Progressive Democracy: Addresses & State Papers

Progressive Democracy: Addresses & State Papers

Progressive Democracy: Addresses & State Papers

Progressive Democracy: Addresses & State Papers

Excerpt

The addresses and public papers of Governor Smith present such an embarrassment of riches that a mere chronological arrangement would necessitate an arbitrary choice of a few from an overwhelming number. The selection has been made so as to set forth the progressive democracy he represents. It covers his public career as legislator; president of the Board of Aldermen of New York City; delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1915; and his four terms as governor.

Since he is essentially a man of action, Smith's speeches are frequently occasioned by an issue. They show him a militant champion of causes.

In his struggle to preserve liberty, personal, religious and civil, he formulated his conceptions of freedom under law in addresses, and particularly in State papers.

The reply to Charles C. Marshall in the Atlantic Monthly of April, 1927, is his most comprehensive treatment of the relation between Church and State. He formulated his principles of civil liberty in his vetoes of the laws passed by the Legislature to check revolutionary radicalism by methods which violated fundamental rights guaranteed the individual in a democracy. His approval of the repeal of the State act enforcing the Eighteenth Amendment sets forth his views in considerable detail on law enforcement and modification of the Volstead Act and the responsibility of a State government towards these issues.

"Equal opportunity for all and special privilege to none" is particularly dear to the progressive Democrat. As a general formula it sounds good and is harmless, but to apply it . . .

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