Elements of Civil Government eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about Elements of Civil Government.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT; JUSTICES.—­The judicial power is vested in the justices, who are elected by the qualified voters of the town.  There are usually two or three justices, but in some States there is only one in each township.  The term of office is one, two, three, four, or more years, varying in different States.  Justices preside in the justice’s court to hear and determine suits at law.  “This is the humblest court in the land, the court of greatest antiquity, and the court upon which all other courts are founded."[1] The justice’s court tries petty offences and civil suits for small amounts.  In some States the justices preside at the town meetings, and in others they perform the duties of coroner in the township.

[1]Thorpe’s Civil Government.


1.  Has this State the township system?  If so, give the name and number of your township.

2.  How does the township system provide a convenient means of ascertaining and of executing the people’s will?

3.  Why is the people’s power greater when the government is near?

4.  Why can the community manage its own affairs better than any other agency can manage them?

5.  How do people secure their rights?

6.  What is meant by falling under the censure of the law?

7.  What is a naturalized person?

8.  Is it right for subjects of foreign governments to vote?  Why?

9.  Is it right for women to vote?

10.  Why is suffrage the basis of all free government?

11.  What is a more severe penalty than imprisonment?

12.  How can people serve the country?

13.  What is a good citizen?

14.  Why is a bad vote an attack on the rights of the people?

15.  What other laws than those made by the legislative department of the township does the executive department enforce?

16.  How do you like the New England town meeting?  Why?

17.  Name some duties that belong to the executive department.

18.  What is a poll-list?

19.  What are the duties of judges of election?

20.  Of what use is a record of marriages, births, and deaths?

21.  What is meant by license-fees?

22.  What persons are subject to taxation?

23.  What is a poll-tax, and is it right?  Why?

24.  Who are subject to road duty in this State?

25.  Give the names of the officers of this township.


Resolved, That the town meeting is the best system of local government yet devised.



INTRUDUCTORY.—­The county is a political division of the State, and is composed of civil districts or of townships.  It bears the name of county in all parts of the country except in Louisiana, where a similar organization is known as a parish.  In New England the county has less power than the town; in the Western States it has more than the township; and in the Southern States it has far more than the civil district, being there the unit of political influence.

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Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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