Elements of Civil Government eBook

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

DIRECT LEGISLATION.—­In order to give fuller and quicker effect to the will of the people in law making, recent provisions in the constitutions of some States provide for the initiative and referendum.  By the initiative a certain number of voters may petition for the enactment of a law set forth in the petition.  If the legislature does not pass the act petitioned for, it may be enacted by the people, voting on it in a general or special election—­the referendum.  On petition of a certain number of voters also, a referendum may be ordered as to a bill passed by the legislature, to which the petitioners object, giving the people the opportunity to ratify or reject the proposed law.

These methods of direct legislation have been applied also to the making of constitutional amendments, and to some city, as well as some state governments.


1.  Why is the State legislature composed of two houses?

2.  Why should the proceedings of the legislature be public?

3.  Why should senators and representatives be free from arrest while discharging their public duties?

4.  How often does the legislature of this State meet?

5.  What is the limit of its session?

6.  Can its session be extended?

7.  What is a reformatory?

8.  What are the age and number of years of residence required of a State senator in this State?  Who is the senator from this district?

9.  What is a bill for raising revenue?

10.  What are the age and number of years of residence required of a representative in this State?  Who is the representative from this district?


Resolved, That a State legislature should not have more than forty senators and one hundred representatives.


THE STATE—­(Continued).

When the laws are enacted it becomes necessary that some one be charged with seeing that they are duly executed and obeyed.  The people’s representatives in the legislative department make the laws.  The people’s servants in the executive department execute the laws.


The chief executive officers of the State are the governor, the lieutenant-governor, the secretary of state, the auditor or comptroller, the treasurer, the attorney-general, and the superintendent of public instruction, who, in most States, are elected by the people.  Besides these, an adjutant-general, a commissioner of agriculture, a commissioner of insurance, railway commissioners, a register of the land office or land commissioner, and in some States other subordinate officers, are usually appointed by the governor, and confirmed by the Senate.

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Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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