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Democratic Government and Politics

Democratic Government and Politics: Third Revised Edition

J. A. CORRY
J. E. HODGETTS
Copyright Date: 1951
Pages: 700
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt1h1hs8b
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    Democratic Government and Politics
    Book Description:

    This edition brings up to date the material on institutions and practices of government in Britain, the United States, and Canada, and analyses more fully the relationship of democratic institutions and practices to the essentials of the democratic creed.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5315-3
    Subjects: Political Science, Philosophy
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. PREFACE (pp. v-vi)
    J. A. Corry and J. E. Hodgetts
  3. Table of Contents (pp. vii-2)
  4. CHAPTER I THE STUDY OF GOVERNMENT (pp. 3-20)

    If each of us were solitary and self-sufficient, each could rule himself, and would have no need to control the actions of others, or to be controlled for the sake of others. There would be no need of government which in its simplest and most superficial appearance is the ruling of some aspects of our conduct by others for the sake of others. Nor would we have to concern ourselves with politics which is a term for a particular set of processes by which we try to bring the actions of others under the control of government, or try to...

  5. CHAPTER II IDEALS OF GOVERNMENT (pp. 21-63)

    In a developed society, we are conscious of having some freedom of choice in our actions. At a given moment, we can decide to do this rather than that. In order to make the choice, we must believe that one course of action is right and another wrong, or at the very least, that one is more worthwhile than another. Without such beliefs, we could not order our activities into any coherent pattern. These beliefs express a set of values for which we live, define a system of ends, or ideals, towards which we direct our efforts. These ends or...

  6. CHAPTER III FORMS OF GOVERNMENT (pp. 64-84)

    Even in the most primitive societies, government exists in some rudimentary form. There are always leaders who exercise authority, patriarchs or priests if not kings or politicians or dictators. Government in each society has distinctive characteristics, and as a society develops and changes, government usually passes through several transformations. History is a rich storehouse of forms and types of government, which political thinkers ever since the time of the Greeks have been trying to classify.

    There are many different classifications of government, none of which has been generally accepted as satisfactory. In these circumstances, it would merely be confusing to...

  7. CHAPTER IV CONSTITUTIONS AND THE SEPARATION OF POWERS (pp. 85-114)

    The governments of Britain, the United States, and Canada are constitutional governments and it is necessary first to look at the constitutions within which they work. But we should emphasize that it would be quite unrealistic to suppose that a description of the constitution is about all that an intelligent person needs to know about a government. We must realize that a constitution is no more than the skeleton or essential frame of orderly government. The constitution defines and provides for the establishment of the chief organs of government. It outlines the relation between these organs and the citizen, between...

  8. CHAPTER V THE EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES (pp. 115-145)

    The main lines of the British and American constitutions were laid down in the eighteenth century. Prominent among the factors determining those lines was the view then taken as to what it was either possible or desirable for government to do. The role government can play in human affairs is physically limited by the means of transport and communication and by the productiveness of the economic system. Obviously, governments cannot let the numbers of their employees outrun the food supply. The role government ought to play within the limits of the physically possible is determined by the views of the...

  9. CHAPTER VI THE EXECUTIVE—THE MAINSPRING OF GOVERNMENT (pp. 146-177)

    We have distinguished one of the organs of government as the executive and described its function as executing or carrying out the law. It is now necessary to carry the distinction further and define the function more precisely. In the broadest sense, the executive includes all those engaged in or associated with the active manipulation of men and things in the name of the government. The discussion of the scope of modern government action has indicated the extraordinary range of activity involved.

    The executive in this wide sense includes the chief of state, be he king or president. It includes...

  10. CHAPTER VII THE LEGISLATURE: ITS FUNCTIONS AND PROCEDURE (pp. 178-217)

    In the tripartite division of powers, the legislature makes the laws. This function includes the imposing of taxes and the appropriating of money to particular items of expenditure. The legislature is in theory the most august authority within the constitution. In Britain, as we have seen, Parliament has the formal power to amend the constitution, although, of course, the exercise of the power is restricted by the conventional requirement of a mandate from the electorate. By making laws and appropriating public money the legislature sets the tasks of the executive, determines what public services are to be rendered, and within...

  11. CHAPTER VIII POLITICAL PARTIES (pp. 218-265)

    The way in which political parties have inserted themselves between the electorate and the legislature has been pointed out. Some indication of their influence over legislative proceedings and decisions has been given. Even if there were no other evidence of their central importance, we already have enough to show that a study of liberal democratic government that ignores them would be quite unreal. There is, however, other evidence. The growing democratization of government in the nineteenth century was everywhere accompanied by the rapid development and intensive organization of nation-wide political parties. Wherever democratic government has flourished, two or more political...

  12. CHAPTER IX REPRESENTATION (pp. 266-298)

    This chapter is an excursion through a number of plans for improving democratic government that time has laid to rest. Political democracy has never fulfilled the hopes of its more sanguine believers. For a long time, they laid these disappointments to defective machinery and put great ingenuity into devices for making the will of the people manifest and effective. The staple of theoretical political discussion, in the Anglo-Saxon world at any rate, for the fifty years preceding 1930 was how to make democracy more democratic. A number of plans for accomplishing this were advocated and tried in various parts of...

  13. CHAPTER X PRESSURE GROUPS (pp. 299-326)

    A number of considerations touched on in earlier chapters must now be drawn together. In particular, it is necessary to recall what was said in chapter II about some of the consequences of accepting the liberal democratic ideals of government. Men need fellowship with one another almost as much as they need their individuality. In the great modern nations, they cannot find this fellowship in the state because it is too remote and impersonal. At any rate, they cannot find it in the liberal democratic state because it is mainly limited to the purposes that all share in common. They...

  14. CHAPTER XI THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATURE (pp. 327-352)

    The legislative and executive organs have been described and their distinct functions have been outlined. The legislature makes the laws, levies taxation, appropriates public revenues for the executive to spend and keeps some check on the activities of the executive. The executive cannot pursue any course of action affecting the rights of citizens except as authorized by law to do so. The legislature sets the tasks of the executive and is thus superior to it even where the rigid separation of powers makes them co-ordinate organs. The executive runs the household economy of the government, carries out the laws, and...

  15. CHAPTER XII PUBLIC OPINION (pp. 353-400)

    Democratic government has been defined as government in accordance with the will of the people. The people, in this sense, means the electorate, which, in the countries in question, embraces almost the entire adult population. Taken literally, government in accordance with the will of the electorate would mean that every member of the electorate must be consulted and must agree before a democratic government can embark on a significant line of policy.

    It is clear that this is not so. Democratic legislatures often pass, and democratic executives often enforce, legislation that was not in issue at the last election. Nor...

  16. CHAPTER XIII THE JUDICIARY AND THE LAW (pp. 401-436)

    We have discussed at some length the organization and functions of legislative and executive powers. We have looked carefully at the influence brought to bear on legislative and executive organs by political parties, pressure groups, and public opinion. Attention must now be turned to the judicial power, the third element in the threefold classification. Here, more similarity and less contrast will be found than was observed in comparisons of legislatures and executives. The United States and Canada have drawn their decisive legal and judicial traditions from Britain. For several reasons, the judiciary is a conservative force in any society and...

  17. CHAPTER XIV CIVIL LIBERTIES (pp. 437-474)

    It will be recalled from the discussion in chapter II that liberal democratic ideals affirm the essential worth and dignity of every human being. The ultimate aim of democratic politics is to provide the necessary conditions for the fullest and widest realization of human personality. The principal conditions are two. First, there is the indispensable framework of order and general security which government exists to provide. Government provides it by the making and enforcing of laws to which all must equally submit. To be secure in his own person, each must be prepared to help to maintain the same security...

  18. CHAPTER XV THE CIVIL SERVICE (pp. 475-511)

    The threefold classification of governmental powers placed the civil service as a minor branch of the executive. This classification was worked out in a period when central governments had very few functions and these were carried out or “executed” by a relatively small number of officials working under close supervision of the Chief of State or his immediate confidants and advisers. Until the end of the laissez faire period, those who expounded the classification were not concerned to improve the efficiency of the central government but rather to devise effective checks on its action. Accordingly, it was rarely thought worth...

  19. CHAPTER XVI THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS (pp. 512-550)

    The last chapter dealt mainly with internal aspects of the civil service. Here attention is to be focused on the external relations of the civil service—its connections with and its impact on members of the public. These are of great variety. Almost all the activities of government recounted in chapter v involve action by civil servants affecting some or all members of the public. Sometimes the government provides a service such as the post office or the employment exchange. Sometimes it is mixed service and regulation as in public-health activities. The government maintains diagnostic clinics and laboratories for analysis...

  20. CHAPTER XVII FEDERALISM (pp. 551-594)

    There are a number of ways in which separate political communities can come together for common purposes. When several states confer together and agree on a common course of action in certain specified circumstances such as resistance to a common enemy, they are bound together by treaty or alliance. When they go one step further and set up a more or less permanent body of delegates or ambassadors to make detailed recommendations for carrying out the treaty or implementing the alliance, their association together is called a confederation. Such was the Congress finally set up by the American colonies in...

  21. CHAPTER XVIII LOCAL GOVERNMENT (pp. 595-630)

    Up to this point, we have been considering central governments that rule a wide territory operating from a single centre or capital. Even the state and provincial governments in a federal system are central governments in this sense. It will be convenient here to refer to all central governments of whatever kind as senior governments, thus distinguishing them from a very numerous group of subordinate, or junior, governments, each of which has a limited authority in a very narrow locality.

    Central governments have never been able to carry on all the activities wanted of government. They have been compelled to...

  22. CHAPTER XIX DEMOCRACY AND DICTATORSHIP (pp. 631-650)

    The preceding chapters have outlined and compared in a general way the main features of the structure and working of government in the United States, Britain, and Canada. The description given falls far short of what would be necessary to explain the complex operations of these three governments as going concerns. No one will know them well unless he observes them at work and reads widely in books that give detailed exposition. The caution given at the beginning may be repeated; the working of any system of government is the study of a lifetime.

    No system of government can be...

  23. SELECTED REFERENCES (pp. 651-662)
  24. INDEX (pp. 665-691)