« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
by William Penn. A knowledge of its origin and growth, and of its administration through more than two centuries, will beget a reverence for the Constitution and the laws under which we now live, that is very much needed by the youth of our day. The chapters on the State and its sub-divisions are largely drawn from the Constitution and the statutes.
Chapter VII shows to what laws and authority of the United States goverment the citizens of a State are directly subject. A knowledge of the United States courts in the State, their jurisdiction and administration, of the postal system, of the internal revenue system, etc., is very important to the mutual welfare of the State and the Nation, as well as to the complete welfare of the citizen.
Chapter VIII contains the capstone of the structure of American citizenship, and a knowledge of its contents is therefore an essential element of citizenship in Pennsylvania. It presents all tlie leading features of the Constitution of the United States in an analytic form, together with numerous statutory provisions and historical illustrations.
The last chapter, unáer the caption of “Common Things not Commonly Understood,” contains matter explanatory of terms used in the book, as well as a large amount of other information pertaining to government. Being concisely stated and alphabetically arranged, the contents of the chapter will be found very useful.
L. S. SHIMMELL. HARRISBURG, PA., June 12, 1895.
STATE CAPITOL BUILDINGS, FRONTISPIECE.
THE SEAL OF THE STATE.
THE COAT OF ARMS OF THE STATE.
CHAPTER I. THE PLAN OF THE GOVERNMENT OF PENNSYLVANIA.
An Illustration of the Plan.—The plan of the government of Pennsylvania, and this, in general, is the plan of the other States in the Union, may be illustrated thus, though it must be remembered that illustrations seldom apply in every particular; Take a plain surface and cut out of it a map of Pennsylvania; lay it down and think of its whole surface as State. Then lay upon the State, the counties (two thicknesses will now exist), and think that the county is to exercise in a more localized and extensive way State functions within each county's limits. Go over the State again (three thicknesses now), this time with the patchwork of townships, and think that the township is for a like purpose as the county, but more extended in the home affairs of the people—more localized. On top of the layer of townships, lay the school districts, which have a special school function, more localized in the case of wards and independent districts than the function of the township. Lastly, put patches of cities and boroughs where they belong. Cities and boroughs, though they may be regarded simply as townships in which the people are massed together, must have certain local powers from the State that are not needed by the township.
In this illustration, the State places most of its functions in the layer next to it. Where a county is, there the county acts for the State—under the patch there is little active function, though a great deal of latent power. As the township is organized-a patch laid upon the
county—the State function as exercised by the county is extended and transferred to township control within the limits of the laws and the constitution of the State. So it is with each patch upon the other. When a new one is put on, it is for a purpose, and the organ below no longer exercises for the State all the functions that it did before. It is in this way that the State accomplishes its work of a goverment by the people and for the people.
Degrees of Local Powers.-In New England the township (called “town” there) has very large powers of local goverment. The county has little to do with the local affairs of a township. In the Middle and Western States, it is more under the rule of the county ; while in the Southern States it has few separate powers, being a mere geographic division-a voting precinct.
Origin of Local Government.—Local government, with its various degrees of power in different parts of the Union, had its origin partly in the form of government under which the settlers had lived, and partly in the early conditions of life in America. The settlers of New England came from towns; and the nature of New England soil made it necessary there for them to live in towns. Farming could not be carried on extensively, because the land was too poor. They built their houses close together and farmed the surrounding land in common. But whenever a number of people live close together, laws must be made to preserve personal rights and enforce personal duties. So every year the voters of such a town (remember town means the town proper and all the country round about) came together and made laws for its government. Thus originated the New England town government, with its large share of independence from the county.