Party Government in the United States of America

By William Milligan Sloane | Go to book overview

III
CONSTITUTIONS AND ELECTIONS

Detestation of party--No theoretical separation of powers--Inherited institutions -- The presidency a development of governor's office--Evolution of the legislature--System of courts changed least of all--The High Court of States: Supreme Court of United States -- Social classes -- Resemblance -- Difference-- Absence of discontent--British attitude toward America--The effect of environment on inchoate institutions.

IT is now a well-known fact that every single feature of government embodied in the Constitution of the United States was taken from devices existing in at least one of the State constitutions, and that its makers not only neglected to provide for party machinery, but were hostile to party government. The devices which they selected from among the political habits of the people were those most likely to minimize partisan agitation, notably that of the electoral college for choosing a President. There was no idealism or theory in the American Revolution: there were not even any definite, logical, adequate causes for it, except the all-sufficient one of distance from the metropolis. Had communication between New York and London been what it is to-day, most probably there would have been no separation. The colonial institutions were frankly English institutions; State institutions as embodied in State constitutions modified them slightly in the light of experience; the federal Con-

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