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people may assemble at the seat of government. The New England "town
meeting" is almost the only example of a pure democracy in the world at
the present time; certainly the only example in the United States.

A _republic_, or _representative democracy_, is a government conducted
by representatives elected by the people.

The United States, Mexico, France, Switzerland, and all South American
nations are republics, and the republican principle of government is
growing in popularity throughout the civilized world.

No form of government is equally good for all peoples. A certain form
may be good for one country and bad for another country. A republic,
which is the best government for a well-educated and virtuous people,
is the worst for an ignorant and depraved people.

The excellence of a republican government depends upon the knowledge
and virtue of its citizens. The people are the rulers, and, if they
are wise and virtuous, they will rule well; if they are ignorant and
depraved, they will rule ill. Therefore the hope of a republic like
ours is, that its people will continue to grow wiser and better.

[1]Fiske's _Civil Government of the United States_.


1. Why is military government more severe than civil government?

2. Could society exist without law? Why?

3. Why is a republic a bad form of government for an ignorant people?

4. Are the people of the United States growing wiser and better?

5. Is this State improving in civilization?



The object of government is to protect the people, and to render
justice to them. _Justice_ is the security of rights. A _right_ is a
well-founded claim; that is, a just claim of one person upon other

_Rights_ are the most important things that a person can possess,
because his happiness depends upon them. They are real things, for
whose protection governments are instituted. The kind and extent of
the rights recognized and protected in any country determine the form
of its government. As a rule, there is more freedom among citizens of
a republic than among those of other governments, because a republic
guarantees more rights.


People have many rights, and they have as many duties. Each right
given to a person is a trust placed in his hands for him to discharge.
A right implies a duty, and a duty implies a right. Rights and duties
go hand in hand. For example, children have a right to the protection
of their parents, and this implies that it is the duty of children to
obey their parents.

CIVIL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. - Rights and duties are civil and political.
_Civil rights_ are sometimes called _inalienable rights_, because they
can not be justly taken away except as a punishment for crime. They
are chiefly those rights with which we are endowed by nature. They are
not conferred by any earthly power, but are given to every human being
at his birth. They are called civil rights, because they belong to the
citizen in his ordinary daily life. Among civil rights are:

1. _The right to personal security_; that is, the right to be free from
attack and annoyance;

2. _The right of personal liberty_; that is, to go when and where he
pleases, provided he does not trespass upon the rights of others; and

3. _The right of private property_; that is, the right to use, enjoy,
and dispose of what he has acquired by labor, purchase, gift, or

The greater part of these rights belong to men whether living in
society, that is, under government, or living without government.
Their natural rights are more extensive without society than with it,
but are far less secure. Without government natural rights are
unlimited; each person may lay claim to all land and to all it
produces, provided he is strong enough to maintain his claim by force.

When men join the social compact, they agree to abandon some of their
natural rights, in order to be protected by the government in those
which they retain; that is, each person agrees that in making his own
claims he will have due regard for the similar claims of others.

In entering the social compact, men also agree to submit their personal
claims to settlement by the law, instead of going to war to maintain
them. They agree to refer their disputes to courts established for
that purpose. As a rule, under government, right prevails; without
government, might prevails.

_Civil rights_ are divided into _industrial rights_, _social rights_,
and _moral_ or _religious rights_.

INDUSTRIAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. - It is the right and duty of each person
to provide in his own way, providing it is legal and honest, for
himself and those dependent upon him. All business transactions; the
search for homes, comforts, and wealth; agriculture, manufacturing,
mining, and commerce; the conduct of all professions, occupations, and
industries; the interests of farm laborers, operatives in factories,
miners, clerks, and all persons engaged in mental or physical labor,
are based upon industrial rights and duties.

The wages of people, the hours of labor, railway and telegraph lines,
canals, express companies, other common carriers, the various kinds of
employment, and the organization of men in different branches of
industry to advance their interests, are questions affecting industrial
rights. These rights underlie all efforts of people to improve their
financial condition.

SOCIAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. - Each member of society has rights as such,
and these are called _social rights_. They include the rights of
personal security and protection. They underlie all efforts for the
improvement of the social condition of the people. Society is
interested in better schools, in public health, in the reformation of
criminals, in good highways and streets, in safe buildings, in
well-lighted cities and villages, in the maintenance of charitable
institutions, in the establishment of sources of harmless amusement,
and in the preservation of peace and order.

The comfort and convenience of the public are even more important than
the comfort and convenience of any person. Therefore, individual
rights must yield to public rights when the two conflict. For example,
the land of a private citizen may be condemned by the proper
authorities, and be used for public highways or other public purposes.
The government pays the owner of the property condemned, but usually
less than his estimate of the value.

This right of society, existing above the right, of any of its members,
is called the RIGHT OF EMINENT DOMAIN. By it individual rights must
yield to the rights of society, of the government, or of a corporation.
A corporation is an association of individuals authorized by law to
transact business as a single natural person. Railway companies,
banks, chartered cities and villages, and the counties of some States
are corporations.

MORAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. - Man is a moral being; that is, he is
conscious of good and evil. Therefore he has moral rights and duties.

He has rights of conscience, with which it is not the province of
government to interfere. He naturally worships a Being superior to
himself, and feels the obligation to deal justly with his fellow-men.
He has a right to do and say all things which are not unlawful or wrong
within themselves. It is his right to worship when he pleases, whom he
pleases, and as he pleases.

The moral rights and duties of the people are concerned in the
maintenance of religion, the support of churches, in reverence for
things sacred, in acts of charity and benevolence, in living an upright
life, and in teaching lessons of morality, honesty, industry, and
usefulness. Whatever is implied in the word _ought_, correctly used,
is a moral duty.

POLITICAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES. - By the social compact, men also agree to
abandon a part of their natural rights in order to participate in the
government. They agree in part to be governed by others, in order that
in part they may govern others. The rights of participation in the
government, such as voting and holding office, are called political
rights, because they affect the public policy of society.

Political rights do not belong to men by nature, but are conferred by
government. Within reasonable bounds, they may be enlarged or
restricted without injustice. Since they are conferred by the
government, the power to vote and to hold office is a privilege to be
enjoyed rather than a right to be asserted.

In the United States the political rights of the people are carefully
set forth in the Constitution. The smallest functions of government,
such as the size and color of a postage stamp, or the employment of a
page in the State legislature, touch the political rights of the
citizen. Appointment and elections to public office, the enactment of
laws, and the performance of public duties are questions of political

Good laws, good administrations, and the perpetuity of the government
itself, depend upon the manner in which the people discharge their
public duties. A man who habitually fails to vote and to take interest
in the political affairs of his country may be a good man, but he is
certainly a bad citizen.

To be a good citizen is to aid intelligently in giving the people good
government. For a man to hold himself aloof from politics, unless his
action is based upon conscientious scruples, shows his interest in
himself, and his lack of interest in his country.


1. Why does happiness depend upon the maintenance of rights?

2. How do persons _born_ under government agree to be governed by the

3. If the claims of people as to their rights conflict, how is the
difference settled?

4. What is meant by the phrase "common carrier"?

5. Is it right for men to hold aloof from public affairs because there
is corruption in politics?



Through law rights are secured, and the performance of some duties is
enforced. _Law_ is a rule of action, prescribing what shall be done
and what shall not be done. Laws exist for the purpose of securing the
rights of the people. The enjoyment of rights is _liberty_.

As the enjoyment of rights depends upon their security, and as they are
secured by law, therefore liberty is based upon law. Without law there
could be no political liberty, and the civil liberty of the people
would be narrow and uncertain. It may be said, therefore, that there
can be no true liberty without law; but laws may be so many and so
stringent that there can be no liberty. Liberty and _just_ laws are

Liberty and rights are of the same kinds, _industrial_, _social_,
_moral_ or _religious_, and _political_. The words "rights," "law,"
and "liberty" are full of meaning, and in a free country suggest ideas
of the deepest reverence.

ORIGIN. - The laws of the country are partly human and partly divine.
They were framed by man, but some of them are based upon the laws of
God. Some are of recent origin, and many are so ancient that their
beginning can not be traced. When men began, to live in society, they
began to make laws, for laws at once became necessary. Laws are
undergoing constant changes, as new conditions arise and new customs


The _moral law_ prescribes our duties to men, and also to God. It is
summed up and revealed in the Ten Commandments, and is the same as the
law of nature taught us by our consciences.

The _common law_ consists of the principles and rules of action applied
by the courts in cases not regulated by express legislative acts. It
is the unwritten law which has been practiced for ages in England and
the United States. In all States of the Union, except Louisiana, cases
not covered by the acts of the legislature are tried by the common law.

The _civil law_ is the law that prevailed among the ancient Romans. It
is still in use among most of the nations of continental Europe. In
Louisiana it is applied to cases not covered by the laws of the
legislature. The words _civil law_ are sometimes used to denote the
law governing civil suits.

_Statute law_ consists of the acts passed by legislative assemblies.
The words are used to denote the opposite of common law. The enactment
of a statute by a State legislature repeals the common law previously
in force upon the same subject.

_International law_, often called the _law of nations_, consists of the
rules and customs prevailing between civilized nations in their
relations with one another. It is based upon the law of nature, the
law of right and wrong.

_Criminal law_ is the law governing criminal cases. It is partly
common law and partly statute law. "Ignorance of the law excuses no

_Parliamentary law_ consists of the rules and customs governing
parliamentary assemblies. It prevails in all law-making bodies, in
conventions and deliberative meetings.

_Martial law_ is the law which regulates men in military service. It
prevails in the army and the navy. The courts which apply it are
called _courts martial_. Martial law is noted for its severity.

_Maritime law_, or _marine law_, is the law especially relating to the
business of the sea, to ships, their crews, and navigation. The courts
of maritime law are _admiralty courts_.

_Commercial law_ is a system of rules for the regulation of trade and
commerce. It is deduced from the customs of merchants.

COURTS. - Laws are administered, that is, explained and applied, by
means of courts. A _court_ is a body organized for the public
administration of justice. A court may consist of a single judge or
justice, or of a number of judges acting together.

A court can administer the laws only in cases which are brought before
it. The highest court in the land can not make an order or render a
judgment until the question comes to trial in a regular way.

SUITS. - _Suits at law_ are called _causes_, _cases_, or _actions_.

A _civil cause_ is a suit between persons, brought to recover rights or
to secure compensation for their infraction.

A _criminal cause_ is a charge brought by a State or by the United
States against a person for the commission of a crime.

The _plaintiff_ is the person who brings the suit. The _defendant_ is
the person against whom the suit is brought.

In all criminal cases in State courts, the State is the plaintiff; in
other words, society prosecutes the offender in the name of the State.
In criminal cases in the United States courts, the United States is the

JUDGES. - The judge represents the majesty of the law, and is often
called the court. He maintains the dignity of the trial, determines
the method of procedure, interprets the law, instructs the juries,
renders judgment, and in criminal cases passes sentence upon the
offender. Judges are presumed to be learned in the law, and to be
perfectly just and impartial in their rulings.

JURIES. - Most of the courts of this country have two juries, called
respectively, _grand jury_ and _trial jury_ (or _petit jury_).

The purpose of the grand jury is to investigate crime, and to present
charges, called indictments, for trial by the court. The number of
grand jurors to the court varies in different States, being not more
than twenty-four and not less than twelve. The grand jury has a
foreman, elected by it, or appointed by the judge of the court.

The grand jury inquires into violations of the law, and if, in the
judgment of twelve jurors, the evidence in a particular case warrants a
trial, a formal written charge is prepared, and the foreman indorses
thereon, "_A true bill_." Upon this indictment the offender is tried
by the court.

In a few States grand juries are rarely if ever called, the indictment
being found "on information" or on evidence presented to a court

A trial jury usually consists of twelve men, but in some States a
smaller number may be accepted by the judge of the court, in certain
cases, by the agreement of the counsel upon the opposing sides. The
trial jury hears the testimony and argument, and then decides upon the
truth of the facts in dispute, and renders a verdict or decision in the
suit, and in criminal cases convicts or acquits.

In some States all the jurors must agree, or there is no verdict. In
other States the jury may render a verdict by the agreement of less
than the whole number of jurors. Under certain regulations a party to
a suit may _challenge_, that is, reject, a part or all of the jurors,
and have others selected in their stead.

ORIGIN OF JURIES. - Grand juries and trial juries are of great
antiquity. It is thought that they existed among the Saxons in the
north of Europe before they invaded and settled England, more than
fourteen hundred years ago. The jury system and many other political
institutions of the United States are derived from England.

Both the grand jury and the trial jury are firmly grounded in this
country, being recognized, in the constitutions of nearly all the
States and the Constitution of the United States, and are regarded as
among the strongest supports of a free government.

OFFICERS OF COURTS. - Each court has one or more ministerial officers,
variously designated as _constable_, _sheriff_, _tipstaff_, or
_marshal_. Each court also has one or more clerks, and sometimes other
officers. _Attorneys_ are considered officers of the courts in which
they practice. They usually represent the plaintiff and the defendant
in court and are then called _counsel_.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS in civil cases begin by the court issuing a writ, at
the instance of plaintiff, summoning defendant to appear. The
defendant responding, pleadings are filed - the claims of plaintiff, and
answer or demurrer of defendant. If these disagree as to facts, the
court subpoenas witnesses. In the presence of judge and jury, the
plaintiff states his case and the defendant his defense, witnesses are
examined and cross-examined, and the case is argued. The judge then
charges the jury - summarizing the evidence and indicating points to be
decided; the jury retire to prepare their verdict, which is announced
and recorded as the judgment of the court.

In criminal cases the accused may be arrested on a grand jury
indictment or a magistrate's warrant. Unless the crime is murder, the
accused may be released upon bail until trial, which proceeds as in
civil cases.


1. Why does the State prosecute offenses, instead of leaving this duty
to private persons?

2. What is meant by passing sentence upon an offender?

3. Do you believe in the jury system, or in the trial by several judges
sitting together? Why?

4. Have you ever seen a court in session?

5. In this State a grand jury has how many members?



SUFFRAGE. - The most important political right is the right of suffrage;
that is, the right to vote. As the government exists for the benefit
of the governed, the purpose of suffrage is to place it under their
control. It gives each qualified voter a voice in public affairs, and
places the country under the rule of the people.

As the interests of the voters and their families are the same, and as
the voters represent these interests, the whole people, including women
and children, have an influence in the government. The whole machinery
of the State and of the United States is in the hands of those who do
the voting.

IMPORTANCE. - The importance of this right can scarcely be
overestimated. It constitutes the difference between a free country
and a despotism. There can be no freedom unless the right to vote
resides in the people; nor can there be good government unless this
right is exercised with an intelligent regard for the public welfare.
Yet vast numbers of voters never realize the power they wield or the
great responsibility it entails upon them.

ELECTIONS. - The right of suffrage is exercised by means of elections.
An election is the direct method of ascertaining the will of the people
upon public affairs. They are held for the purpose of giving the
people opportunity to express their choice in the selection of
officers, and thus to make known their will upon questions of public

METHODS OF VOTING. - There are three methods of voting - _viva voce_, by
ballot, and by machine. A man votes _viva voce_ by announcing to the
election officers the name of the candidate of his choice, and having
it recorded upon the polling-list. A man votes by _ballot_ by handing
to the officers a slip of paper containing the name of the candidate
voted for. The officers deposit the ballots in a box called the
_ballot-box_. A voting machine has a knob or lever for each candidate,
and is so arranged that the voter can record one vote.

The _viva voce_ method was once considered the best; but voting by
ballot or by machine has supplanted it generally in the United States.

The Australian system provides at each polling-place a private
apartment, called a booth, where each voter in private prepares his
ballot from a printed list of all the candidates, and then hands it to
the officers, who deposit it in the ballot-box.[1]

OFFICERS OF ELECTIONS. - The officers of elections at each polling-place
are usually two or more supervisors, inspectors, or judges; a clerk;
and a sheriff, marshal, or other officer of the peace.

The _supervisors_ or inspectors decide who are entitled to vote under
the law, and in elections by ballot they deposit the ballots in the

The _clerk_ makes a list of the names of voters, and when the election
is _viva voce_ he records the votes.

The _sheriff_ or other peace officer preserves order at the polls, has
charge of the ballot-box and polling-list after the election closes,
and delivers them to the proper authorities.

In most States, at the close of the election the officers _canvass_,
that is, examine the votes cast, and certify the number of votes
received by each candidate.

In some States the ballot-box is sealed at the close of the election,
and delivered to the canvassing board of the county. In such cases the
canvassing board of the county canvasses the vote, and in State and
national elections sends returns to the canvassing board of the State
at the State capital.

In some States election officers are appointed by the county officers,
usually by the county judge or probate judge; in other States they are
elected by the people.

BRIBERY. - Bribery in elections is one of the serious evils of politics.
_Bribery_ is offering or receiving a reward for voting. In most
States, in addition to other penalties, persons convicted of giving or
taking bribes are _disfranchised_; that is, are not permitted to vote
thereafter. In ancient Athens a man convicted of corrupting a voter
suffered the penalty of death.

The selling of a vote is regarded as one of the most infamous crimes
that men can commit. Not even the conviction of theft so lowers a man
in public esteem as a conviction of selling his vote, for bribery
savors of both theft and treason. To sell his suffrage is to sell his
manhood, his country, and his convictions. Most men who sell their
votes do it through ignorance; they are not aware of the enormity of
the crime. He who knows its infamy, and yet barters his suffrage for
money, is unworthy of the smallest trust, or even of the recognition of
honest men.

[1]For details regarding this system see Chapter XIX.


1. In what way are voters responsible for the government of the country?

2. Do you believe in frequent elections? Why?

3. Do you believe in public voting or in secret voting? Why?

4. Why should election officers be fair and honest men?

5. What do you think of vote-buying and vote-selling?



ORIGIN. - The idea of the secret ballot system, now known under its
various modifications as the Australian Ballot System, was first
proposed by Francis S. Dutton, member of the legislature of South
Australia from 1851 to 1865. At that time the vices frequently
accompanying open elections had begun to flourish in Australia.
Bribery, intimidation, disorder, and violence were the order of all
election days. The plan was elaborated, and became a law under the
name of the "Elections Act" in 1857.

The beneficial results of this method soon became evident to other
countries, and the movement spread to Europe, Canada, and the United

IN THE UNITED STATES. - A similar system to that originally adopted in

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