The American Governor from Figurehead to Leader

The American Governor from Figurehead to Leader

The American Governor from Figurehead to Leader

The American Governor from Figurehead to Leader

Excerpt

If a people can solve the problem of the right relation between the legislative and executive branches of their government, they have gone far toward the firm establishment of popular rule. This accord, this working relationship, this salutary balance -- call it any of these -- is one of the truly great and continuing problems of statecraft. It belongs in the same high category with such questions as what justice is and how it may be secured; what the state may do to assist the cultivation of those conditions which encourage the good life; how the independence of the judiciary can be guaranteed without its exerting an overweening power; and how the public can know that the government is doing all that is required by need and long-range public interest but not more than it is good that it should do and is capable of administering.

From the earliest times political philosophers have been aware of the importance of a proper legislative-executive balance. This question, and the closely related one of citizen participation, was perhaps the chief institutional problem of the Greek city-state. Even if it be assumed that that polity is best in which citizens are elected by lot, as was done in Athens for a considerable period of time, there still remains the problem of giving the military and civil officials such a degree of autonomy as is necessary for successful action and yet is consonant with continuing popular participation, effective criticism, and assured public control.

One of the outstanding emphases inAristotle Politics is upon the dangers of mass participation and diffused responsibility, leading in turn to breakdowns and excesses, the two extremes of democracy which conduce a dictatorial rule.

The question of the proper relationship between policy formation and administrative execution appears as an unbroken . . .

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