Law Observance: Shall the People of the United States Uphold the Constitution?

By W. Durant C. | Go to book overview
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GOVERNMENT AND PUBLIC CO-OPERATION

Ernest H. Cherrington, General Secretary World League Against Alcoholism Washington, D. C.

BEFORE considering a plan the country's lawmakers and enforcers must first analyze the foundations of that plan. In making the 18th Amendment effective those foundations include present conditions, existing facts and various fundamentals here summarized.

Recognizing conditions. The purpose of the 18th Amendment is directly to prohibit the traffic in, and indirectly to prohibit the use of, beverage alcohol. This plan proposed for making that Amendment effective, involves recognizing that constitutions do not enforce themselves; that laws live by action of officials; and that public opinion is the dynamic force back of government.

Facing the facts. This plan requires facing the fact that while American public sentiment has been shown to be emphatically favorable to the 18th Amendment as a standard of conduct, nevertheless there is as yet no such degree of sanction for enforcement and observance; and that there is widespread and flagrant disregard of that Amendment and the laws pursuant thereto.

Fundamentals. This plan, moreover, is constituted upon the assumption that free government can effectuate itself; that the perpetuation of democratic institutions requires observance of laws by the classes as well as by the masses; that the rights of the people of the nation as a whole are paramount to those of a single individual, community or state; that time is an essential factor in making effective prohibitions against great social evils, as evidenced by such cases as those of piracy, the slave trade, duelling, the pub

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