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traordinary occasions, it might be perfidiously abused. May not this defect of an absolute negative be supplied by some qualified connexion between this weaker department, and the wonker branch of the stronger department, by which the latter may be led to support the constitutional rights of the former, without being too much detached from the rights of its own department ?
If the principles on which these observations are founded be just, as I persuade myself they are, and they be applied as a criterion to the several state constitutions, and to the federal constitution, it will be found, that if the lattor does not porfoctly correspond with them, the former are infinitely less able to bear such a test.
There are moreover two considerations particularly applicable to the federal system of America, which place it in a very interesting point of view.
First Ind single republic, all the power surrendered by the people is submitted to the administration of a single government; and the usurpations are guarded against, by a division of the government into distinct and separate departments. In the compound_republic of America, the power surrendered by the people, is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departmonts. Henco a double socurity arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other; at the same time that each will be controled by itself.
Second. It is of great importance in -a-republic, not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers; but to guard one part of the society against the injustice of the other part. Different interests necessarily exist in different classes of citizens. If a majority be united-by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecūre. There are but two methods of providing against this evil: The one by creating a will in the-community independent of the majority, that is, of the society itself; the other by comprehending in the go iety
80 many separate descriptions of citizens, as will render an unjust_combination of a majority of the whole very improbable, if not impracticable. The first method prevails in all governments possessing an hereditary or self-appointed authority. This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society, may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties. The second method, will be exemplified in the federal republic of the United States. Whilst all authority in it will be derived from, and dependent on the society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.) In a froe government, the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other, in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of iuterests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of country and number of people comprehended under the same government. This view of the subject, must particuInrly recommend a proper federal system, to all the sincere and considerato friends of republican government: since it shows, that in exact proportion, as the territory of the union may be
rmed into more circumscribed confederacies, or states, oppressive combinations of a majority will be facilitated, the best security under the republican form, for the rights of every class of citizens, will be diminished; and consequently, the stability and independence of some member of the government, the only other security must be proportionably increased. Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been, and ever' will be pursued, until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit. In a society, under the forms of which the stronger faction can readily unito and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly be said to reign, as in a state of nature where the weaker individual is not secured
against tho violence of the stronger: And as in the latter state even the stronger individuals are prompted by the uncertainty of their condition, to submit to a government, which may protect the weak, as well as thomselves: so in the former state, will the more poworful factions be gradually inducod by a liko motive, to wish for a government which will protect all parties, the weaker as well as the more powerful. It can be littlo doubted, that if the state of Rhode Island was separated from the confederacy, and left to itself, the insecurity of rights under the popular form of government within such narrow limits, would be displayed by such reiterated oppressions of factions majorities, that some power altogether independent of the people, would soon be called for by the voice of the very factions whose mispule had proved the necessity of it. In the extended republic of the United States, and among the great variety of interests, parties, and sects, which it embraces, a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place upon any etbox principles, than those of justice
and the general good: Whilst there being thus less danger to a minor from the wilt of the major party, there must be less pretext also, to provide for the security of the former, by introducing into the government a will not dependent on the latter: or, in other words, a will independent of the society itself. It is no less certain than it is important, notwithstanding the contrary opinions which have been entertained, that the larger the society, provided it lie within a practicable sphere, the more duly capable it will be of self-government. And happily for the republican cause, the practicable sphere may be carried to a very great extent, by a judicious modification and mixture of the federal prin) ciple
NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 8, 1788.
CONCERNING THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WITH A VIEW TO
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE ELECTORS AND ELECTED, AND THE TIME OF SERVICE OF TIIE MEMBERS.
From the moro general inquiries pursued in the four last papers, I pass on to a more particular examination of the several parts of the government. I shall begin with the house of representatives.
The first view to be taken of this part of the government, relates to the qualifications of the electors, and the elected.
Those of the former, are to be the same, with thoso of the electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislatures. Tho definition of the right of suffrago, is very justly rogardod as a fundamental article of republican government. It was incumbent on the convention, therefore, to define and establish this right in the constitution. To have left it open for the occasional regulation of the congress, would have been improper for the reason just mentioned. To have submitted it to the legislative discretion of the states, would havo been improper for tho samo ronson; and for tho additional roason, that it would havo rendered too dependent on the state governments, that branch of tho federal government, which ought to be dependent on the people alone. To have reduced the different
qualifications in the different states to one uniform rule, would probably have been as dissatisfactory to some of the states, as it would have been difficult to the convention. The provision made by tho convention appears, therefore, to be the best that lay within their option. It must be satisfactory to every state ; because it is conformable to the standard already established, or which may be established by the state itself. It will be safe to the United States; because, being fixed by the state constitutions, it is not alterable by the state governments, and it cannot be feared that the people of the states will alter this part of their constitutions, in such a manner as to abridge the rights secured to them by the federal constitution.
The qualifications of the elected, being less carefully and properly defined, by the state constitutions, and being at the same time more susceptible of uniformity, have been very properly considered and regulated by the convention. A reprosentative of the United States, must be of the age of twentyfive years; must have been seven years a citizen of the United States; must, at the time of his election, be an inhabitant of the state he is to represent, and during the time of his service, must be in no office under the United States. Subject to these reasonable limitations, the door of this part of the federal gov. ernment is open to merit of every description, whether native or adoptive, whether young or old, and without regard to poverty or wealth, or to any particular profession of religions faith.
The term for which the representatives are to be elected, falls under a second view which may be taken of this branch. In order to decide on the propriety of this article, two questions must be considered; first, whether biennial elections will, in this case, be safe; secondly, whether they le necessary or useful.
First. As it is essential to liberty, that the government in general should have a common interest with the people; so it is particularly essential, that the branch of it under consideration should have an immediate dependence on, and an intimate