Elements of Civil Government eBook

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

1.  Is it better that judges be elected, or that they be appointed?  Why?

2.  Why should a judge’s term of office be lengthy?

3.  Who is chief justice of this State?

4.  Who is the judge of the circuit or district court of this district?

5.  At what dates does this court hold sessions in this county?

6.  How many organized Territories now in the United States?  Give their names.

7.  When did this State cease to be a Territory?

8.  Why should delegates from the Territories not have the privilege of voting in Congress?


Resolved, That the judges of the higher courts should be appointed by the governor, and hold their positions during life and good behavior.



INTRODUCTORY.—­Each division of government which we have considered exists for only a part of the whole people.  The government of one State has no authority over the people of other States; but the government of the United States, often called the national government or federal government, is for the good of the entire country, and its authority is over the whole people.

All these divisions of government—­the family, the school, the township or civil district, the county, the State, and the United States—­are dependent upon one another.

If family government were destroyed, society would be ruined and other governments would be worthless.

If there were no schools, the people would be so ignorant that free government would be impossible.

If the township or civil district were neglected, local government would be inefficient.

If the States were blotted out, the national government would assume all power, and the freedom of the people would be greatly abridged, and perhaps finally lost.

If the national government were dismembered, the States would be weak, helpless, at war with one another, and at the mercy of foreign nations.

The distribution of power among the several political organizations prevents any of them from assuming too much authority, and thus tends to preserve the liberties of the people.

FORMATION.—­The national government is based upon the Constitution of the United States.  It was formed by the union of the several States under the Constitution, and its powers are set forth in that instrument.  The thirteen original States ratified the Constitution of the United States between December 7, 1787, and May 29, 1790, and thus organized the national government.  It thus became, and has continued to be, the government of the whole people, “by the people and for the people.”


The national government, like the government of each State, is a republic; that is, the authority is exercised by the representatives of the people.  As all power resides in the people, our government is called a democracy.  As the people elect officers or representatives to act for them in the performance of public duties, it is called a representative democracy.

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Elements of Civil Government from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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