Elements of Civil Government eBook

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

That, except in capital cases, persons charged with crime may give bail;

That no excessive bail shall be required;

That all courts shall be open;

That the accused shall have a speedy trial in the district in which the offense was committed;

That the ancient mode of trial by jury shall be maintained; but civil suits, by consent of the parties, may be tried without a jury;

That all persons injured in lands, goods, person, or reputation shall have remedy by course of law;

That the accused shall be informed of the nature of the charges against him;

That he shall be confronted by the witnesses against him;

That he shall be heard in his own defense, and may have the benefit of counsel;

That he shall not be required to testify against himself;

That he shall not be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law;

That no cruel or unusual punishment shall be inflicted;

That no one shall be twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense.

No citizen of the United States would deny the justice of these declarations.  They are so reasonable it seems strange that they should ever have been questioned.  “But in enumerating them we are treading on sacred ground.  Their establishment cost our ancestors hundreds of years of struggle against arbitrary power, in which they gave their blood and treasure."[2]

It was to secure and maintain a part of these rights that the American colonies went to war with Great Britain, and made good their Declaration of Independence by an appeal to arms.

Most of these rights are preserved in the Constitution of the United States, to prevent encroachments upon the liberties of the people by the General Government.  They are repeated in the State constitution in order that they may not be invaded by the State Government.  There is also a provision in the constitution of the State which declares that “the enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

[1]Popular education must command the sympathy and respect of the people in each locality in order to remain “popular.”  While the State, therefore, enforces a general system of public schools, it leaves all the details of local management with the people most closely related to the particular school.  The people esteem that which they create and control.

[2]McCleary’s Studies in Civics.


1.  Why are the smaller political communities subject to the State?

2.  Give the names of the thirteen original States.

3.  What is meant by States having different industries and occupations?

4.  How do State institutions develop the self-reliance of the people?

5.  Name some acts of government which you have seen the State perform.

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Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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