Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York

By Peter J. Galie | Go to book overview

vided the educational foundations for constitutional reform for the next twenty years. By 1927, through the work of Governor Alfred E. Smith, Robert Moses, Belle Moskowitz, and others, amendments were adopted providing for executive consolidation, the short ballot, and an executive budget. Of the thirty-three changes recommended in 1915, a majority had been adopted by 1935, including women's suffrage, home rule for the cities, and provisions concerning the judiciary. The accomplishments of the 1915 convention paved the way for those later successes. Its proposals presaged the shift of power in state government from the legislative to the executive branch, providing affirmative grants of power to the executive. However, its move toward a parliamentary democracy has not taken hold in the constitutional culture of New York.

At a reunion dinner of the delegates to the 1915 convention, Elihu Root gave a fitting assessment of their work: "I think it makes but little difference whether a man gives his life and his service to laying the foundation and building up the structure, or whether he is the man that floats a flag on the battlements and cries, 'Victory'." 44


NOTES
1.
Revised Record of the Constitutional Convention of the State of New York, 1915, 4 vols. ( Albany: J. B. Lyons, 1916), IV, p. 4380 (hereinafter referred to as Rev. Rec.).
2.
Dougherty, Constitutional History of the State of New York, 2nd ed., p. 377.
3.
Peter Hoffer and N. E. H. Hull, Impeachment in America, 1635-1805 ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), pp. xi, 59-67.
4.
Croswell and Sutton, Debates and Proceedings, 1846, p. 436.
5.
Lincoln, Constitutional History, IV, p. 603.
6.
Annual Message to the Legislature, January 1, 1913. Public Papers of William Sulzer, Governor, 1913 ( Albany: J. B. Lyon, 1914).
7.
Proceedings of the Court for the Trial of Impeachments: The People of the State of New York by the Assembly Thereof Against William Sulzer as Governor, 1913, 2 vols. ( Albany: J. B. Lyon Co., 1913), hereafter Court for the Trial of Impeachments. See Jacob Friedman, The Impeachment of Governor William Sulzer ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1939) for full treatment.
8.
See "Tammany and the Sulzer Case," The American Review of Reviews, XLVIII ( 1913), pp. 531-533.
9.
New York Code of Criminal Procedure, Sec. 12 ( 1913).
10.
Court for the Trial of Impeachments, I, pp. 46-47.
11.
163 A.D. 725 ( 1914).
12.
Court for the Trial of Impeachments, II, p. 1596.
13.
This conclusion is based on the analysis of cases found in New York's Impeachment Law and the Trial of Governor Sulzer: A Case for Reform ( Albany: New York State Senate Judiciary Committee, 1986), pp. 31-38.

-201-

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