The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.11.  While the divine law accords perfectly with the principles of natural justice, the giving of it to mankind manifests the wisdom and benevolence of the supreme Lawgiver.  Man is so formed, that it is for his highest happiness strictly to obey this law.  The generous man, in relieving the wants of others, contributes to his own happiness.  The boy who divides an apple with his fellow, is more happy than he would be if he retained the whole to himself.  It is generally true, that, in performing acts of kindness and charity to others, we most effectually promote our own happiness, and feel the saying to be true, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Chapter IV.

Different Forms of Government.  Monarchy; Aristocracy; Democracy; Republic.

Sec.1.  Governments have existed in a great variety of forms.  The earliest governments of which we have any knowledge, are the patriarchal. Patriarch, from the Greek, pater, father, and arkos, chief, or head, means the father and ruler of a family.  This kind of government prevailed in the early ages of the world, and in a state of society in which the people dwelt together in families or tribes, and were not yet formed into states or nations.  The patriarchal government existed before the flood, and for a long period afterward.  Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the fathers of the Hebrew race, as also the sons of Jacob, the heads of the twelve tribes, were called patriarchs.

Sec.2.  After their departure from Egypt, the government of the Hebrews was a theocracy.  This word is from theos, God, and kratos, power, and signifies a government by the immediate direction of God.  The laws by which they were governed were given to them on Mount Sinai by God himself, their leader and king.  This theocratic form of government, with some changes, existed until the coming of the Messiah.

Sec.3.  But the forms of government which have most prevailed, are designated by the terms, monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, or republic.  These words severally indicate by what persons, and in what manner, the governing power of a state is exercised.  This power is usually called the sovereign, or supreme power.  Where kings rule, they are called sovereign; and where the power is in the hands of the people, the people are sovereign.  In the strict sense of the term, however, entire sovereignty, or supreme power, exists only where power is exercised by one man, or a single body of men, uncontrolled or unrestrained by laws or by any other power.  But in a more general sense, it is that power in a state which is superior to all other powers within the same.

Sec.4.  A form of government in which the supreme power is in the hands of one person, is called a monarchy.  The word monarch is from two Greek words, monos sole or only, and arkos, a chief; and is a general name for a single ruler, whether he is called king, emperor, or prince.  A government in which all power resides in or proceeds from one person, is an absolute monarchy.  If the power of the monarch is restrained by laws or by some other power, it is called a limited monarchy.

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The Government Class Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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