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CHIEF JUSTICE Hughes' ADDRESS
675 both stability and capacity for orderly progress in a world of turmoil and revolutionary upheavals. Gratifying as is the record of achievement, it would be extreme folly to engage in mere laudation or to surrender to the enticing delusions of a thoughtless optimism. Forms of government, however well contrived, cannot assure their own permanence. If we owe to the wisdom and restraint of the fathers a system of government which has thus far stood the test, we all recognize that it is only by wisdom and restraint in our own day that we can make that system last. If today we find ground for confidence that our institutions which have made for liberty and strength will be maintained, it will not be due to abundance of physical resources or to productive capacity, but because these are at the command of a people who still cherish the principles which underlie our system and because of the general appreciation of what is essentially sound in our governmental structure.
With respect to the influences which shape public opinion, we live in a new world. Never have these influences operated more directly, or with such variety of facile instruments, or with such overwhelming force. We have mass production in opinion as well as in goods. The grasp of tradition and of sectional prejudgment is loosened. Postulates of the past must show cause. Our institutions will not be preserved by veneration of what is old, if that is simply expressed in the formal ritual of a shrine. The American people are eager and responsive. They listen attentively to a vast multitude of appeals and, with this receptivity, it is only upon their sound judgment that we can base our hope for a wise conservatism with continued progress and appropriate adaptation to new needs.
We shall do well on this anniversary if the thought of the people is directed to the essentials of our democracy. Here in this body we find the living exponents of the principle of representative government, not government by direct mass action, but by representation which means leadership as well as responsiveness and accountability.
Here, the ground-swells of autocracy, destructive of parliamentary independence, have not yet upset or even disturbed the authority and responsibility of the essential legislative branch of democratic institutions. We have a national government equipped with vast powers which have proved to be adequate to the development of a great nation, and at the same time maintaining the balance between centralized authority and local autonomy. It has been said that to preserve that balance, if we did not have states we should have to create them. In our forty-eight states we have the separate sources of power necessary to protect local interests and thus also to preserve the central authority, in the vast variety of our concerns, from breaking down under its own weight. Our states, each with her historic background and supported by the loyal sentiment of her citizens, afford opportunity for the essential activity of political units, the advantages of which no artificial terrtiorial arrangement could secure. If our checks and balances sometimes prevent the speedy action which is thought desirable, they also assure in the long run a more deliberate judgment. And what the people really want, they generally get. With the ultimate power of change through amendment in their hands they are always able to obtain whatever a preponderant and abiding sentiment strongly demands.
We not only praise individual liberty but our constitutional system has the unique distinction of insuring it. Our guaranties of fair trials, of due process in the protection of life, liberty, and property—which stands between the citizen and arbitrary powerof religious freedom, of free speech, free press, and free assembly, are the safeguards which have been erected against the abuses threatened by gusts of passion and prejudice which in misguided zeal would destroy the basic interests of democracy. We protect the fundamental rights of minorities, in order to save democratic government from destroying itself by the excesses of its own power. The firmest ground for confidence in the future is that more than ever we realize that, while democracy must have its organization and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty.
I am happy to be here as the representative of the tribunal which is charged with the duty of maintaining, through the decision of controversies, these constitutional guaranties. We are a separate but not an independent arm of government. You, not we, have the purse and the sword. You, not we, determine the establishment and the jurisdiction of the lower federal courts and the bounds of the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. The Congress first assembled on March 4, 1789, and on September 24, as its twentieth enactment, passed the Judiciary Act—to establish the judicial court of the United States—a statute which is a monument of wisdom, one of the most satisfactory acts in the long history of notable congressional legislation. It may be said to take rank in our annals as next in importance to the Constitution itself.
In thus providing the judicial establishment, and in equipping and sustaining it, you have made possible the effective functioning of the department of government which is designed to safeguard with judicial impartiality and independence the interests of liberty. But in the great enterprise of making democracy workable we are all
CHECKS AND BALANCES
partners. One member of our body politic cannot say to another"I have no need of thee.” We work in successful cooperation by being true, each department to its own function, and all to the spirit which pervades our institutions---exalting the processes of reason, seeking through the very limitations of power the promotion of the wise use of power, and finding the ultimate security of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and the promise of continued stability and a rational progress, in the good sense of the American people. The VICE PRESIDENT. Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of
. the United States.
ADDRESS OF HONORABLE FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES MR. VICE PRESIDENT, Mr. Speaker, Gentlemen of the Supreme Court, Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Gentlemen of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We near the end of a three-year commemoration of the founding of the government of the United States. It has been aptly suggested that its successful organizing should rank as the eighth wonder of the world—for surely the evolution of permanent substance out of nebulous chaos justifies us in the use of superlatives.
Thus, we may increase our oratory and please our vanity by picturing the period of the War of the Revolution as crowded with a unanimous population of heroes dramatized by the admitted existence of a handful of traitors to fill the necessary role of villain. Nevertheless, we are aware today that a more serious reading of history depicts a far less pleasing scene.
It should not detract from our satisfaction in the result to acknowledge that a very large number of inhabitants of the thirteen revolting colonies were opposed to rebellion and to independence; that there was constant friction between the Continental Congress and the Commander in Chief and his generals in the field; that inefficiency, regardless of the cause of it, was the rule rather than the exception in the long drawn out war; and finally that there is grave doubt as to whether independence would have been won at all if Great Britain herself had not been confronted with wars in Europe which diverted her attention to the maintenance of her own existence in the nearer arena.
We can at least give thanks that in the first chapter all was well that ended well, and we can at least give thanks to those outstanding figures who strove against great odds for the maintenance of the national ideal which their vision and courage had created.