2,661 forty-shilling' freeholders." From scattered figures we may conclude that about one-third of the adult males were excluded from all participation in the state government, even in the election of assemblymen, under the constitution of 1777. It is estimated on the basis of a careful study that not more than 150,000 out of approximately 600,000 adult males or about four per cent. of the entire white population of the United States took part in the elections at which were chosen the members of the state conventions which ratified the federal constitution in 1787-1789.

Subsequent Enlargement of Electorate

Gradually the qualifications and limitations on the electorate were changed in response to public opinion and to altered conditions of social life. By the constitution of 1821, the special safeguards for landed property in the election of governor and assemblymen were swept away and the qualifications for voters for assemblymen were lowered. By an

amendment of 1826, all white males who complied with the resident requirements were empowered to vote for all elective officers, but property qualifications were retained for persons of color. The constitution of 1846, while continuing the adult white manhood suffrage, left property qualifications upon colored voters and these remained a part of the fundamental law until after the Civil War.

Thus step by step adult citizen manhood suffrage has been established in New York. The effect of this constitutional development is to place the voting power in the hands of about one-fifth of the citizen. population or about one-sixth of the total population of the state.

Controversy Over Present Provisions

The provisions of the present constitution which are subjects of controversy are those which relate to the exclusion of criminals, public charges, and women. With regard to the first the constitution says that the legislature shall enact laws excluding from the right of suffrage all persons convicted of bribery or any infamous crime and that "no person shall be deemed to have gained or lost a residence, while confined in any public prison." There seems to be no reason for changing this provision.

Public Charges Not Disfranchised

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With regard to public charges, the constitution does not disfranchise paupers; it merely states that no persons shall be deemed to have gained. or lost a residence for the purpose of voting while kept at any almshouse or other asylum, or institution wholly or partly supported at public expense or by charity. It is a common practice in European countries to exclude from the suffrage those who are or have been supported in public institutions, and in many instances, those who are or have been in receipt of what is known as out-door relief." And it has been contended that New York shall follow the example of European countries. At first glance, it would seem that such a constitutional provision would safeguard the state from undesirable voters, on the theory that any person in receipt of public relief could not possess the independence requisite for an elector. It is recognized, however, that as the people have come to be more dependent on urban industry, an increasingly large proportion of the working classes of our cities and towns are in receipt of public relief, at some time in their lives, and particularly during periods of widespread depression and unemployment. This makes it apparent that any such constitutional provision strictly enforced would disfranchise thousands of worthy citizens and would, in fact, amount to a restoration of a property qualification more exclusive in its operations than the provisions. swept away nearly one hundred years ago. Moreover the difficulties of administering and enforcing such a provision are well nigh insuperable,

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