THE word tactics, derived from the Greek, and rendered familiar by its application to one branch of the military art,1 signifies, in general, the art of setting in order. It may serve to designate the art of conducting the operations of a political body, as well as the art of directing the evolutions of an army.
Order supposes an end. The tactics of political assemblies form the science, therefore, which teaches how to guide them to the end of their institution, by means of the order to be observed in their proceedings.
In this branch of government, as in many others, the end is, so to speak, of a negative character. The object is to avoid the inconveniences, to prevent the difficulties, which must result from a large assembly of men being called to deliberate in common. The art of the legislator is limited to the prevention of everything which might prevent+ the development of their liberty and their intelligence.
The good or evil which an assembly may do depends upon two general causes:--The most palpable and the most powerful is its composition; the other is its method of acting. The latter of these two causes alone belongs to our subject. The composition of the assembly-- the number and the quality of its members--the mode of its election-- its relation to the citizens or to the government;--these things all belong to its political constitution.
Upon this great object, I shall confine myself to observing, that the composition of a legislative assembly will be the better in proportion with the greater number of the points of its contact with the nation;____________________