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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 176 pages of information about Elements of Civil Government.

GOVERNMENT.—­The functions of the civil district arc judicial and executive, and lie within a narrow range.  Its government possesses no legislative or corporate power whatever; it can not make a single law, however unimportant.  Within a narrow jurisdiction or sphere, it applies the law to particular cases, and this is the chief purpose for its existence.  Whenever the civil unit possesses more powers than are herein set forth, it is more properly described under the township in the next chapter, no matter what name it may go by locally.

CITIZENS.

The citizens of the civil district are the people residing within it.  It exists for their benefit, that they may be secure in life, liberty, and property.  In a certain sense they constitute the district, since its government concerns them directly, and others only remotely.

RIGHTS.—­All citizens have a right to the full and equal protection of the laws.  Each has a right to be secure in his person and property; to demand that the peace be preserved; to do all things according to his own will, provided he does not trespass upon the rights of others.  No one in the family, in the school, in the civil district, in the county, in the State, or in the nation, has the right to do or say any thing which interferes with the life, liberty, property, or happiness of another.  Any act which interferes with the rights of others is an offence against the common good and against the law.  It is chiefly for the prevention and punishment of these unlawful acts that the civil district exists, with its court and its officers.

All legal voters of the district have the right to participate in its government by exercising a free choice in the selection of its officers, except in States where these officers are appointed.  They have the right to cast their votes without fear or favor.  This is one of the most important and sacred rights that freemen possess.  Free government can not exist without it.  The law guarantees it, and all the power of the State may be employed to maintain it.  Therefore, whoever prevents a voter from exercising the right of suffrage does it at his own peril.

DUTIES.—­As the citizens of the civil district have rights, they also have corresponding duties.  As they may demand protection and the preservation of the peace, so it is their duty to obey the law and assist the officers in its enforcement, in order that the same protection may be extended to the whole people.  Each should abstain from acts that injure others, and render cheerful aid to all in securing their rights through the law.

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