Imagens das páginas

prime minister from the dominant party in the House of Commons; (2) the formation by the prime minister of a cabinet to be associated with him and composed entirely of leaders of the dominant party, usually members of the legislative body; (3) the complete and immediate responsibility of the cabinet to the popular chamber of the legislature; and (4) the assumption by the cabinet of all the functions of the executive in government and a direct participation by the cabinet in the functions of the legislative. The English cabinet acts as a body in initiating, defending, and urging legislation in the Parliament; and the members of the cabinet individually head the various executive departments which administer the laws of the state. So long as the policies and acts of the cabinet command majorities in the House of Commons, just so long the cabinet remains in power; when defeated in the Commons on a vote implying lack of confidence, one of two courses is open to it, either to resign or to dissolve Parliament and seek support in the members of a newly elected House of Commons.

France: Cabinet System.--The English system has never developed in France into the typical form in which it exists in England, owing largely to the fact that the party system in France has had a different development. The success of the English system is largely due to the fact that for generations only two great political parties have elected representatives to the House of Commons, one of which parties has always been able to command a majority of votes. In France, however, a large number of political groups exist in the Chamber of Deputies, and these groups are constantly shifting in membership and numbers, no one group under ordinary circumstances possessing a majority of votes. Thus, whereas in England the cabinet is all of one political party, in France the cabinet is a mixture of several political groups in the endeavor to satisfy a majority of the chamber. The cabinets in France are thus always compromise or coalition cabinets and are subject to sudden loss of legislative support on any shifting of members

of the coalition. Ministries rarely last long in France, the average in the history of the present government being less than a year. The results upon the continuity of policy and the stability of government are necessarily harmful. In its general features, outside of the above conditions, the system resembles the typical system in England; the cabinet as a whole participates in the legislative functions, and, by the appointment of its members at the head of the executive departments, administers the laws of the state. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, none of its acts being legal without the approval of the ministry.

Italy: Cabinet System.-Conditions in Italy resemble those in France, in that the political groups are many and varied. The distinctions between them are more consistently maintained, however, so that there is less possibility of fusion or coalition and consequently more difficulty in choosing a ministry which can keep the support of the chamber. The king has theoretically somewhat more liberty in his choice of a cabinet, and somewhat more influence over it when chosen, than is the case in England, but in actual practice the leaders of the majority are forced upon him and the responsibility of the ministers to the lower chamber of the legislature is unquestioned. The main features of cabinet government exist here as in France. The executive acts of the king are completely controlled by his ministry.

Germany: Cabinet System.-The new German constitution provides for a cabinet system modeled upon that of Great Britain but containing some unique features. The head of the cabinet is the Chancellor, his status being analogous to that of the prime minister or premier. He is selected by the President and himself chooses his colleagues, who are nominally, though, appointed by the President. The Constitution provides, however, that "the national chancellor and the national minister require for the administration of their offices the confidence of the Reichstag; each of them must resign if the Reichstag by formal resolution withdraws its confidence." The German

constitution thus embodies in its fundamental law what is in other governments a traditional practice based, of course, on the necessity for coördination between the branches of government. In its attempts to assure complete subordination of the cabinet to the Reichstag and to the people, the constitution further provides that one-fifth of the members of the Reichstag may force the creation of an investigating committee with power to compel the administrative authorities to appear for testimony; that one hundred members of the Reichstag may require that body to consider the question of impeaching the President of the Republic, the Chancellor, or any minister, and further may, if the chamber gives a two-thirds majority in favor of the impeachment, require proceedings to be instituted before the Supreme Judicial Court.

Irish Free State: Cabinet System.—The cabinet system of the new Irish Free State is in most details similar to the systems in vogue in modern democratic governments with responsible ministries. In this case the cabinet consists in an Executive Council of twelve members responsible to the Chamber Dail Eireann. A unique feature of the system, however, is the requirement that the President, the Vicepresident, and two other members of the Executive Council shall be members of the Parliament, whereas under ordinary conditions the remaining eight ministers shall not be members of Parliament.

Spread of Cabinet Government.—The system of cabinet government has decided advantages which have appealed to states abroad. The close and harmonious coöperation secured between the executive and the legislative branches of government, and the ultimate dependence of the actual executive upon the consent of the popularly elected house, have seemed to insure unity and facility in the operation of government on the one hand and the responsibility of the actual executive to the people on the other. The system is now established in Belgium, Holland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, in addition to the states which we have examined more in detail. On this

side of the ocean the conspicuous example of the United States has operated to cause imitation of the essentials of its system rather than that of England.

IV. ORGANIZATION OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT Organization of Executive to Handle Mass of Business.Emphasis has been laid upon the quantity and importance of the business which the executive is called upon to handle. The efficient performance of this business can be accomplished successfully only by careful organization and regular procedure. The “red tape,” which is so often blamed for delay, is but a necessary part of the procedure; where in one case it may cause temporary and apparently needless delay, in a hundred it is responsible for the orderly and rapid dispatch of business.

Division of Work: Department Heads.—The most effective method of planning the work of the executive is to divide it into a number of parts. The duties of the executive, both in his administrative and executive capacity, fall naturally into several categories; there is, for example, his military duty, his naval duty, his duty in connection with foreign affairs, his duty in connection with internal affairs, his duty relative to the public moneys, etc. When various divisions are made, the executive assigns to each department a head or chief whose particular province it is to superintend the performance of the executive duties of that department. Thus in England the executive duties are distributed among as many as twenty departments; in France among twelve; in the post-war German Republic among nine; in the United States among ten, headed respectively by the Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of War, Attorney-general, Postmaster-general, Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and Secretary of Labor.

Double Duty of Department Heads.--The heads of these various departments are appointed by the chief executive and act not only as the directing heads of their departments, but

also as an advisory body to the chief executive. In states such as England, France, Germany, and Italy the sovereign or president must choose his advisers from among the leaders of the majority in the legislature, and the nominal executive has to approve the policies of his ministers. In the United States, however, and other states similarly governed, the executive head is free to choose whatever men he wishes to head the various departments, and is likewise free to accept or overrule their advice.

Further Subdivision in Departments. The process of subdivision in the business of the executive goes still further, each department being divided into bureaus headed by a commissioner responsible to the chief of the department. For example, the Department of the Interior in the United States contains among others the Bureau of Public Lands, the Pension Bureau, the Patent Bureau, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Education, each headed by a commissioner taking his title from his office, as the Commissioner of Public Lands, the Commissioner of Patents, the Commissioner of Education.

Advantages of Division in Leaving Executive Head Free from Details of Executive Business.—This process of division and subdivision into a hierarchy of officials to perform the executive duties in no way removes the responsibility from the actual executive, but it does greatly simplify his labor. The details of administration are handled by subordinates experienced in, and, theoretically at least, especially qualified for, such work. The time of the actual executive is left free to use in the broader and more complicated problems of his office, such as the policies of the state in its relation to other states, the policies of the executive in his manifold and complex relations with the legislative body, the consideration of measures submitted to him from that body for approval or of measures and suggestions to be submitted by him to that body for its deliberations.

« AnteriorContinuar »