GOVERNMENT-MAKERS WHO MISTOOK THEIR PATTERN

IN accordance with what French writers wrongly held to be the English practice, the power of making laws possessed by the Senate and House of Representatives was separated from the administration of them. This was entrusted to the President and his ministers, who could not be members of either House. In the Senate each State- large or small-was to have the same number of members- two. The Senate had great powers, especially in treaty making, and it has preserved far more importance than the English House of Lords. The weak part of the Constitution was the House of Representatives, a short-lived ineffectual body. The severest commentary on the defects of the Constitution was to be the bloodiest civil war of modern times.

The Supreme Court of Federal judges was given the power to disallow legislation if it conflicted with the fundamental principles embodied in the Constitution. Unfortunately, this has caused the obstruction of reforms if they appear to be in advance of the conceptions of the eighteenth century- for instance, certain legislation for the protection of labour, which, pedantically, is an infringement of the human being's right to " life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," guaranteed by the Constitution. It was sound practice to separate the judiciary from the other branches of government.

The Constitution was not by any means the worst of the hundreds that have been framed since 1653, but it had the defect of rigidity. Amendments could only be made by the agreement of a two-thirds majority of both Houses of Congress and three-quarters of the States.

A golden opportunity was lost when, at the opportune moment, the slaves of the southern states were not set free, or when, at least, the importation of new slaves was not forbidden under effective penalties. Many men desired it, and it could have been done at this time with no great inconvenience. A few years afterwards it was too late.