The American Road to World Peace

By Alfred Zimmern | Go to book overview

According to this pattern, the constitutional "way of life" requires provision for a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. As a recent writer puts it: "In a unitary government . . . the constitution needs to provide no more than the structure, in general terms, of the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary; the nature, in broad outline, of their mutual relations; and the nature of their relations to the community itself."

Let us apply this clear and concise formulation to the United Nations Charter, dealing with its institutions in the order given above: first the legislature, then the executive, then the judiciary, and finally their mutual relations and their relations to the peoples behind them, that is, to the United Nations themselves.


CHAPTER 64: The Legislature:
Its Place in the Constitution

THE legislature, in a modern state, is the governmental organ which is in the closest and most direct touch with the people. In ancient Greece it comprised the entire free male adult population, and the practice of "direct democracy," as it is called, is still to be found in some Swiss cantons and in the time-honored New England town meeting. But, apart from such occasional survivals, the modern legislature is not a meeting of the people, in the strict sense, but a meeting emanating from the people, through the use of the representative process.

The powers of such a representative body depend upon the exact pattern of the constitution; for on this point there is no standard type. In some states, of which Great Britain is a good example, the representative body, or Parliament, controls the executive. The ministers, or members of what is called "the Government--that is to say, the executive branch--occupy frontbench seats in Parliament, as the foremost representatives of their

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