chapter  V
52 Pages

THE EXECUTIVE

IT is at once curious and instructive to note how we have been forced into practically amending the Constitution without constitutionally amending it. The legal processes of constitutional change are so slow ancl cumbersome. that we have been constrained to adopt a serviceable framework of fictions which enables us easily to preserve the forms without laboriously obeying the spirit of the Constitution, which will stretch as the nation grows. It would seem that no impulse short of the impulse of self-preservation, no force less than the force of revolution, can nowadays be expected to move the cumbrous machinery of formal amendment erected in Article Five. That must be a tremendous move-

THEEXECUTIVE.243 mentofopinionwhichcanswaytwothirdsof eachHouseofCongressandthepeopleofthree fourthsoftheStates.Mr.Bagehothaspointed outthatoneconsequenceoftheexistenceo£this nexttoimmovablemachinery"isthatthemost obviousevilscannotbequicklyremedied,"and "thataclumsyworkingandacurioustechnicalitymarkthepoliticsofarough-and-ready people.ThepracticalargumentsandlegaldisquisitionsinAmerica,"continueshe,"areoften likethoseoftrusteescarryingoutamisdrawn will,- thesenseofwhattheymeanisgood,but itcanneverbeworkedoutfullyordefended simply,sohamperedisitbytheoldwordsofan oldtestament."1Butmuchthegreaterconsequenceisthatwehaveresorted,almostunconsciouso£thepoliticalsignificanceofwhatwe did,toextra-constitutionalmeansofmodifying thefederalsystemwhereithasprovedtobetoo refinedbybalancesofdividedauthoritytosuit practicaluses,-tobeoutofsquarewiththe mainprincipleofitsfoundation,namely,governmentbythepeoplethroughtheirrepresentatives inCongress.