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parliament and is signed by the President. Beyond this ordinary legislation, however, provision is made for a meeting together of the two chambers of the legislature in a National Assembly for voting on an amendment to the constitutional laws. The National Assembly, thus constituted and empowered, is also exercising sovereignty when it votes an amendment to the fundamental law of the state. The sovereign in France, then, for ordinary purposes is the legislature and the President, and for extraordinary purposes is the National Assembly.
In the United States the problem of locating the sovereign is most complicated, at least four different combinations
according to conditions having the authority to exercise , sovereignty. First, under normal and ordinary conditions, the
Congress issues laws which take effect upon the signature of the President. In the second place, if the President disapproves congressional laws by a veto, Congress has the right by a two-thirds vote to pass the legislation over the veto. In the third place, any legislation passed by Congress, whether with the approval of the president or over his veto, may by the presentation of a case be laid before the Supreme Court for a determination of its constitutionality. And lastly, amendments to the constitution are proposed by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress and are ratified by the legislatures or special conventions of three fourths of the commonwealths. The sovereign in the United States, then, is variously according to conditions: (1) The Congress and the President; (2) The Congress alone; (3) The Congress with or without the President, and the Supreme Court; (4) The Congress and the legislatures or special conventions of three fourths of the commonwealths.
Implications of Sovereignty. The notion of sovereignty implies two things, independence and unity. 1. Independence. Sovereignty implies complete independ
The freedom from any restrictions placed upon its scope by any external or internal agency must be absolute.
The reason for this is easily understood. Sovereignty which is open to restrictions of any kind is a contradiction in terms, for sovereignty is the supreme power. If supreme power is restricted, the supreme power is at once transferred to that which imposes the restrictions.
The only difficulty in reconciling this conception of independence with known political facts lies in the status of certain states whose liberty of action seems to be restricted by some treaty or agreement. To take a striking example of such a state, consider the case of Cuba. Cuba has been declared a free and independent state: it maintains its own government, has its own foreign representatives, and receives recognition from other states. Yet the United States has caused to be inserted in the Cuban constitution the following proviso: “That the government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the protection of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the Treaty of Paris on the United States, now to be assumed and undertaken by the government of Cuba." Upon this provision the United States has already acted once (1906). The question arises: Can it be reasonably maintained in view of the above facts that Cuba as a state possesses sovereignty? Is it not a fact that sovereignty resides outside of Cuba?
The solution of this problem lies in recognition of the fact already stated that sovereignty is an attribute of the state as a whole, and that by virtue of its supreme power the state can delegate the authority to direct the use of this power to such agents as it chooses. In the case of Cuba, the state by virtue of its supreme power has delegated the authority to use supreme power in certain specified emergencies to the United States. The delegation of such authority does not impair Cuba's independence, Cuba's sovereignty: Cuba is free by virtue of its sovereignty to alter its constitution and leave
out the provision mentioned above. Cuba therefore is a free and sovereign state.
Although the Cuban example is selected because it is an extreme instance of the point in question, it must be recognized that all treaties and international agreements are in a lesser degree of the same character. They are to be considered as acts of the sovereign state by which the state voluntarily by agreement restricts the exercise of its supreme power in certain specified directions. Such agreements or treaties do not impair the independence of sovereignty; they may be abrogated or annulled by a contracting state by virtue of this very independence implied in the notion of sovereignty.
2. Unity.—The notion of sovereignty implies also complete and absolute unity. In theory it is inconceivable that sovereignty can be divided in a state, that one section or organization within a state shall possess a part of the sovereign power separate from the sovereignty of the whole state.
This implication in the conception of sovereignty follows naturally from the proposition that sovereignty implies complete independence. If a portion of sovereignty be reserved by any section or organization within a state, it follows that the sovereignty of the whole state is restricted by just that portion. For the reasons we have already given, any restriction upon the state's sovereignty is logically inconceivable; hence, it is equally true that a division of sovereignty in the state is inconceivable.
An explanation of sovereignty as applied to the federal state will clear up the only difficulty in understanding this unity. In the federal state we learned that certain governmental powers were reserved by the component units of the state and were exercised by such units free from the control of the central organization. Without explanation, it might be thought that this condition destroyed the unity of sovereignty. It must be remembered, however, that the state, by virtue of its sovereignty (supreme power), can establish and distribute the
powers of government as it wills. Indivisible and independent sovereignty is an attribute of the state and not of the government. The governmental system is but an element in the state; the sovereignty of the state resides above, beyond, and superior to such system. The distribution of governmental powers, then, does not constitute a division of sovereignty, but merely an administrative convenience of government under the complete control of the ultimate independent unified sovereignty of the whole state.
Importance of Sovereignty.–From the foregoing discussion of sovereignty, the importance of this element in the state must be evident. By virtue of its sovereignty the state determines its governmental system, the relations between individuals and itself, the relations between itself and other states. Sovereignty underlies the fundamental nature of the state. Be the state large or small, autocratic or democratic, sovereignty is always the supreme power which it wields over its members, a power free from interference internal or external and completely unified within itself.
II. CONSTITUTION Constitution: Definition and Scope.—The body of principles by which the practical application or exercise of the sovereignty of a state is determined is known as the constition.
Inasmuch as the sovereignty of a state is exercised through the system of government, the chief province of the constitution is to define this system of government. Hence, the constitution must outline the practical organization and machinery of government, the functions of the various agencies of government, and the relations between the governing bodies and those governed.
More narrowly, then, we may define the constitution as a collection of principles providing for the organization and operation of government, and for the adjustment of the relations between governing bodies and the governed.
Written and Unwritten Constitutions.-A constitution may be written or unwritten. It may be a single document, like the constitution of the United States, or it may be a combination of legal precedent, individual bills and grants, and immemorial customs, like the constitution of England.
The distinction between a constitution that is written and a constitution that is unwritten is not important. In the case of all written constitutions that have lasted for any considerable period, judicial interpretations and acknowledged customs outside of the written document have become an essential part of the organization and operation of government. Thus to a certain extent it is true that no constitution is wholly written.
On the other hand, in the case of countries which have not a single document called a constitution, a large proportion of the fundamental principles which would be embodied in such a document is actually embodied in various separate acts decreed by the sovereign body. Hence it may be said that to a considerable extent all constitutions are written constitutions.
Furthermore, one constitution is of no more authority than another. With the early history of written constitutions it was commonly thought that these, by defining in precise and unmistakable terms the organization, functions, and operation of government, insured a greater degree of protection to the governed. It was believed that governments would be checked in their tendencies to encroach upon the rights of constituents. Experience has proved, however, that whether written or unwritten the constitution merely expresses the will of the sovereign power behind itself, and that, if the sovereign power actually resides in the people or their representatives, there can be no encroachment under either form of constitution.
Example of a Written Constitution.—The parent of written constitutions in the modern state is the constitution of the United States of America. This constitution was the work of a convention in 1787 to organize a government to replace that provided by the Articles of Confederation under which the