« ПретходнаНастави »
away in the Teutonic conquests of the fifth and sixth centuries and in the revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was far less important than what persisted. The perennial belief of the radical reformer that the greater part of the social order needs to be changed, and that there is a presumption against any existing institution in proportion to its antiquity, springs from the concentration of his attention upon the things which he dislikes. This very concentration causes him to overlook the far more numerous things with which even he is content.
The presumption in favor of an ancient institution is nevertheless one that may be overthrown by evidence; and it is always legitimate to inquire whether it is not now antiquated. The historical argument in favor of manhood suffrage is commonly met by the assertion that conditions have changed. In the middle of the last century it was claimed that human society had passed from the militant to the industrial type of organization. During the last fifty years, however, the civilized portion of the world has been more militant than during the preceding fifty years. At present it is claimed, more vaguely, that we have at least emerged from the period when the state should be viewed as the organized force of the community and law should be regarded as an enforceable system
On the con-
This claim rests, unfortunately, rather on aspirations than on facts. There is really no evidence that the nature of the state or that of law has materially changed. I do not assert that the state has ever been based on force alone. trary, I emphatically repudiate any such theory. earliest stages of political organization, economic interests and what we may fairly call ethical forces have played an important part. It is nevertheless true that until the physical force of the community is brought under central control there is no state; and whenever this central control ceases to exist the state is in abeyance. That is to-day the condition of Mexico. When in November, 1914, President Gutierrez announced that the agreement between the leaders of the warring factions at Aguas Calientes had re-established "the government of the
people," he of course meant government by the consent of those people whose consent counted; and we must admit that, if the agreement had been generally and loyally observed, it would have gone far to re-establish the Mexican state.
It is still true, moreover, that force is the characteristic and proper implement of the state-the means by which the state realizes its purposes. That the state requires this implement in its international relations, and will probably require it for an indefinite future period, need hardly be argued to-day. Visions of universal peace appear only after long periods of peace. And it is quite clear, as Mr. Roosevelt has recently said, that if international war is ever to disappear, it will be suppressed through international federation and the development of an efficient international police. Even in the world state armed force will be required.
In the internal operation of government, also, force is still the characteristic and proper tool of the state. So far from being true of early forms of state alone, this becomes increasingly true in proportion as society grows more civilized and the state attains its highest development. An imperfectly developed state permits physical coercion by groups and associations within its territory. The fully developed state restricts the use of physical force, except by individuals in self-defense, to its official agencies: it asserts complete monopoly of force.
In our conception of law, again, the potential support of physical force cannot be disregarded. I do not assert that the substance of legal rules has at any period been determined by physical force; might has never made right. I maintain, however, that the rule that cannot be supported by physical force is not law, and is not any more like law to-day than in the earliest stages of legal development. A proposal to make a law involves two considerations: first, is the proposed rule desirable? second, shall it be supported by physical force? The first question is usually determined before voting begins. It is settled by all those complex processes through which public opinion is formed. In the formation of public opinion women have always played an important part. It is only in answering the second question that they have no voice.
From these points of view, it seems wholly reasonable that the determination of state policy and the making of law, directly or through chosen representatives, should be left to that part of the community which may be called upon to support the policy or to enforce the law with arms. Broadly-and all social arrangements are necessarily made on broad lines this means that such matters should be left to the adult males.
So long as force plays any part in the determination of policy, in the operation of government and in the maintenance of the legal order, there is possible and even probable danger in the inclusion of women in the electorate. We are accustomed to think that when we have voted, the defeated party must necessarily accept the result. The earliest method of counting votes was probably by division. The division was probably, at the outset, a line-up for a fight, and the submission of the shorter to the longer line was due to ocular demonstration that resistance would be hopeless. To-day we come nearest to such a demonstration when we hold a referendum, submitting a proposal to the direct vote of a masculine electorate. But under the representative system it is not always certain that the victorious party is really a majority. And when, as sometimes happens, the struggle is one in which important sectional or class interests are at stake and party feeling rises to passion, if the defeated party does not believe that the victorious party really possesses superior physical force, there is serious risk that it will resort to the wager of battle. In our own country, in 1860, Lincoln had a majority in the electoral college. The Southerners knew, however, that he was a minority president, and they declined to accept the result. In England, in 1913, an Irish home-rule bill was passed by a considerable parliamentary majority. The men of Ulster and the Unionists asserted that this majority in Parliament did not represent the majority of the men in Great Britain. A referendum was suggested to test the point, but it proved impossible to carry such a proposal through Parliament. James Russell Lowell once said that voting was counting heads in
place of breaking them. Here was a case where the count could not be made and the breaking was imminent.
highly probable that civil war was averted only by the outbreak of the European war.
We are accustomed to think, again, that laws and judgments of courts are practically self-executing. This impression is in part due to the fact that the more perfect our administrative machinery becomes, and the more certain it is that force will be used if it be needed, the less often is it necessary to use force. But when class interests are involved and class feeling runs high, obedience to the law is by no means assured. In some of our states the struggle between employers and employed is so keen as to amount to continuous latent war; and not infrequently it comes to open war. A similar situation exists in some of our states in consequence of race hostility.
When the results of an election are peacefully accepted by the defeated party, and when laws and judgments appear to be self-executing, it seems highly probable that acquiescence still depends to some extent upon the conviction that resistance is hopeless. If now we inject into the electorate that portion of the adult population which does not represent fighting force -which was taken off the fighting line when men advanced from savagery to barbarism—what will be the effect upon the men who have been defeated in elections or who object to the enforcement of particular laws? Their disposition to acquiesce will certainly not be increased. How far it will be lessened depends on two further questions. The first of these questions is whether, in any given case, these men are likely to believe that the election was carried or the law established by the votes of women rather than by those of men. Where this is not ascertainable, they may choose to believe whatever they wish to believe. The second and more fundamental question is, how far the most civilized nations of the present day have emerged from barbarism and become wholly and sweetly reasonable. It is not until this last evolution is completed that men will always and unhesitatingly accept a vote as an expression of the social will, ceasing to ask or to care how much force there is behind the will.
RECENT EXPERIENCE WITH THE INITIATIVE,
REFERENDUM AND RECALL
CHARLES FREMONT TAYLOR
Editor of Equity, Philadelphia
HEN we realize that the constitution of every state in
the Union, except Delaware, has been adopted by referendum to the voters of the respective states, we see that the referendum is no new thing. When we realize that every amendment to every state constitution, except that of Delaware, has been adopted by referendum to the voters of the respective states, and that at every general election new amendments are submitted either by action of the legislature or by means of the voters' initiative in one or more states, we see that the referendum is a "going concern." As an illustration, amendments more or less numerous were referred to the voters at the recent election, November 3, in the following states, the number in parenthesis following the name of each state denoting the number of amendments submitted: Arizona (5), California (30), Colorado (8), Georgia (10), Kansas (2), Louisiana (17), Michigan (4), Mississippi (9), Missouri (11), Nebraska (4), North Dakota (6), Ohio (4), Oklahoma (4), Oregon (20), South Carolina (11), South Dakota (8), Texas (3), Washington (1), Wisconsin (9), Wyoming (4), and Arkansas-September election—(3).
However, by no means all of these submissions were in the so-called initiative and referendum states. Of the states mentioned above, the voters' constitutional initiative does not exist. in the following: Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Hence the amendments in these states were submitted necessarily in the old-fashioned way; that is, by the legislatures.