HOW WE ARE GOVERNED.
FOREIGNERS find much difficulty in understanding how there can be in the United States "two governments covering the same ground, commanding, with equally direct authority, the obedience of the same citizen." The explanation of this dual system must be sought in the history and development of our institutions.
The various English settlements on our Eastern seaboard began as charter, proprietary, and royal colonies. At the beginning of the struggle for independence they had already grown or coalesced, under the "salutary neglect" of the home Government, into thirteen vigorous and in the main self-governing communities, holding practically identical relations with the British Crown. All had developed legislative assemblies, claiming and exercising very large powers of local legislation. All acknowledged the right of England to legislate on imperial affairs, such as foreign or commercial relations. Distinct in territory, and independent of each other in government, their only political bond was this connection with the British Crown.
Under such circumstances, they formed, as Mr. Burke said, by imperceptible habits a familiarity with a double legislature," the one to deal with local and the other with imperial interests, sometimes perhaps performing the very same functions, but not very grossly or systematically clashing.
Their first resistance to the mother country was by voluntary co-operation through a Congress having nothing but revolutionary authority. After the Declaration of Independence they sought to form a closer union under the Articles of Confederation, whereby the colonies, now become States, "severally" entered into "a firm league of friendship with each other for the common defense" and "general welfare," and "for the more convenient management of the general interests of the United States." It was declared that, in so doing, "each State retains