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first dismembering him and then reassembling his fragments in a fairer form. But he who casts upon the operating table the constitution and the laws of a nation had best handle his scalpel with exceeding care, lest, after he has moulded its form into more gracious lines, it should be found that those impalpable things which make the soul of the nation-truth, justice, and liberty-have returned into the void from whence they came.
If democracy means anything at all it means equality. But equality does not insure liberty. Grant universal suffrage and abolish all hereditary privileges and honors, and the foundation of a democratic state is laid, but the preservation of its liberty is to be secured only at the price of "eternal vigilance" against the entrance of despotic power. In its political aspect, the equality of democracy means equality of citizenship, equality of legal rights and obligations, equality before the law. On its social side, it means. equality of opportunity. Neither in the one nor in the other does it mean equality of natural endowment or of possessions. This truth is recognized by the more thoughtful men, even among the most advanced radicals. But not all will hear the voice of reason. As held in the minds of many, the new theory of social justice is emotional, not ratiocinative. It demands equality. But it does not mean that all shall enjoy the protection of equal laws, but that all shall be made equal. Equal laws do not level the inequalities of individual ability or individual enterprise. Since these are not the product of law, equality before the law will
not obviate inequalities of possession and prosperity. But this does not satisfy the philosophers of the new school. To them it is not enough that all men should equally share the benefit and protection of the law, or enjoy equally the opportunities of life. They demand, in effect, not equal laws, but laws of equalization.
They forget that if equality is the gift of democracy, its one essential virtue-losing which it will sooner or later surely lose its very life—is justice, impartial justice, justice to all; because it is the prerequisite to liberty and the one vital condition without which equality and fraternity are but empty and mocking words. Justice is a very precious thing, a very high ideal. But it must come down out of the clouds and be made vocal in the law of the land. The experience of mankind shows that it comes nearer to full realization when the impulse to be just, generally prevalent, though oftener based on feeling than on reason, is fortified by constitutional guaranties for its enforcement than when left to the unregulated will of those whose vision is clouded by merely transitory events or distorted by a personal sense of wrong. For this is surely true, that while the will of the people may shift and change, may be swept by gusts of passion, may follow the ignis fatuus of error, yet throughout the entire web of civilization there run certain principles of justice and of right, eternal and unchanging, which cannot be violated save at the risk of incalculable harm.
But after all, it is not by the aid of constitutions alone that democracy may attain its goal. The wise restraints
and limitations of our constitutions are not fetters to bind the striving feet of democracy, nor manacles to chain its upward-reaching hands. But neither can they furnish the power which may enable it joyfully to run the race that
is set before it. Constitutions and laws are written upon paper, but the true principles of democracy must be graven in the hearts of men. And these are not all summed up in the maxims of liberty, equality, and justice. There is this further, that the beneficence of democracy must be impartial and the end of its endeavor must be the welfare of all. There can be no true advance in popular government until men realize that democracy does not mean the control of government in the interest of either mass or class, but that it means a government of the people (all of them), by the people (the whole people), and for the people-not for the benefit of any less than the entire body of citizenry. Too often we forget this. Too often we look at the problems of our national life as merely separate and disconnected fragments. Neither will the true face of democracy be revealed to us, nor inspiration given for her efficient service, until we can tread the mountain tops of understanding and thence survey the whole vast field of human endeavor. Then and then only, will it be given to us to perceive that government by the people must not be likened to a crass struggle for existence, in which every man's hand is raised against his neighbor, but that it must be based upon co-operation in mutual aid and service, each striving for the good of all, and all for each. Democracy must learn the lesson of humility. It must put away
all dreams of personal or class aggrandizement. It must proceed, in Lincoln's words "with malice toward none, with charity to all."
The struggle for democracy has been going on for many an age and throughout the world. Conceived in liberty, America has always stood forward as its champion and defender, and our influence and example have affected the destinies of peoples separated from us by half the circumference of the globe. We have come to see that something. more than boundary lines, something more than forms of government, is at issue in the stupendous war. Now at last, and once and forever, the world is to be made safe for democracy. And when that is done, our country will have the opportunity to enter upon a mission of immense helpfulness. In the reconstruction of the world which must follow the close of the war, America has a part to play, not only as an advocate of enduring peace, but as the protagonist of free and righteous government, government by and for the people. First, we must thoroughly set our house in order, and then we may issue forth as the standard-bearer of true democracy, holding up its high ideals to the gaze of all nations-to those which, with vision clarified by the fires of suffering, now see eye to eye with us to those which, close to our own shores or far remote, are striving to follow in our footsteps-to those as yet distraught and drunken with the acrid smoke of battle. For the cardinal principle of American democracy is justice; its hope, the brotherhood of mankind; and its symbol, “Liberty enlightening the world."
Constitutional Changes in the November Elections
The convention which has been occupied since last June in revising the constitution of Massachusetts wisely decided not to wait until its labors should be entirely completed, before submitting their results to the approval of the people at the polls, but instead directed the placing upon the ballots for the November election of the three specific constitutional amendments which the convention had so far approved and voted to recommend to the electorate. There were all adopted. The first, which has been commonly called the "anti-aid" or "anti-sectarian' amendment, was fully described in the October, 1917, number of the REVIEW (see page 162). As finally submitted it prohibits the grant of public funds in aid of "any school or institution of learning wherein any denominational doctrine is inculcated" or to any public institution which "is not publicly owned and under the exclusive control, order, and superintendence of public officers or public agents authorized by the commonwealth or federal authority or both." This amendment, after very long discussion, not as to its essential principle, but as to its scope and form, passed the constitutional convention by a vote of 275 to 25. As the convention is very fairly representative of the entire state, as to race and creed as well as politics, it was thought that this decisive vote might be taken as an index of the popular decision on the question. Yet, shortly before the election, very vigorous opposition to the amendment was manifested, chiefly by members of of the the Roman Catholic
Church under the leadership of Cardinal O'Connell, and for a time its fate seemed uncertain. The majority in its favor (75,781 out of a total vote of 336,943) was the smallest received by any of the three amendments.
The second amendment is in the following words: "The maintenance and distribution at reasonable rates, during time of war, public exigency, emergency, or distress, of a sufficient supply of food and other common necessaries of life and the providing of shelter, are public functions, and the commonwealth and the cities and towns therein may take and provide the same for their inhabitants in such manner as the general court shall determine." The necessity of such an amendment to the constitution was not altogether apparent, in view of the fact that the legislature had already placed in the hands of the governor very large powers for the sequestration, control, and distribution not only of the necessaries of life, but also of the instruments of production and transportation, and the validity of its enactments does not seem to have been called in question. However, the amendment extends similar powers to the cities and towns of the state, and it makes clear the principle that their exercise is justifiable only in time of war or under the pressure of some other great public exigency. This amendment met with great favor at the polls. The ballots cast in the affirmative numbered 261,133, those against it 52,437, the majority in its favor being therefore 208,696.
The third of the amendments adopted on November 6th related to absentee voting. Though intended primarily for the benefit of those sons of the state who are in the military service, it is much more general in its application. It reads: "The general court shall have power to provide by law for voting by qualified voters of the commonwealth who, at the time of an election, are absent from the city or town of which they are inhabitants, in the choice of any officer to be elected or upon any question submitted at such election." Provisions for receiving the votes of soldiers absent from their own states were incorporated into many of the state constitutions, both in the north and south, during the period of the Civil War, but they have not generally survived, as some of them were limited to the duration of the war and others were repealed after its close. But few states found themselves constitutionally able to provide for absentee voting when the National Guard was taken into the federal service and sent to the Mexican border, because generally the constitutional provisions were so worded that the voting privilege accompanied the soldiers only "in time of war." The electoral clause of the constitution of New York, for instance, contains this sentence: "In time of war, no elector in the actual military service of the state or of the United States, in the army or navy thereof, shall be deprived of his or her vote by reason of his or her absence from such election district." But the broader provision-for absentee voting generally-is in force in several of the western states, and it is thought that
no particular dissatisfaction has been expressed either with its principle or its operation. It is one of those surprising manifestations which so often emerge from a general election that 76,765 persons should have voted against this amendment to the constitution of Massachusetts. Yet as it was favored by 281,817 voters, it will be seen that it was adopted by something more than a comfortable majority. The amendment is not self-executing; it only gives power to the legislature to enact a statute upon the subject. But within eight days after the election a bill was introduced in the Massachusetts legislature under which any voter of the state, if required by his duty as a member of the military or naval forces of the United States, or by his business or occupation, to be absent on election day from the city or town in which he is registered may obtain by mail a copy of the official ballot and return it, after execution, to the registrar in the same way.
An analysis of the vote cast in Massachusetts shows a very unusual and very commendable public interest in the three proposed amendments. It is notorious that constitutional amendments proposed in any state are very often regarded with languid indifference, that only a small proportion of the voters who actually go to the polls will take the trouble to express a preference as to such matters, and that important amendments have sometimes been adopted by majorities so small as to constitute but a negligible fraction of the electorate. But in Massachusetts last November, while the total vote was not heavy for the state (as it
was not a presidential year) the votes cast on the "anti-aid" amendment amounted to 86.73 per cent of the votes cast for governor, those cast on the absentee voting amendment amounted to 79.43 per cent, and those on the amendment relating to state and municipal control of food supplies and other necessaries amounted to 80.71 per cent. It is significant that the corresponding percentage of votes cast at the 1916 election on the question of calling the constitutional convention was but 64.3. This seems to show that the people of Massachusetts were not greatly dissatisfied with their existing constitution and not profoundly interested in its proposed revision, but that specific amendments placed before them by the convention were taken up as matters of very general public con
But the people have been very much interested in the convention, which has been in session since last June. Its debates, hearings, and resolutions have been copiously reported in the press, and some of the measures pending before it have been the subject of wide and warm discussion outside the convention, and even of mass meetings and other demonstrations. It would have been strange, indeed, if this spirit of curiosity, interest, and partisanship had not been reflected at the polls. The general result appears to be an emphatic approval of the convention and its work, which should give encouragement for its further progress with the work of reviewing the constitution. The Springfield "Republican" probably expresses the views of most of the people of the state in saying: "The constitutional convention should
take heart. What more does it want as a popular indorsement than the overwhelming ratification by the people of the first three amendments submitted to them? The convention's existence is so thoroughly vindicated that those who maintained that there was no popular interest in it might well scurry into the background."
In New York, the only amendment submitted at the November election which was of interest from the stand
point of constitutional government in general was that giving the right of suffrage to women. The result bore witness to a most remarkable change of sentiment in the state. When this question was put to the vote a very few years ago, the proposal to enfranchise women was defeated by a majority of about 190,000. But in the meantime approximately one voter in every four must have changed his mind. For the equal suffrage amendment was carried in 1917 by a majority close to 100,000, which was, roughly speaking, 10 per cent of the total vote cast on that issue. It is estimated that there are nearly 2,000,000 citizens of the state of New York who will thus become vested for the first time with the elective franchise. It has been granted to them in the widest possible form. Their right to vote is not restricted to presidential or other federal elections, nor, on the other hand, to local or municipal elections. The amended constitution gives the ballot to "every citizen of the age of twenty-one years who shall have been a citizen for ninety days, and an inhabitant of this state one year next preceding an election," with certain minor restrictions as to the time of