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stead of the initiative resting with the purpose it instituted a regular method malcontents.

by which changes in the cantonal conThe struggle betwcen the oligarchy stitutions could be carried out ; and it and the democracy which fills the pe-applied a similar proceeding to the riod of the “Federal Compact” was Federal Constitution itself. There presently complicated by religious dif- was a rooted idea that if there were ficulties, and led in 1847 to the war of any disagreement between the majority the Son«erbund. Out of this sprang a of the people and their representatives new Switzerland, governed by the fed- were it only on a single point - it eral constitution of September 12, 1848, was the duty of the latter to resign. which gave the requisite cohesion 10 The regular mode of bringing about a the country by creating a strong central change of government in most of the authority armed with the necessary cantons, both at that time and even powers. Along with the sovereignty much later, was to demand the revision of the cantons, the sovereignty of the of the Constitution ; though some canSwiss people was proclaimeil ; and tons had a special form of procedure these two principles found expression for the dismissal of the authorities pure in the two Chambers — the Conseil and simple. In this way the sovereign National, elected by popular suffrage ; people displayed and emphasized their and the Conseil des Etats,, elected sovereignty. They endured, indeed, by cantonal suffrage. The democratic as yet, in the Confederation and in principle was further emphasized by a most of the cantons, the ordinary parliatriple reference to the people, under mentary system for purposes of legislathe following conditions : (1) The can- tion ; but they thoroughly distrusted it, tonal constitutions, before they can and were only anxious to find the receive the guarantee of the Confeder- means of replacing it by a direct deatiou, must have been accepted by the mocracy. people, and must be open to revision at We shall sec by what successive deany time upon the demand of an abso-velopments they attained their end. Jute majority of the citizens ; (2) The federal constitution itself, and any modification of it, can only come into It was in German Switzerland that force by the suffrages of the majority the democratic movement took its rise of Swiss citizens taking part in the in its most accentuated form. It has vote, and the majority of the cantons ; been justly observed that German (3) fisty thousand Swiss citizens may at Switzerland is the more democratic by any time require that the question of temperament, and Latin Switzerland revising the Federal Constitution shall the more socialistic. The canton of be submitted to the people, who in this Basle-rural was passing, in 1862 and case are alone consulted, no account the succeeding years, through a sinbeing taken of the cantons. If the gular political crisis. A former teacher, vote is affirmative, the Chambers must named Rolle, had succeeded in making be dissolved, and re-elected for the himself the chief of a party which purpose of the revision. Similarly, a aimed at the practical realization of the dissolution must take place if the two maxim, “ Tout par le peuple.” The Chambers disagree on the question of election of all functionaries by popular revision, and the people, wlio must vote ; the compulsory referendum on then be appealed to, decide in favor of all measures whatsoever ; the constant it.

intervention of the people in the conIt will be seen from this that the duct of public affairs such was the regenerated Confederation was seeking programme of the party ; a programme to put an end to the causes which from which was for a time carried out to the 1815 to 1848 had led to repeated con- letter, and led to incredible absurdities. flicts in the cantons between the people The leaders of this extraordinary and their representatives. For this régime soon fell from power, but they

II.

left behind them lasting traces of their The example set by this great canton work.

was naturally contagious. Thurgau A few years later, in 1868, Zurich soon followed, then Berne, then Schaffwent through a somewhat similar hausen, and so on, till the movement crisis. This canton had hitherto pos- extended in due course to the Confedsessed a purely representative system ; eration itself. As early as 1865 an but the people had become indifferent attempt had been made by the adto the conduct of public affairs, and the vanced Radicals to bring about a revipolls were ill attended. The result was sion of the Federal Constitution, for what it generally is under such circum- the purpose of extending the popular stances ; abuses had crept little by rights ; but the fifty thousand signalittle into the administration, and the tures were not forthcoming. A few more deeply rooted they became, the years later the Franco-German war less easy it was to find courage to demonstrated the necessity of a conattack them. Absorbed in their mau- stitutional revision in order to increase ufaciures, their merchandise, their the military powers of the Confederabanking and railway transactions, the tion. But the movement did not stop influential men had neglected the in- there. The unification of the laws of terests of the State. Such, at least, commerce and of certain matters of was the accusation brought against police (such as the regulation of labor them in a series of pamphlets full of in factories, woods and waters, hunting caustic wit, but virulent and outrage- and fishing, etc.) was imperative, on ous as if the writer's pen were pos- account of the inter-cantonal character sessed, by one Dr. Locher, a jurist by of this legislation. The democrats profession, who might be compared, would lend no hand to the extension in more respects than one, to Henri of federal powers without an accomRochefort. A brisk agitation followed panying extension of popular rights. the appearance of these pamphlets. A Here again great debates ensued beSocialist leader, Karl Bürkli, who had tween democrats and parliamentarians. hitherto preached to deaf ears on the Amongst all the various forms pronecessity of extending the rights of posed for the exercise of democratic the people, now sprang up again with rights the right of initiative, the his programme, and other politicians right of dismissal, the veto, the opespoused and popularized his ideas. tional referendum, the compulsory and The revision of the Constitution was general referendum, etc., a limited resolved upon. After some lively de- referendum carried the day. The Conbates between parliamentarians and stitution of the 19th of April, 1874, democrats, the compulsory referendum contained an article to the following was introduced, not only for constitu- effect : tional changes (which is a matter of “ The Federal laws are subject to federal law), but for all laws and con- the adoption or rejection of the peocordats, for all resolutions of general ple, the demand is made by thirty import which the Grand Council is not thousand active citizens, or by eight authorized to pass, and for matters cantons. It is the same with federal which the Council itself may decide to resolutions of general import which are lay before the people. The popular not of an urgent character." vote was taken twice a year, in spring It was urged, on the federalist side, and autumn. The right of initiative that the laws should not be taken as was also granted to this extent, that adopted unless the adhesion of a mathe elaboration, abrogation, or modifi- jority of the cantons were also obtained, cation of a legislative act must be sub- as in the case of the Federal Constitumitted to the decision of the people lion. But this proposal was rejected if one-third of the members of the on the ground that it would lead to Great Council, or five thousand citi- frequent conflicts between the popular zens, should demand it.

majority and the majority of cantons,

which might imperil the federative or- the text of the measures to be submitganization itself. It was illogical, no ted to him, together with a message doubt; but Swiss institutions are not explaining them, and a voting paper, based on inflexible logic they are on which he writes aye or no to each the product of a series of compro- of the proposed measures. On the day mises between historical deductions fixed for the ballot he goes and deposand modern ideas, and historical de- its his paper in the urn.

In some ductions have often had give way cantons the electoral assembly, meeting before present exigencies. And ex- at a fixed hour in each commune, may perience has shown that this is the re-discuss the measures proposed beonly way to maintain the national equi- fore proceeding to vote ; but in genlibrium.

eral this discussion takes place through

the press or in non-official public meetOnce introduced into the Federal ings. Constitution, the referendum could not The optional referendum is an imbut succeed iu the cantons which had proved form of the old velo. It conhitherto rejected it. Fribourg is now sists in the right of a certain number of the only canton which retains the citizens — the number varying accordpurely representative form ; and there, ing to the importance of the cantons as elsewhere, the change can only be a to demand, within a given time, that matter of time.

such and such a measure shall be subAt present, out of twenty-five can- mitted to the people for adoption or tonal units, the six already mentioned rejection. If the term of delay is not have. the old democracy embodied in utilized in the prescribed manner, the the Landsgemeinde ; ten

ten have the bill or resolution is held to be passed. compulsory referendum (Zurich, Berne, If, on the other hand, the signatures to Schwytz, Zug, Soleure, rural Basle, the demand attain the requisite number, Schaffhausen, Grisons, Aargau, Thur- the text of the controverted proposal is gau); eight have the optional refer- distributed to all the active citizens, endum (Lucerne, urban Basle, St. who are summoned to vote on a given Gall, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Neuchâtel, day. The optional referendum, being Geneva); and Fribourg alone does not in its nature an act of opposition, genpermit the direct intervention of the erally provokes a pretty lively contest, people at all in matters of legislation. first over the getting of the signatures,

Of these various forms, the only one and still more over the votes themwhich really corresponds to the idea of selves. self-government, strictly so-called, is Let us see how the optional referenthe Landsgemeinde ; but this is only dum works under the Federal Constipossible in cantons which muster not tution. Every law or resolution of more than a few thousand electors. In general importance passed by the Glarus, which has some five or six Chambers is published in the official thousand, the last limit is reached so paper, which fixes a term of ninety far as the possibility of discussion is days from the day of publication for concerned ; and in Appenzell (Ausser the exercise of the right of opposition. Rhoden), which numbers ten or twelve When the signatures have been colthousand active citizens, the Landsge- lected, they are transmitted to the meinde votes without discussion, as we Federal Chancellery, which verifies the have said.

number and authentication of the sigThe compulsory referendum may natures (the authentications are obnext be considered, as approaching the tained without fee from the mayor in most nearly to the Landsgemeinde. each commune) and reports to the By this system the people are called Federal Council. The Council decides together once or twice in the year to whether or not the demand is suffi. ratify the principal acts of the legisla- cient and the voting will take place, ture. Each citizen receives in advance land lixes the day, which must be suffi

ciently distant for at least four weeks to vision is not readily bad recoursc to, pass between the time when the text for fear of arousing the suspicions and of the opposed measure is in the hands recriminations of the people. of the citizens and the polling day. Again and again the question has This time is utilized for public discus- been raised, whether the referendum sion. The law or resolution is held to should not be made compulsory in be accepted if it obtains an absolute federal affairs. But practical reasons majority of the citizens taking part in have always been against it. The comthe vote.

pulsory refereudum may work without There has been much dispute as to inconvenience in a canton, where the the relative value of the compulsory population is comparatively homogeneand the optional referendum. This ous, the interests less opposed, and question is intimately associated with where there are fewer questions to deal another question: What are the mat. with than in the Confederation. The ters which have to be submitted to the Federal Assembly has on the average referendum ? The extreme democrats three sessions a year, and each session maintain that everything must spring disposes of some fifty or sixty subjects. from the popular vote ; but experience Now, if only so much as one-tenth of dispels many illusions. Thus several these subjects has to be submitted to cantons — e.g., Berne and Aargau — the referendum, it is easy to see what submitted the budget of State receipts a burden must be laid upon the citiand expenditure. The people rejected zens, who are already required to proit over and over again. It was then nounce upon numerous cantonal and admitted that this was an exaggeration communal affairs. In the city of of the principle ; and it was laid down Berne, for instance, we have bad as that the budget, being a mere state- many as twelve polling days in a year ment of the execution of laws already - elections included ; and the day's voted, must be regarded as a simple act voting would sometimes include half-aof administration, for which the refer- dozen or more questions of different endum was not required. The Con- kinds. How is it possible, under these federation itself has been obliged to circumstances, for the “ active citiexclude from the referendum not only zen” to master all his subjects, and the budget, but the ratification of in- know exactly what he is doing? And ternational treaties, where a rejection how would it be if all the multiform might place the country in an impos- and difficult questions which come besible position. It has also been found fore the Federal Assembly every sesnecessary to restrict the class of reso-sion were added to the list ? lutions which are dependent on the The chief objection to the optional referendum to such as are of general referendum is that it plays too much import — i.e., which involve permanent into the hands of the Opposition. In measures, imposing obligations of a order to obtain signatures, the Opposinew description on the Confederation tion has to create a sort of adverse or the cantons, or upon private per- current, which is afterwards very diffisons. Such are the encouragements cult to control. It is to this fact that held out to agriculture, to technical the defeats suffered by the Federal education, and so forth. Those resolu- Assembly on very advanced measures, tions, on the other hand, which refer and also on some very insignificant to such matters as public works, the ones, are mainly attributed. construction of buildings, the conserv- Let us sce whether this objection is ancy of rivers and the like, are treated borne out by the facts. as purely administrative, and not re- In the course of the twenty years quiring the formality of popular sanc- ending with last December the Fed. tion. Finally, it has been necessary to eral Assembly passed one hundred and provide for the plea of urgency being eighty bills and resolutions of a genadmitted io certain cases ; but this pro-'eral character ; the referendum was

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demanded for eighteen of these ; and in the case of useful measures of a the people, when consulted, accepted non-party character would often have six and rejected twelve. Four of the led to their rejection, while the optwelve - a bill on composition for mil. tional referendum has for the most itary service, one on bank-uotes, one part applied its veto to those subjects on epidemics, and a resolution on com-only which presented a good platform mercial travellers' licenses were to the Opposition, and which consecompletely recast and finally passed quently were keenly contested. It without further opposition. For the may be said, however, in general, that rest, provisional measures re- the compulsory referendum also acts sorted to in the more urgent cases, and rather as a check on the government, the administrative machinery was thus and thus exercises a conservative intiukept going, the difficulties of the ref-ence. Like the optional referendum, crendum notwithstanding.

it is not necessarily hostile to progress, As to the motives which decided the but its effect is to keep it within bounds attitude of the people under these and make it conformable to the views different circumstances, they may be of the general body of citizens. summed up under two heads : either Be this as it may, under the influthe points in question had been dealt ence of the referendum, optional or with by the Federal Assembly in a compulsory, a profound change bas manner which did not accord with the come over the spirit both of parliaviews of the opposing party, or else it ments and people. The idea of emwas a simple manifestation of ill-humor |ployer and employed, of the sender at the general course of political affairs, and the sent, which lies at the root of or even an attempt to embarrass the the representative system, becomes an central authority and foment a popular absolute reality. The people still disturbance. In this last connection it choose their representatives to make cannot be denied that the optional ref- the laws, but they reserve the right of erendum has here and there furnished sanction. When they reject a law, in a base of operations for the dema- virtue of this sovereign right, there is gogue ; but it may be affirmed that on no entering on a state of conflict, for a the whole the Swiss people have used conflict can only take place where the their new powers with moderation. exercise of a right is met by a comThe optional referendum has often hin- peting claim ; and there is here no dered, but it has never destroyed; it is claim to compete. The craftsman carnot within its scope to do so. It is an ries out the work to his own satisfacinstrument of conservation, not of tion ; the employer who gave the order demolition. It acts as a restraint on is of a different opinion, and sends it the authorities; it obliges them to back to be allered. It is perfectly simgovern with caution ; but it does not ple ; each has done his duty within the make government impossible, for it limits assigned bim ; there is no ground is not in its power to disorganize the of quarrel. The legislator is not disState.

credited ; he is only in the position of I doubt whether, in federal affairs, a deputy whose bill is not passed. the compulsory referendum would give There is no question of resigning. If any better results. On the contrary, it here and there a measure is rejected, is to be feared that under such a sys- other measures are passed ; there is tem more than one practical measure clearly no want of confidence. Moreaffecting some special locality or indus- over, after rejecting a law, it is quite try — such as those relating to watch- common to re-elect the same repremaking or the phylloxera — would have sentatives. Thus the new régime leaves failed to find grace with the majority, no room for either ministerial or parliawho would simply have seen no rea- mentary crises. The representatives son for them. Under the compulsory of the people are elected for a comparreferendum the absence of opposition latively short term, generally three

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