Judicial Power In The United States Chapter Summary The Anglo-Americans have retained the characteristics of judicial power which are common to all nations — They have, however, made it a powerful political organ — How — In what the judicial system of the Anglo-Americans differs from that of all other nations — Why the American judges have the right of declaring the laws to be unconstitutional — How they use this right -Precautions taken by the legislator to prevent its abuse. Confederations have existed in other countries beside America, and republics have not been established upon the shores of the New World alone; the representative system of government has been adopted in several States of Europe, but I am not aware that any nation of the globe has hitherto organized a judicial power on the principle now adopted by the Americans. The judicial organization of the United States is the institution which a stranger has the greatest difficulty in understanding.
Edited, translated and with an introduction by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop On the Use That the Americans Make of Association in Civil Life I do not wish to speak of those political associations with the aid of which men seek to defend themselves against the despotic action of a majority or against the encroachments of royal power.
I have already treated this subject elsewhere. It is clear that if each citizen, as he becomes individually weaker and consequently more incapable in isolation of preserving his freedom, does not learn the art of uniting with those like him to defend it, tyranny will necessarily grow with equality.
Here it is a question only of the associations that are formed in civil life and which have an object that is in no way political. The political associations that exist in the United States form only a detail in the midst of the immense picture that the sum of associations presents there.
Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. Not only do they have commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but they also have a thousand other kinds: Finally, if it is a question of bringing to light a truth or developing a sentiment with the support of a great example, they associate.
Everywhere that, at the head of a new undertaking, you see the government in France and a great lord in England, count on it that you will perceive an association in the United States.
In America I encountered sorts of associations of which, I confess, I had no idea, and I often admired the infinite art with which the inhabitants of the United States managed to fix a common goal to the efforts of many men and to get them to advance to it freely.
I have since traveled through England, from which the Americans took some of their laws and many of their usages, and it appeared to me that there they were very far from making as constant and as skilled a use of association.
It often happens that the English execute very great things in isolation, whereas there is scarcely an undertaking so small that Americans do not unite for it.
It is evident that the former consider association as a powerful means of action; but the latter seem to see in it the sole means they have of acting. Thus the most democratic country on earth is found to be, above all, the one where men in our day have most perfected the art of pursuing the object of their common desires in common and have applied this new science to the most objects.
Does this result from an accident or could it be that there in fact exists a necessary relation between associations and equality? Aristocratic societies always include within them, in the midst of a multitude of individuals who can do nothing by themselves, a few very powerful and very wealthy citizens; each of these can execute great undertakings by himself.
In aristocratic societies men have no need to unite to act because they are kept very much together. Each wealthy and powerful citizen in them forms as it were the head of a permanent and obligatory association that is composed of all those he holds in dependence to him, whom he makes cooperate in the execution of his designs.
In democratic peoples, on the contrary, all citizens are independent and weak; they can do almost nothing by themselves, and none of them can oblige those like themselves to lend them their cooperation. They therefore all fall into impotence if they do not learn to aid each other freely.
If men who live in democratic countries had neither the right nor the taste to unite in political goals, their independence would run great risks, but they could preserve their wealth and their enlightenment for a long time; whereas if they did not acquire the practice of associating with each other in ordinary life, civilization itself would be in peril.
A people among whom particular persons lost the power of doing great things in isolation, without acquiring the ability to produce them in common, would soon return to barbarism.
Unhappily, the same social state that renders associations so necessary to democratic peoples renders them more difficult for them than for all others. When several members of an aristocracy want to associate with each other they easily succeed in doing so. As each of them brings great force to society, the number of members can be very few, and, when the members are few in number, it is very easy for them to know each other, to understand each other, and to establish fixed rules.
The same facility is not found in democratic nations, where it is always necessary that those associating be very numerous in order that the association have some power. I know that there are many of my contemporaries whom this does not embarrass.
They judge that as citizens become weaker and more incapable, it is necessary to render the government more skillful and more active in order that society be able to execute what individuals can no longer do.
They believe they have answered everything in saying that. But I think they are mistaken. A government could take the place of some of the greatest American associations, and within the Union several particular states already have attempted it.
But what political power would ever be in a state to suffice for the innumerable multitude of small undertakings that American citizens execute every day with the aid of an association? It is easy to foresee that the time is approaching when a man by himself alone will be less and less in a state to produce the things that are the most common and the most necessary to his life.
The task of the social power will therefore constantly increase, and its very efforts will make it vaster each day. The more it puts itself in place of associations, the more particular persons, losing the idea of associating with each other, will need it to come to their aid:Judicial Power In The United States And Its Influence On Political Society I have thought it essential to devote a separate chapter to the judicial authorities of the United States, lest their great political importance should be lessened in the reader’s eyes by a merely incidental mention of them.
The Contribution of the Political Party System, Free Study Guides and book notes including comprehensive chapter analysis, complete summary analysis, author biography information, character profiles, theme analysis, metaphor analysis, and top ten quotes on classic literature.
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