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ship would appear to be justified if urgently necessary to prevent
by anticipation the pubUcation of injurious matter. Doubtless
it was inexpedient to estabUsh such a censorship under the
circumstances with which the United States was faced. That
it would have been constitutional if regarded by Congress as
^ssential to the protection of the country may be confidently
asserted.

It was in relation to the organization of the administrative
departments that the system of the separation of the powers of
government manifested its greatest weakness and compelled
attention to the need of readjusting the relations of Congress and
the executive. Congress, as we have seen, put at the disposal
of the President practically the entire resources of the country;
but being unable to control the President or the heads of the
executive departments directly, Congress could but look on
<lwith impatience at what it considered in many cases to be an
yf inefficient and dilatory execution of the laws it had enacted.
The personal aloofness of the President and of some of his cabinet
doubtless contributed to the lack of confidence of many in Con-



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DEMOCBACT AND EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT 581

gress; but apart from these accidental reasons there was the
inevitable tendency to criticise publicly and sharply simply
because there was no other way of forcing a change in thel^ethods
pursued by the executive department.

In consequence of the lack of confidence of Congress in the
eflSciency of the conduct of the administration, proposals were
made that a new department or ministry of munitions should bd
created, which should be given complete control over suppUea
of every kind for the army and navy; but the opposition of the—
President led to the abandonment of the plan. A more thorough-
going reorganization, or rather reconstruction, of the executive
department was urged by the chairman of the committee on
military affairs in the senate, in the form of a war cabinet, to be^C
composed of three persons who should have the power to coordi- tr
nate and control the functions of all the executive departments**
and agencies. The war cabinet would thus have been a small|
directorate exercising practically unlimited powers of control
and leaving to the President only the power to l-eview their
decisions. The opposition of the President to such a body was
a foregone conclusion, while the constitutionality of the proposed
body was at least open to question. As an alternative measure
the President requested Senator Overman to introduce a bill^^
which would permit the coordination and consoUdation of the
executive bureaus and agencies "in the interest of economy and
the more eflScient administration of the government." The bill
was finally passed on May 4, 1918, and empowered the President
to redistribute the functions of the executive agencies and to
make transfers both of functions and of personnel from one
department to another; but by reason of the long delay in the
passage of the bill the President had already resorted to informal
methods of coordinating the various bureaus, and no sweeping
changes were made as a result of his new powers.

LooMng at the long controversy between the President and
Congress it can not be doubted that the system of checks and
balances provided for in the Constitution proved a very real
source of trouble and was the cause of delays and ineflSciency
which a unified system of government, under a cabinet responsible



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582 THE AMERICAN POUTICAL SCIENCE BEVIEW

to the legislature, might readily have prevented. Cabinet
government in Great Britain made mistakes of its own; but at
least in point of organization for eflfective action it had the
advantage over the separation of powers by. which the Consti-
tution of the United States originally sought to safeguard demo-
cratic government.

The internal organization of Congress was responsible for
further friction in the operation of the governmental machinery,
but less difficulty was found in this case in providing a remedy.
Apart from the constitutional obstacle presented by a bicameral
legislature, with possibilities of delay resulting from the necessity
of reconciling conflicting views of the two houses, the committee

I system imder which Congress is organized for legislation exhibited

S several features which were at once undemocratic and inefficient.

' It so happened that the pule of seniority, by which the chairmen
of committees are chosen on the ground of length of service in
Congress, in several instances placed at the head of the important
committees men who were out of sympathy with the policies of
the executive. For example, the chairman of the house com-
mittee 09 military affairs was so far opposed to the plan of raising
an army by conscription that it became necessary to call upon
the ranking Republican member of the committee, a German
by birth, to take charge of the bill. The chairman of the foreign
relations committee of the senate, as well as the chairman of the
house committee on ways and means were both strongly opposed
to the declaration of war. Under such conditions it could
scarcely be expected that prompt action would be taken by the
committees in presenting the measures called for by the President
and approved even by a majority of Congress itself.
A word must be said with respect to the relations between the

I national government and the governments of the several states.
[Here, in spite of the constitutional lack of unity, a remarkable
[dfigTGe-ofHSOoperattmr was-t)btained. In the first place the state

^governments were called upon to acquiesce in the encroachments
upon their authority involved in the assumption by Congress
of so lal-ge a control over the industrial life of the country. The
railway administration, for example, automatically cancelled a



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DEMOCRACY AND EFFXCIENT GOVERNMENT 583

large part of the authority of the state railway and public service
commissions. The establishment of cantonments in different
parts of the country resulted in the creation of important com-
mimities beyond .the control of the state governments. The
Food and Fuel Control Act and the subsequent War-time Pro-
hibition Act made deep inroads into the normal police power of
the states.

In the second place the exceptional demands created by the 'Xj^
war led the states as well as the national government to enter
new fields of legislation in the endeavor to provi de for s pecial
local needs which could not be met by general laws. State
councils of national defense were organized to cooperate with
the national council in the work of mobilizing the resources of
the state and maintaining law and order under the trying con-
ditions created by the war. Special laws were passed to assist
the families of men in service, to regulate the use of food and
fuel, to remedy the shortage of labor, and to check the activities
of alien enemies and their sympathisers. ^

In the third place the necessity of securing cooperation between^.^^^
the administrative departments of the state and national govern-
ments led to the establishment of new and mQr©;;^J^ate relations
between them, both in the form of conferences between the state
governors and the secretary of war, and in the form of local
conferences between the governors of neighboring states hav-
ing special problems of their own. On the whole the relations
between the national government and the states during the war
showed that the large powers of local self-government possessed
by the states, although resulting in considerable duplication of
effort and consequent lack of efficiency, were not a barrier to
cooperation in all the more important problems before the country,
while at the same time they had the effect of reconciling the
population of the states to restrictions which might have created
resentment if they had emanated from the central government
alone.

The outstanding lessons of the war in respect to the organi-
zation and functions of the government bear chiefly upon the
problem of readjusting the division of powers between the



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584 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

national government and the states and upon the problem of
reorganizing the system of checks and balances within the
national government itself. Many of the powers which Congress
was enabled to assume as implied in the power to raise and sup-
port armies were found to be powers equally needed in the times
of emergency immediately following the war. The Lever Food
and Fuel Control Act was found useful both in restricting post-
war profiteering and in forming the ground of an injunction to
restrain a general strike in the soft coal mines. The conclusion
IS suggested that it might be advisable to confer upon Congress
the power to do directly what it has been able to do only through
the technical exercise of the war powers. Already the powers
of Congress over commerce between the states have been strained
to the point of maximum elasticity in certain parts of the field
of economic and social legislation. Yet there is clearly need that
Congress should possess, for use in time of urgent need, the
power to control the distribution of the raw materials of industry
by creating priorities for the more essential industries, the power
to fix the price of staple foodstuffs and of fuels, the power to
Regulate the business of insurance, and other similar powers
which cannot be exercised eflfectively by the individual states.
It has long been recognized that the constitutional division
between the powers ''delegated" to the national government and
/those "reserved" to the states have left unoccupied areas between
/ the prescribed limits of the national jurisdiction and the limits
of individual state action. The war powers of Congress led it
to enter parts of this unoccupied area, and it would seem that
^the time has come to confirm its right of legislation by consti-
tutional amendment.

The necessity of reorganizing the relations between the several
agencies of the national government has been impressed upon
the country even more forcibly since the signing of the armistice
than during the actual period of the war. The ineflSciency in
the conduct of the war resulting from the formal separation of
the legislative and executive departments was rendered relatively
insignificant in view of the positive accomplishments of the
government. The vast contribution made by the United States



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DEMOCRACY AND EFFICIENT GOVERNMENT 585

to the winning of the war makes criticism of incidental confusion
and delay seem meaningless now that the crisis is over. But the
deadlock in the machinery of government which has come about
as a result of the difference of opinion between the President,
and the majority of the senate with regard to the ratification i
of the treaty of peace forms an impressive lesson in the needy
of a change in the fundamental relations of the legislative andP-
executive departments. The proposal that a constitutional
amendment should be adopted providing for the union of the
two departments by the establishment of a responsible ministry
is doubtless too novel to the public to be expedient at the present
moment. The government of the United States has developed
along its present lines too long to be abruptly transformed with-
out serious political upheaval, even if any large body of public
opinion could be found to endorse the change.

More moderate proposals in the nature of transitional steps
towards complete imity may, however, be advocated. The most
urgent of these is doubtless the adoption of the budget bill now '
pending in Congress, the principle of which has been endorsed
by both of the great parties. A further suggestion recommends
that the administration should propose and explain not only the
budget but all of its bills openly in Congress and fix a time when
they shall be considered and put to vote. The initiative in
legislation would thus be transferred to the administration, with-
out, however, taking from Congress its coordinate power to act
should the administration fail to do so. The tendency would be
for the administration to take over from the committees of
Congress the task of framing the bills, while Congress would
exercise wider powers of criticism and control.

It is generally agreed that the price of democratic government
under present conditions must be a greater or less degree of
inefficiency. With the most perfect machinery of government
available democracy would still make but halting progress
because ofjts unwillingness to put the necessary restraints upon
its own extravagance and because of its choice of leaders who
are either mediocre in ability or reluctant to put forward policies
which may bring them into disfavor with current public opinion.



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686 THE AMEBICAN POLITICAL SCIBNCE BEYIEW

But accepting these conditions as inevitable, it is still important
to inquire whether improvements cannot be made in the existing
machinery of government, both to make it more responsive to
the will of the majority and to enable it to carry out its desired
objects with less friction and duplication of effort. The experi-
ence of war-time administration in the United States has pointed
the way to a number of readjustments which would give added
efficiency to the government without loss of democratic control.



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ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION FOR WAR

ERNEST L. BOGART

University of Illinois

As shown in the struggle recently ended, modem war means
''a nation in arms." The old-time distinction between fighters
and workers was almost obliterated, and there was an industrial
army as well as an army in the field. The labors of the men and
women behind the lines were essential to the effective operations
of the men in arms. That this condition was recognized by the
governments themselves is shown by the classifications of Workers,
according to which those whose special skill or ability was
essential to the conduct of war industries were taken out or
kept out of the army and retained in the factories, mines, work-
shops, and fields. In various ways the old lines between soldier
and civilian, between war operations and the work of production,
were broken down. The Germans made no distinction between
war vessels and merchantmen. They deliberately destroyed
coal mines and factories, growing crops and cattle; this was done
with a military purpose, for the sake of lessening the military
strength of the enemy. So, too, the former distinction between
contraband and free goods was obliterated. Whole nations were
in arms, and all their resources were mobilized to carry on the
titanic struggle.

This world conflict has taught us that war is not waged alto-
gether by armies in the field. It is a contest between the indus-
trial organization and technique of the opposing nations. It
is not carried on by money alone, but by the total resources,
material and human, that can be concentrated in a combined,
productive effort. The World War gave the first opportunity
for a complete application of the modern factory system of
production in warfare. Methods of production have been com-
pletely revolutionized since the Napoleonic wars, the last general

587



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688 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

European struggle, and the smaller conflicts since that time have
not involved the complete utilization of the industrial resources
of the nations engaged. In the late war, however, the whole
productive energies of the belligerent nations were thrown into
the fight. The production of raw materials and food, the manu-
facture of munitions, ships, airplanes, automobiles, clothing,
and a multitude of other things, was carried on by the most
efficient machine processes and large-scale methods, while the
transportation of men and supplies was effected with the utmost
expedition.

War has meant, therefore, the industrial organization of the
nation, and victory has beefi dependent not merely upon the
number of men in the field and on the seas, nor upon the strategy
of warfare, but to an even greater extent upon the effectiveness
of the industrial organization behind the lines. This is well
illustrated by the complete collapse of Russia, which was inevi-
table even before the revolution of 1917, and which was due in
large measure to the unwise withdrawal of large numbers of men
from basic Russian industries, so that with enormous armies
in the field it became impossible to furnish them adequately
with munitions and other supplies. On the other hand, Ger-
many's industrial reorganization was hastened by the fact that
the cutting off of foreign supplies by the British blockade com-
pelled an immediate shift from peace to war production on the
part of many factories if they were to survive at all.

During the two and a half years prior to the entrance of the
United States into the war, the industries of this country had
been gradually organized upon lines of war production for the
European belligerents. Certain of the industries that produced
those commodities which were in greatest demand had reached
a high point of efficiency, but it was on the whole a scrambling,
competitive market in which the Entente Allies bought their
supplies. There wad as yet no coordination of effort, no cooper-
ation or unity of purpose. This was true of production; the
Allies early learned through costly experience the necessity of
arranging a common purchasing agency.



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ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION FOR WAR 589

The government was as ill-prepared and as unfitted as was
private industry to assume the task laid upon it by the entrance
of this country into the war. In our federal system of govern-
ment, control of industry has remained for the most part with
the states; at only a few points did the national government
touch business and trade and exercise control over them, though
the tendency in recent years had been in the direction of greater
regulation. Beginning with the establishment of the interstate
commerce commission in 1887, whose jurisdiction had been
gradually extended so as to include telephone and telegraph,
express companies, pipe lines, and other common carriers, as
well as railroads, the authority of the national government had
been steadily widened until it covered the inspection of food, the
control of combinations, and currency and finance, and to a
lesser extent was able to control competitive enterprise in other
directions.

With the entry of the United States into the World War it
became necessary to reorganize the industries of the country
from a peace to a war basis. At once difiiculties unsuspected
and at times seemingly almost insuperable presented themselves.
The obstacles to be overcome were enormous. The size of the
country, the sectional and regional distribution of the industries,
and the uncoordinated character of the transportation systems,
presented serious physical difficulties. Almost greater were the
difficulties of securing unity of sentiment and purpose in the
polyglot nation. Public opinion had to be organized, as well
as production. The political traditions of liberty and the eco-
nomic habits of individualism threatened to prevent the cooper-
ation that was necessary for the successful prosecution of the
war. The economic virtues of peace were not suited to an
efifective war-time organization, and many people doubted
whether a democracy could successfully cope with a military
despotism. The outcome has shown, however, that although
its movements may be slow, a democracy once moved to action
carries with it an imponderable weight of spiritual power which
more than offsets the discipline and obedience of a people trained
under militarism.



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590 THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW

It took England more than a year to learn that the necessary
man power could not be secured for the army by volimtary
enlistment, and that the necessary production of war materials
could not be left to the voluntary and uncoordinated efforts of
industry. Unfortunately, the lesson of England had not been
thoroughly taken to heart by the people of the United States.
It was necessary for war industry to be stimulated and expanded
and for business in general to be readjusted to war requirements.
To effect this reorganization the government relied at first upon
/ \/ the ordinary economic incentive of high prices. By affording
an opportunity for large profits to the producers of war materials,
it hoped to divert a sufficient number of establishments and
labor into war production to yield the necessary supplies. In
fact the program of the administration, which planned the
spending of nineteen billion dollars in the first year, surpassed
the productive capacity of the plants that could be diverted to
these purposes.

In time, no doubt, such a policy would secure the necessary
readjustment of business to war requirements. Capital and
labor would be withdrawn from the production of nonessentials
and these by reason of their scarcity would rise in price. At
the same time the absorption of the surplus income of the people
in taxes and subscriptions to bonds would leave them less to
spend for such purposes. Such a shift of production is, however,
slow at best, and it was opposed in this country, as in England,
by the slogan of "business as usual" and by the expenditure on
the part of wage earners of their unprecedentedly high wages
for luxuries. It was evident that the volunteer system, whether
for the raising of an army or for the mobilization of labor and
capital in war production, was inadequate. During the first
few months much was done; production was stimulated, and the
foundations were laid for future work on a large scale. But
there was great confusion, conflict of counsel, and little real
guidance.

It was clear that coordination of effort was needed, and that
this could be had only through the extension of government
control. Unfortunately, however, no centralized administration



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ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION FOR WAR 591

was set up for dealing with the problems of the war as a whole.
We did not even go so far in the direction of administrative
unification as did the English by the establishment of a ministry
of munitions. A promising agency had, indeed, been created
in August, 1916, known as the council of national defense, which
was organized the following March, but this was a loose organi-
zation with purely advisory functions. It consisted of the secre-
taries of war, the navy, agriculture, interior, commerce, and
labor, and was assisted by an advisory commission of seven
civilians. The first work of the council was the consideration
of plans for industrial mobilization and the collection of infor-
mation as to the industrial resources of the country. For this
purpose each of the seven members of the advisory commission
was appointed chairman of a committee in charge of a field for
which he possessed special knowledge, the subcommittees cover-
ing munitions, supplies, raw materials, transportation, engineer-
ing and education, medicine, and labor. These committees did
much to work out the preliminary problems in connection with the
subjects over which they had jurisdiction, and by reason of
the ability and knowledge of those who were called to serve,
their advice was generally accepted. As the war progressed,
however, it was clear that strong administrative boards must
be created to handle the problems authoritatively, and the
original functions of the council of national defense were conse-
quently gradually taken over by the various war boards.

First in chronological order, and possibly in order of importance
came the shipping board. The circumstance which brought the
United States into the war, namely, the unrestricted use of
submarines by Germany, pointed to one of the greatest dangers
that threatened the allied cause. It was of no use to raise food,
to produce supplies, or to train soldiers if they could not be
transported to Europe. The shipping problem was without
question of fundamental importance. The United States ship-
ping board, authorized by act of Congress on September 7, 1916,
was organized for business the following January, and was given
control of all shipping registered in the United States. Later
it received power to requisition any American vessel, and shortly



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592 THE AMERICAN POUTICAL SCIENCE REVIEW



Online LibraryWestel Woodbury WilloughbyThe American political science review → online text (page 58 of 77)