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should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes misrepresentative. Here again I am concerned not with theories but with actual facts. If in any State the people are themselves satisfied with their present representative system, then it is of course their right to keep that system unchanged; and it is nobody's business but theirs. But in actual practice it has been found in very many States that legislative bodies have not been responsive to the popular will. Therefore I believe that the State should provide for the possibility of direct popular action in order to make good such legislative failure. The power to invoke such direct action, both by initiative and by referendum, should be provided in such fashion as to prevent its being wantonly or too frequently used. I do not believe that it should be made the easy or ordinary way of taking action. In the great majority of cases it is far better that action on legislative matters should be taken by those specially delegated to perform the task; in other words, that the work should be done by the experts chosen to perform it. But where the men thus delegated fail to perform their duty, then it should be in the power of the people themselves to perform the duty. In a recent speech Governor McGovern, of Wisconsin, has described the plan which has been there adopted. Under this plan the effort to obtain the law is first to be made through the Legislature, the bill being pushed as far as it will go; so that the details of the proposed measure may be threshed over in actual legislative debate. This gives opportunity to perfect it in form and invites public scrutiny. Then, if the Legislature fails to enact it, it can be enacted by the people on their own initiative, taken at least four months before election. Moreover, where possible, the question actually to be voted on by the people should be made as simple as possible. In short, I believe that the initiative and referendum should be used, not as substitutes for
representative government, but as methods of making such government really representative. Action by the initiative or referendum ought not to be the normal way of legislation; but the power to take it should be provided in the Constitution, so that if the representatives fail truly to represent the people on some matter of sufficient importance to rouse popular interest, then the people shall have in their hands the facilities to make good the failure. And I urge you not to try to put constitutional fetters on the Legislature, as so many constitution-makers have recently done. Such action on your part would invite the courts to render nugatory every legislative act to better social conditions. Give the Legislature an entirely free hand; and then provide by the initiative and referendum that the people shall have power to reverse or supplement the work of the Legislature should it ever become necessary. 1. As to the recall, I do not believe that there is any great necessity for it as regards short-term elective officers. On abstract grounds I was originally inclined to be hostile to it. I know of one case where it was actually used with mischievous results. On the other hand, in three cases in municipalities on the Pacific Coast which have come to my knowledge it was used with excellent results. I believe it should be generally provided, but with such restrictions as will make it available only when there is a widespread and genuine public feeling among a majority of the voters.
There remains the question of the recall of judges. ...
Now, gentlemen, in closing, and in thanking you for your courtesy, let me add one word. Keep clearly in view what are the fundamental ends of government. Remember that methods are merely the machinery by which these ends are to be achieved. I hope that not only you and I but all our people may ever remember that while good laws are necessary, while it is 'necessary to have the right kind of govern
mental machinery, yet that the all-important matter is to have the right kind of man behind the law. A State cannot rise without proper laws, but the best laws that the wit of man can devise will amount to nothing if the State does not contain the right kind of man, the right kind of woman. A good Constitution, and good laws under the Constitution, and fearless and upright officials to administer the laws all these are necessary; but the prime requisite in our National life is, and must always be, the possession by the average citizen of the right kind of character. Our aim must be the moralization of the individual, of the government, of the people as a whole. We desire the moralization not only of political conditions but of industrial conditions, so that every force in the community, individual and collective, may be directed towards securing for the averag
an, and averag woman, a higher and better and fuller life, in the things of the body no less than those of the mind and the soul.
THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR 1
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN, - I greet you on the recommencement of our literary year. Our anniversary is one of hope, and, perhaps, not enough of labor. We do not meet for games of strength or skill, for the recitation of histories, tragedies, and odes, like the ancient Greeks; for parliaments of love and poesy, like the Troubadours; nor for the advancement of science, like our contemporaries in the British and European capitals. Thus far, our holiday has been simply a friendly sign of the survival of the love of letters amongst a people too busy to give to letters any more. As such it is precious as the sign of an indestructible instinct. Perhaps the time is already come when it ought to be, and will be, something else; when the sluggard intellect of this continent will look from under its iron lids and fill the postponed expectation of the world with something better than the exertions of mechanical skill. Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close. The millions that around us are rushing into life, cannot always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests. Events, actions arise, that must be sung, that will sing themselves. Who can doubt that poetry will revive and lead in a new age, as the star in the constellation Harp, which now flames in our zenith, astronomers announce, shall one day be the pole-star for a thousand years?
1 Our “Intellectual Declaration of Independence," as Oliver Wendell Holmes called it, was delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, August 31, 1837.
In this hope I accept the topic which not only usage but the nature of our association seem to prescribe to this day,
-the AMERICAN SCHOLAR. Year by year we come up hither to read one more chapter of his biography. Let us inquire what light new days and events have thrown on his charicter and his hopes.
It is one of those fables which out of an unknown antiquity convey an unlooked-for wisdom, that the gods, in the beginning, divided Man into men, that he might be more helpful to himself; just as the hand was divided into fingers, the better to answer its end.
The old fable covers a doctrine ever new and sublime; that there is One Man, - present to all particular men only partially, or through one faculty; and that you must take the whole society to find the whole man. Man is not a farmer, or a professor, or an engineer, but he is all. Man is priest, and scholar, and statesman, and producer, and soldier. In the divided or social state these functions are parcelled out to individuals, each of whom aims to do his stint of the joint work, whilst each other performs his. The fable implies that the individual, to possess himself, must sometimes return from his own labor to embrace all the other laborers. But, unfortunately, this original unit, this fountain of power, has been so distributed to multitudes, has been so minutely subdivided and peddled out, that it is spilled into drops, and cannot be gathered. The state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters, – a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.
Man is thus metamorphosed into a thing, into many things. The planter, who is Man sent out into the field to gather food, is seldom cheered by any idea of the true dignity of his ministry. He sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond, and sinks into the farmer, instead of Man