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people was lost, because no one thought ernment has been administered in the of any way in which it could be retained. interests of the people. No corrupt lobBut now that we have a plan whereby bies or privileged interests have been able the direct vote can be taken without an to thwart the will of the people or to opassembly of the people, it is possible to press and plunder the citizens, as do the go back to the original American system trusts and the public-service companies of actual popular sovereignty.

The success of the Referendum From the standpoint of principle, no has been so pronounced that there is no government is American unless it is a serious opposition to it in the republic. government by and for the people; and It, with the Initiative, has kept the

govno government can be a government by ernment in the hands of the people. and for the people where the will of a In addition it has been used and exsmall body of so-called representatives tensively used by the trades-unions, with can override or disregard the will of the memberships running into the hundreds people. Therefore, no government can of thousands and scattered all over the be American without the Referendum country, and it has been very successful by vote in assembly or by vote at the polls, there. Some trades-unions use this as as the circumstances may require. the sole method of administering their

The town of Brookline, Massachusetts, affairs. has been for two hundred years under Q. Has it proved confusing or difficult the town-meeting. It has an uninter- of employment in the cantons and the rupted history of clean government from republic of Switzerland ? the beginning. The town has now about A. No, the Referendum has not proved twenty-four thousand inhabitants. It is confusing or difficult, but has had prethe richest town in the world and the best- cisely the contrary effect. It has progoverned municipality in New England. duced a great simplification of politics

Q. Is the New England town-meeting and elections by separating men and adapted to city government ?

measures and permitting a direct exA. No, it is not. The large number pression upon each measure by itself of voters in the city precludes direct action disentangled from all personal and party in assembly, and for that very reason it considerations and free from all questions is necessary to adopt the Referendum in of policy in respect to other measures. order that the voters in the cities may It has produced a great simplification have the same right as the voters of a of the Swiss laws. Because these laws town to direct and definite expression of must be understood by the people they their will in regard to any specific meas- are short, simple and easily understood, ure in relation to which they choose to whereas ours are complex, lengthy, amact.

biguous and hard to understand, and we Q. Has it been successfully applied have to employ an enormous number of in government other than that of towns lawyers, judges and officials to tell us and cities?

what the laws mean, and they do not A. The Referendum has been success- always know. fully applied in making and amending -Q. Has it made frequent elections necour state constitutions in every state of essary, thus greatly increasing the cost ? the Union but one; has been recently A. Instead of making elections more adopted in respect to legislative enact- frequent and thus increasing taxation, ments in four states; and in Switzerland the experience of the Swiss is the reverse. for many years, both in the cantons and It is not worth while for politicians to in the republic or the national govern- attempt to squander the people's rement, the Referendum has been in active sources or for private interests to bribe operation, with the result that the gov- them to do so when the people have it in their power, upon petition of a small action, of amendment or compromise" ? minority, to submit any measure passed A. No. The advantages of the presby a legislature to a direct vote of the peo- ent legislative system,-its compactness, ple and veto it if a majority so votes. experience, power of work, etc., are reThis removes from the legislators the tained with the Referendum, but the temptation to corruption.

evils of the present system,-its haste, The Governor of South Dakota, a year complexity, corruption and violations or two after the constitutional Direct- of the will of the people, are eliminated. Legislation amendment went into effect, Under the Referendum the city or state said: “Since this Referendum law went has its body of legal experts, trained adinto effect we have had no charter-mong- visers, and experienced legislators, of ers or railway speculators, no wild-cat course, and they continue to do most of schemes submitted to our legislature. the law-making, but their power to do Formerly our time was occupied by spec- wrong or stop progress, their power to ulative schemes of one kind or another, do as they please in spite of the people but since the Referendum has been made is removed. The state that adopts the a part of the constitution these people Referendum has the service of its legisdo not press their schemes, and hence lators, without being subject to their there is no necessity for having recourse mastery.

mastery. If the representatives act as to the Referendum.”

the people wish, their action is not disQ. Does it take from the people's turbed. If they act against the people's representatives any just rights that be- wish, the people have a prompt and effeclong to them, or in any way limit their tive veto by which they can stop a delegitimate exercise of power?

parture from their will before any damA. The Referendum takes from the age is done. This is a much-needed people's representatives no power that safeguard of popular institutions. justly belongs to them. The legislators The Referendum raises the legislators are the agents and servants of the people, to their old position of councillors or adnot their masters. No true representa- visers to the people and places them above tive has a right or a desire to do anything suspicion, because they cannot sell out. his principal does not wish to have done, It also gives them an independence they or to refuse to do anything his principal do not now have. desires to have done. The Referendum Q. Would it promote “legislative anmerely prevents the representatives from archy"? becoming mis-representatives by doing, A. No, but it would defeat the “legthrough ignorance or dereliction, what islative anarchy” now produced by the the people do not want, or neglecting to pressure of corporate interests upon the do what the people do want.

people's legislative bodies. The real A legislative body may depart from anarchists are not the people, but those the people's will because it does not who seek by fraud and corruption to deknow what the people's will is, or because feat the will of the people. the pressure of private or personal inter- Q. Under its employment might we, est, contrary to the public interest, over- as a United States Senator recently ascomes the legislators' allegiance to the serted, “ easily find ourselves in a position people's will. In either case the Refer- where the mob of a single large city would endum is the remedy and the only com- dominate legislation, and laws would be plete remedy; the only means whereby thrust upon us ruinous to the state itself real government by the people may be and to the best interests of the entire peomade continuous and effective.

ple of the state”? Q. Does it destroy “all the safeguards A. No, unless the majority of the peoof debate and discussion, of deliberate ple constitute such a mob. If the mass

of the people were unfit for free govern- the Referendum because they know it
ment, the Referendum or any form of will place the heel of public interest upon
government that would give effect to the the neck of private graft.
people's will would be a mistake the The best class of legislators everywhere
time for a republic or democracy in that favor the Referendum without regard to
community would not yet have arrived. party, because they believe the people's
If, however, we are right in establishing will should govern, and even on personal
free institutions in this country and adopt- grounds, they have no objection to it,
ing government by the people as the foun- because they know that the power it takes
dation of our political structure, then let from them is an unjust power, and that
us have real government by the people the new dignity and consideration it con-
and not a sham republic; representatives fers on able and honest representatives,
held in effective obedience to the people's as the people's legislative experts and
will, and not simply the periodic selection broad-minded statesmen free from all
of a new set of masters.

suspicion of corrupt or private motive, Q. Would legislators be expected to is worth far more than the loss of conoppose the Referendum?

sideration of corporate and private interA. No reason exists why any honest ests that may be adversely affected by the legislator should oppose it. But legisla- Referendum. tors who put the interest of corporations Q. Is the Referendum democratic in or other private interest above the public theory, fact and spirit, or “subversive interest might naturally be expected to of and inimical to popular government," oppose the Referendum.

as affirmed by some of those who oppose A certain class of legislators naturally the Referendum? oppose the Referendum because it dimin- A. No, it is government by final vote ishes their personal power and their abil- of so-called representatives, without the ity to accomplish any private or corporate check of the Referendum, that is subpurpose which might be more or less versive of and inimical to popular govquestionable from the standpoint of pub- ernment. Since democracy means the lic interest.

rule of the people by themselves, nothing All legislators who have been corrupted can be more democratic than that measor who desire to be corrupted by public- ure which would give the people an opservice corporations and privileged wealth portunity to speak directly and legislate will oppose the Referendum. All legis- directly whenever they cared to do so. lators who are looking for graft and who The Referendum is the soul of demoare ready to sell out or betray their con- cratic government and of popular sovstituents will oppose the Referendum, ereignty. for it takes from them the

power to effec- Not only is the Referendum ideally tively rob the people and sacrifice the in- democratic, but it is the most formidable terests of the public for private gain or weapon at the command of the people the power and place that corrupt wealth to prevent the overthrow of democratic is ever ready to aid its own tools in secur- government by political machines coning. These false or mis-representatives of trolled by privileged wealth. the people and persons who do not believe The Referendum is democratic in in a popular or truly democratic govern- fact and spirit because it reënthrones the ment are opposed to the Referendum. people themselves in the exercise of a

Q. Why do enlightened and public- power that was always theirs, with which spirited legislators of all parties favor the they ought never to have parted—the Referendum ?

power to pass direct judgment upon any A. Enlightened and public-spirited leg- given proposition, legislative act or measislators, without regard to party, favor ure. Such a power in the people them

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selves, exercised to promote the interests trayed by corrupted or false servants. of the mass and to destroy the special Q. Why is it imperatively demanded privileges and private monopolies of the to-day? classes, can never be subversive of or in- A. The Referendum is imperatively imical to popular government. The Ref- demanded because there has arisen in erendum is the very quintessence of pop

our midst

recent years a powerful ular government.

plutocracy composed of the great publicQ. Why was not the Referendum more service magnates, the trust chieftains and generally employed during the early days other princes of privilege who have sucof our government ?

ceeded in placing in positions of leaderA. It was generally used in the early ship political bosses that are susceptible days. In fact it was for a long time the to the influence of corrupt wealth. These only form of government in use among men direct the political machine whose

Puritan fathers. The legislative manipulators are liberally supplied with function was exercised by the whole body the ill-gotten wealth furnished by priviof enfranchised citizens. All laws were leged interests for future favors and for either adopted by direct vote or were protection against legislation that might subject to veto by direct vote. Later, be enacted in the interests of the people. when representative government was es- Through this unholy alliance of corporate tablished, there was no powerful privi- wealth with political bosses and moneyleged class seeking to maintain and in- controlled machines, incorruptible legiscrease its special privileges. Hence our lators and officials are driven into retirefathers did not appreciate the peril of ment and their places filled with creatures privilege or class aggression that might beholden to corporate wealth and monoparise and in time subvert and virtually oly interests. In this manner the govdefeat the ends of popular rule. Indus- ernment has become largely a governtry was not so organized in the early days ment of privileged wealth, for privileged as to afford any such opportunities as interests, by the lawlessness of the priviexist to-day for robbing the people by leged ones and their tools, with the result means of unjust legislation, and the in- that the people are continually exploited centive for the corruption of legislators and corruption is steadily spreading by private interests was only a fraction throughout all the ramifications of politof what it is now. Changed conditions ical life. Against these evils the Refernow call for changes in methods of gov- endum is a powerful weapon. It brings ernment which will best preserve the the government back to the people, devital essence of democratic rule.

stroying corruption and the mastership Switzerland was the first free govern- of the many by the few. ment to realize that the maintenance of The Referendum is the surest and free institutions depended on guarding swiftest method of checking the aggresrepresentative government from the en- sions of the great corporate interests that croachments of class interests or privi- have captured our legislative bodies, lege. Her statesmen therefore framed from city council to national Congress. ideal measures in the Initiative and Re- It is the fundamental reform before the ferendum by which the government has American people. It is the doorway of been kept in the hands of the people and progress, the great hope of democracy through which the great temptations that and good government, the doom of the assail the unprotected legislator have boss and the machine and of the corporabeen removed by the people reserving tions that want government by the few the right to refuse to be robbed or be- instead of by the people.



Hon. Frederic C. Howe, Whose Recent

privileged interests have so industriously Work, “The City The Hope of Democ

fostered for many years. But he was before racy,” is The Most Notable and Funda

all else an intellectually honest man, clear of mental Work on Municipal Government

vision and under the noble idealism that marks of The Year.

the higher order of minds. He was a fundaON. FREDERIC C. HOWE, whose mental thinker--a man not afraid and not too

work, The City the Hope of Democ- lazy to think seriously and earnestly in order racy, is the subject of our book-study this that he might arrive at the bed-rock truths. month, is one of a group of fundamental think- So he set to work to exhaustively investigate ers and incorruptible statesmen and publicists the questions involved, and the more deeply who are the chief dependence of free institu- he studied the situation the more clearly he tions. They are happily coming to the front saw how pitifully superficial and essentially on every hand, springing into the breach, as false had been the explanations accounting it were, in the hour of democracy's supreme for the prevalence of corruption and graft and peril.

for the failure of free government in our cities, When Mr. Tom L. Johnson was elected which interested parties had advanced and Mayor of Cleveland, Mr. Howe was one of which had been taken up and echoed by multhe strongest and ablest Republicans mem- titudes of well-meaning people. Clearly the bers of the city government. Cleveland's tap-root of corruption lay, not in the people, new mayor explained his reasons for advoca- but in the so-called leaders of the business ting the reduction of car-fares, the ultimate interests who, attracted by the rich prizes of acquisition of the street-railway service and public franchises—veritable gold mines whose other public utilities by the city, and also his output of riches must ever increase became reasons for other reforms which antagonized the sustainers when not the creators of corprivileged interests but which would make rupt bosses and who furnished the campaignfor the happiness and prosperity of the citizens funds to make invincible the controlled maand the purity and efficiency of the municipal chines through which politics was reduced to government. The reasons advanced, though a system in which the minions and servants of running directly counter to many views which privilege were everywhere placed on guard to he had previously entertained, impressed Mr. render possible the betrayal of the interests Howe as worthy of serious consideration and of the great people whom they were supposed investigation. The more he considered the faithfully to serve. question, the more he became satisfied that The more Mr. Howe investigated the great they would unquestionably tend to benefit and problems of the city, the more he found that advance the interests of the people though instead of democracy being at fault, the failthey would arouse the relentless opposition ure and the corruption were due to privileged of the almost invincible public-service cor

and class interests that were polluting the porations that were coining millions of dollars fountain-head of free government. Then for that should have gone to the city-corpora- the first time he realized the profound signifitions that were corrupting civic life in order cance of the truth of De Tocqueville's utterto perpetuate their hold on the wealth and the ance, that “the cure for the evils of democracy rights of the people.

is more democracy." To throw his influence in with the Mayor In tracing the evolution that marks his powould inevitably excite the bitter opposition litical life after he began to search for the on the part of the machine organization of his foundation secrets of corruption in public own party and the great privileged interests. life and the shortcomings of American municiMoreover, Mr. Howe had unconsciously, as pal government, Mr. Howe says: have millions of American citizens, become imbued with the reactionary distrust of de- “Starting with the conviction that our evils mocracy which the great corporations and were traceable to personal causes, to the ab

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