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FrRevol_351-400.indd 39 3/16/12 1:09 PM CHAPTER XXII Two Singular Predictions Drawnfrom the History ofthe Revolution, hy M. Necker. M. Necker never published a political book without braving some danger, either to his fortune or to himself. The circumstances in which he published his history of the Revolution1 might have exposed him to such a variety of fatal accidents that I made many efforts to restrain him from that proceeding. He was put upon the list of emigrants, that is to say, subjected to the penalty ofdeath, according to the French laws; and it was already rumored on every side that the Directory intended to invade Switzerland . Nevertheless, he published, about the end of1796, a work on the Revolution in four volumes, in which he advanced the boldest truths. No other precaution was taken in it than that ofplacing himselfat the distance of posterity, in order to decide upon men and things. To this history full ofwarmth, ofsarcasm, and ofreasoning, he joined an analysis ofthe principal free constitutions of Europe; and in reading this book, where every question is sifted to the bottom, we should be discouraged from writing ifwe did not console ourselves with the reflection that eighteen additional years, and an individual mode ofthinking, may still add some ideas to the same system. Two very extraordinary predictions ought to be distinguished in that work; the one announces the struggle of the Directory with the Representative Body, which occurred some time afterward and was occasioned, as M. Necker had foretold, by the want of the constitutional prerogatives which were withheld from the executive power. I. For more information on the reaction to Necker's De la Revolution franfaise, see Grange, Les idees de N ecker, 400-494- FrRevol_351-400.indd 40 3/16/12 1:09 PM PART III "The essential arrangement in the republican constitution given to France in 1795," said he, the arrangement of prime importance, and which may bring order or freedom into danger, is the complete and absolute separation of the two principal authorities; the one, that which enacts the laws, the other, that which directs and superintends their execution. Every kind ofpower has been united and confounded in the monstrous organization of the N ationa ! Convention; and now by another extreme, less dangerous without doubt, not one ofthe connections between the two authorities, which the welfare of the state requires, has been preserved. Once again they have resorted to written maxims; and upon the faith of a small number of political theorists, a belief has been adopted that it is impossible to establish too strong a barrier between the legislative power and the executive . Let us first recollect that the lessons drawn from example give us a very different result. We know no republic in which the two powers, ofwhich I have just spoken, were not to a certain extent blended together; and ancient times, as well as modern, present us with the same picture. Sometimes a senate, the depository of the executive authority, proposes the laws to a more numerous council, or to the mass of the citizens at large; and sometimes, likewise, this senate, exercising in an inverse direction its right ofparticipation in the legislative power, suspends or reverses the decrees of the many. Upon the same principles is founded the free government of England, where the monarch concurs in the laws which are enacted, both by his own assent and by the presence of his ministers in the two houses of Parliament. Last ofall, America has given a modified right of rejection to the President of the Congress, to that head of the state whom she has invested with executive authority; and she has at the same time admitted one of the two divisions of the legislative body to a share of this prerogative. The republican constitution ofFrance is the first model ofa total separation between the two supreme powers, or rather the first attempt at such a separation. T he executive authority will always act alone, and without any habitual inspection on the part ofthe legislative authority; and in return no assent of the executive authority will be requisite to the complete enactment of laws. Finally, the two powers will have no political tie except hortatory addresses, nor any channel of communication except envoys ordinary and extraordinary. 390 FrRevol_351-400.indd 41 3/16/12 1:09 PM c HAP T E R x xI I. Predictionsfrom the Revolution's History Must not so new an...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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