Considerations on Representative Government
The form of government for any given country being (within certain definite conditions) amenable to choice, it is now to be considered by what test the choice should be directed; what are the distinctive characteristics of the form of government best fitted to promote the interests of any given society.
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able active administration advantage affairs allowed amount appointed assembly authority become benefit better body candidate carried character civilization concern conduct consider considerable constitution democracy depends desire despotism direct duty effect election electors equal evil exercise exist Federal feeling functions give given greater hands House human idea important improvement individual influence institutions intelligence interest justice kind knowledge least less limited majority matter means ment mere mind minister minority mode moral natural necessary never object obtain opinion Parliament party persons political popular portion position possess possible practical present principle Progress qualities question reason regard representation representative respect responsibility rest rule social society sufficient suffrage superior supposed things thought tion unless vote whole
Page 42 - Instead of the function of governing, for which it is radically unfit, the proper office of a representative assembly is to watch and control the government; to throw the light of publicity on its acts; to compel a full exposition and justification of all of them which any one considers questionable; to censure them if found condemnable, and, if the men who compose the government abuse their trust, or fulfill it in a manner which conflicts with the deliberate sense of the nation, to expel them from...
Page 23 - It is an inherent condition of human affairs, that no intention, however sincere, of protecting the interests of others, can make it safe or salutary to tie up their own hands. Still more obviously true is it, that by their own hands only can any positive and durable improvement of their circumstances in life be worked out.
Page 125 - The essential is, that there should not be any one State so much more powerful than the rest as to be capable of vying in strength with many of them combined. If there be such a one, and only one, it will insist on being master of the joint. deliberations: if there be two, they will be irresistible when 428 429 they agree; and whenever they differ everything will be decided by a struggle for ascendancy between the rivals.
Page 120 - Where the sentiment of nationality exists in any force, there is a prima facie case for uniting all the members of the nationality under the same government and giving a government to themselves apart.
Page 54 - In a really equal democracy every or any section would be represented, not disproportionately, but proportionately. A majority of the electors would always have a majority of the representatives, but a minority of the electors would always have a minority of the representatives. Man for man they would be as fully represented as the majority.
Page 120 - But the strongest of all is identity of political antecedents; the possession of a national history, and consequent community of recollections; collective pride and humiliation...
Page 120 - A PORTION of mankind may be said to constitute a Nationality if they are united among themselves by common sympathies which do not exist between them and any others — which make them co-operate with each other more willingly than with other people, desire to be under the same government, and desire that it should be government by themselves or a portion of themselves exclusively.
Page 133 - ... the Power which, of all in existence, best understands liberty — and whatever may have been its errors in the past, has attained to more of conscience and moral principle in its dealings with foreigners, than any other great nation seems either to conceive as possible, or recognise as desirable.
Page 21 - There is no difficulty in showing that the ideally best form of government is that in which the sovereignty, or supreme controlling power in the last resort, is vested in the entire aggregate of the community; every citizen not only having a voice in the exercise of that ultimate sovereignty, but being, at least occasionally, called on to take an actual part in the government, by the personal discharge of some public function, local or general.
Page 74 - In the preceding argument for universal, but graduated suffrage, I have taken no account of difference of sex. I consider it to be as entirely irrelevant to political rights, as difference in height, or in the colour of the hair. All human beings have the same interest in good government ; the welfare of all is alike affected by it, and they have equal need of a voice in it to secure their share of its benefits. If there be any difference, women require it more than men, since, being physically weaker,...