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the dispersal of the settlers at once unfitted that body for the work of legislation. The remedy first applied to this difficulty was, not to substitute a representative assembly for a primary one, but to limit the functions of the court. It is clear that there was an oligarchical temper at work among the leading men in Massachusetts. The action of this was plainly shown by the transfer of all legislative rights from the court of freemen to the governor, deputygovernor and assistants. At the same time the election of the governor was handed over from the freemen to the assistants.
"True to English precedent, Massachusetts found the salvation of her constitutional liberties in a question of taxation. When the governor had intended to change his abode to Newtown, the assembly resolved to fortify that settlement at public charge. To meet the cost a rate was levied on each town by order of the governor and assistants. Against this the men of Watertown protested. Though the men of Watertown gave way on the main issue, their protest seems to have borne fruit. In the next year the powers of the governor were formally defined by an act. It was also enacted by the General Court, in the following May, that the whole body of freemen should choose the governor, deputy-governor, and assistants. A farther step towards self-government was taken in the resolution, that every town should appoint two representatives to advise the governor and assistants on the question of taxation. We can hardly err in supposing that this was the direct result of the protest made by the men of Watertown.
Other colonies passed through similar experiences. A common form of representation was developed in them all. It was exactly suited to the needs of an independent, but busy and scattered farming and land-owning constituency, in their efforts to combine and resist the royal and oligarchical tendencies of the times.
6. THE PEOPLE VS. THE REPRESENTATIVE.
In a representative democracy the question often arises, Should the representative follow his own knowledge and judgment as to what the people of his constituency need or want, or should he, as each legislative question arises, endeavor to learn the wishes of the people and act accordingly? Mr. W. J. Bryan has expressed himself on this point to the following effect: .1
In the presence of a legislative body the question that seems paramount to me is the duty of the legislator, the duty of the representative. There are two theories and these theories will be found wherever representative government exists. One is that the representative is selected by the people to think for the people. The other theory is that the representative is selected by the people to give legislative expression to their thoughts and their will. Now, these are the two theories and much depends upon which theory the legislator accepts.
The legislator who thinks he is chosen to think for his people may flatter his vanity, but he is apt to be indifferent to the wishes of those for whom he speaks. The one who believes that the people think for themselves and select him to give expression to their thoughts is apt to have a more modest opinion of himself but a greater respect for those for whom he acts. And I hope you will pardon me if I give adhesion to the latter theory, and express it as my firm conviction that the duty of the representative is to represent. I believe that this theory is not only Democratic in a partisan sense, but Democratic in a broader sense. It is not only the theory Jefferson entertained, but it is the theory which is entertained in this country to-day by a large majority of the people, irrespective of party affiliation.
Governor Hughes of New York, in one of his public utterances, speaking of the abuses against which democracy has to struggle, has taken a somewhat different view of the question:
1 Numbers in brackets following an introduction indicate the date on which the accompanying selection was written.
To guard against these abuses and put an end to them where they exist, the people must be constantly alert. Faithful representation of the people is of the essence of the matter. Democracy on a large scale would immediately fail were not the people to act through their chosen representatives. It is only upon simple and broad propositions of policy that the people can act directly. It is difficult to procure a complete understanding, even by those charged with its consideration, of any complicated measure.
These two theories as to the function of the representative, and the difficulties that lie in the way of the representative who attempts to determine the judgment of his constituents on particular legislative measures, are discussed by Mr. M. K. Hart of the New York State Assembly:
What is "faithful representation"? Mr. Bryan's wholly theoretical declarations are based upon the supposition that the constituents of any man elected to a legislature are constantly and carefully studying all questions that come up, and are ready, nay, anxious, at all times to direct the representative how he shall vote. He tries to make us believe that a reliable if not an exact opinion on each question may be obtained by the representative when he appears, hat in hand, as it were for his instructions.
He contributes nothing substantial to the solution of our problem. In the first place, the people are indifferent, tremendously indifferent, on all except the largest and most important questions of policy. And the difficulty of overcoming this is complicated by a very common belief among these people that they have no time to be other than indifferent. Besides there is still seen an aloofness from participation in public questions excepting to the extent of idle and unintelligent criticism—an attitude harmful to the self-satisfied holder of the opinion, and to the masses of the people. A citizen of one of the larger up-state cities of New York was asked one day last spring to write his representative in the State Legislature to support a certain bill. He
was obliged first to ask the name of the representative. A newspaper editor in another city challenged his companion at luncheon recently to name twenty men in Congress. He got up to fourteen, stopped, and then in revenge bet the editor he couldn't name ten more. And the editor couldn't. It is probably a fact that in a large majority of the assembly districts in the State of New York at the present day not five per cent. of the voters know, or ever noticed, how their representative voted on any bill at the last legislative session, unless the bill were a purely local measure.
An illustration of this came to my notice last July-just after the New York State Legislature had adjourned without passing a direct primary bill. Many of the newspapers favored this bill so strongly as to give the impression to the too trusting reader that if enacted the law would be an inevitable panacea. One newspaper in a county which has three members published a leading editorial on the attitude of those members towards the bill. One member had voted for it, the second had voted against it, and the third had "ducked." This particular Journal denounced the man who had opposed it, and, after dwelling upon his unfitness for office as shown by his action, closed by declaring that ninetenths of his constituents favored this bill.
I happened a few days later to meet this member. One of the most prominent men of the district joined us as we talked, and the conversation turned to the editorial. The third person, probably among the twenty most intelligent men of the district-said, after listening, that he not only had not noticed how his representative had voted, but had not heard the matter once mentioned by his neighbors.
Not only is this indifference widespread, but, even in a community when there is considerable interest in any bill or resolution, it is almost impossible, excepting on the occasional issue, to find out what the people really want. Newspaper agitation may mean a great deal, or it may mean merely the influence of a business interest. The old custom
of circulating a petition long ago became so overdone that a petition of thousands of names may mean very little.
The practical working out of the relation between representative and people is like that in the case of a manager of a business and the owner. If the manager is worthy of the place he holds, he will have free hand in the conduct of all ordinary matters, and very likely will be the strongest influence in shaping the policy of the business. The owner will refrain from satisfying any passing desire he may have to show his authority (which, undoubtedly, he may make paramount) in the knowledge that all is being well done. And that this is a wise course is plain, for the owner may then give his entire time to other affairs. The owner of such a business may be one person, for the purpose of our illustration, or there may be several persons, or perhaps a good many. The more there are, the less desirable is it that there should be needless interference from any of them, so long as the business is wisely conducted; though, of course, once a year, or at some other stated period, the stockholders will demand opportunity to pass upon the work done, and, by reappointing or dismissing the manager register their approval or dissatisfaction. In this simple exercise of their absolute power the stockholders of the modern business corporation secure best results. And so can it be and should be in regard to public office. The analogy is closer than at first might seem. We have every reason to suppose that if the people at the polls have selected as their representative the best man they can find to take the place, they may well trust his judgment on whatever questions come up for him to decide. Practical considerations forbid their constantly proffering advice and insisting upon its being followed. They will have opportunity at the next election to tell him whether he has done well or not.
Governor Hughes in his Jamestown speech showed an appreciation of the real trouble. Mr. Bryan would have the legislator give heed to advice from without, and care