Popular Law-making
by Frederic Jesup Stimson
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By a recent act of Congress the right of freedom of speech does not extend to anarchistic utterances, or speeches or writings aimed against order, the established government, and inciting to assassination or crime. Such laws are barely constitutional as applied to United States citizens. The unpopularity of the alien and sedition laws under the administration of John Adams will be remembered. Since their repeal, no attempt at a law of government libel has been made; very recently, however, where certain gentlemen, mostly holding important government offices, were charged with having made money out of the Panama Canal purchase, the weight and influence of the administration was given to the attempt to indict them and bring them to the courts of the central government at Washington for trial. This attempt, however, failed in the courts, as, in the Wilkes case, it had failed more than a century before at the bar of public opinion.

But the law is, of course, much stronger as to persons not citizens. That is to say, no one has any right to immigrate into this country, and therefore intending immigrants may be kept out by legislation if they are anarchists, socialists, or, indeed, hold any opinion for the moment unpopular with Congress. The attempt has so far, however, not been made to keep out any but violent anarchists, and, of course, persons who are diseased, of immoral life, or likely to become a public charge. And the attempt to keep them under the hand of the central government for years after they have taken their place for good or ill in the State body politic has recently failed in a monumental case vindicating anew the Tenth Amendment.

Connected in most people's mind with the right of privacy is the right of a person to keep his house and his private papers to himself; but it bears no relation whatever to the very new-fangled notion of a general right to privacy. The two principles are that an Englishman's house is his castle. His home, even though it be but one room in a tenement, may not be invaded by anybody, even by any government official or authority (except, of course, under modern sanitary police regulation), without a written warrant specifying the reason for such invasion, some offence with which the man is charged, and some particular document or paper, or other evidence of which they are in search. The principle against general warrants—that is, warrants specifying no definite offence or naming no particular person—was established in Massachusetts in Colony times, and the principle taken over to England and affirmed by Lord Camden—one of the two or three celebrated examples where we have given a new constitutional principle back to the mother country. Now, closely connected with this is another principle that a man shall not be compelled to testify in a criminal matter against himself, or that, if so compelled by statute or official, he shall then forever be immune from prosecution for any crime revealed by such testimony; the wording of the earlier constitutional provisions was "in a criminal offence," but by modern, more liberal interpretation, it has been extended to any compulsory testimony, whether given in a criminal proceeding or not. This, with the principle protecting a man's private affairs from inquisition, is expressed in our Fourth and Fifth Amendments, the former prohibiting unreasonable searches and general warrants, and the latter providing that no one shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor deprived of property without due process of law, and it has reasonably been argued that an inquisition into a person's business or book of accounts is such deprivation of his property without due process of law, at least when applied to a natural person. I find no legislation limiting these important principles, but on the contrary the tendency in modern statutes and modern State constitutions is to extend and generalize them. Of such is the famous clause of the recent constitutions of Kentucky and Wyoming that "absolute arbitrary power over the lives, liberty, and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority." In view of the frequently successful efforts of trust magnates and others to escape indictment or punishment by some enforced revelation of their affairs given after a criminal proceeding has has been commenced or before a grand jury, legislation is now strongly urged to withhold them immunity in such cases. This would relegate us to the early state of things where they would simply refuse to answer, so that it may be doubted if, on the whole, we should gain much. The right of an Englishman not to criminate himself is too cardinal in our constitutional fabric to be questioned or to be altered without subverting the whole structure. Practically it would seem as if a little more intelligence on the part of our prosecutors would meet the evil. Corporations themselves are never immune; and unless the wicked official actually slept with all the books of the corporation under his pillow, it would be hard to imagine a case where some corporate clerk or subordinate officer could not be subpoenaed to produce the necessary evidence. Indeed, as has been well argued by leading American publicists, the sooner the public learns to go behind the figment of the corporation, the screen of the artificial person, into the human beings really composing it, the quicker we shall arrive at a cure for such evils as may exist. Legislation punishing or even fining an offending corporation is in the last sense ridiculous. It is necessarily paid by the innocent stockholders or the public. There is always some one person or a number of persons who have done or suffered the things complained of; after all, every act of the corporation is necessarily done by some one or more individuals. We must get over our metaphysical habit of treating corporations as abstract entities, and again recognize that they are but a definite number of natural persons bound together only for a few definite interests and with real men as officers who should be fully responsible for their actions. Indeed, it ought to be simpler to detect and punish offenders than in the case of mere individuals unincorporated, for the very fact that a corporation keeps books and acts under an elaborate set of by-laws and regulations gives a clew to its proceedings, and indicates a source of information as to all its acts. One clerk may therefore reveal, and properly reveal, books and letters which shall incriminate "those above"; one employee may show ten thousand persons guilty of an unlawful combination, and properly so. There is no reason why he should not, and the nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine others deserve, and are entitled to, no immunity whatever from his revelation.

The religious rights, although for the most part peculiar to the American Constitution, adopted by us, indeed, as a result of the history of the two or three centuries preceding in England, but hardly in any particular a part of the British Constitution, were by the reason of our very origin so strongly asserted and so highly valued with us that no legislation has been found necessary on the subject. Perhaps the sole important instance in which the question has come up has been that of instruction in the public schools and the use of the money raised by common taxation for special religious purposes. Very generally the latter is forbidden in our State constitutions, the Federal Constitution by the First Amendment merely protecting the right from the action of Congress. Owing to decisions of the Supreme Court, in the South it has become possible to divide school appropriations between schools for whites and blacks, and it is presumable that the same thing might be done as, for instance, between Roman Catholics and others, and something of the sort has, I believe, been done with the appropriations for the education of Indians.

The few statutes we find upon this matter tend to still further extend and liberalize religious rights. Almost universally now a man is not forbidden from testifying or being a witness by reason of his belief or disbelief, even when he is an atheist. The latter law is not, however, quite universal. He must, in some States, believe at least in the existence of God, or of a future state of reward or punishment. Mormons, at one time, claimed the right to practise polygamy as a part of their religion guaranteed to them by the Constitution; the contention did not prevail; on the contrary the Mormon States were made to submit to an enabling act under which they bound themselves to adopt State constitutions providing for all time against polygamous practices. Such a treaty is not, of course, binding upon a sovereign State unless Mormonism be deemed inconsistent with a republican form of government; so that Utah, for instance, has probably the right to re-establish Mormonism to-morrow so far as the Federal Constitution is concerned. Whether it would be permitted by a strenuous president having public sentiment at his back may indeed be questioned. In like manner, Christian Science practitioners have invoked the constitutional right of religious belief against the common law requiring that those offering themselves to practise medicine should be reasonably skilled in their trade. Legislation permitting Christian Scientists to practise freely has been attempted in nearly all the States, but has not, so far as I am informed, succeeded in any, although a good many States have adopted statutes extending the right to osteopaths. Under the common law of England, re-established in Massachusetts by a famous decision[1] twenty years ago, a person holding himself out as a surgeon or medical practitioner, who is absolutely uninstructed and ignorant, is guilty even of criminal negligence, and responsible for the death of his patient, even to the point of manslaughter.

[Footnote 1: Commonwealth v. Pierce, 138 Mass. 165.]



This is, of course, a matter of which books might be, and indeed have been, written; our general essay on popular legislation can do no more than summarize past law-making and the present trend of legislatures, much as some history of the people of England might broadly state the economic facts and laws of the Corn-law period in England. Racial legislation may, of course, be considered from the point of view of the negro, the Indian, and the alien, and indeed it differs much in all three. Other personal legislation is largely concerned with the right to exercise trade, already discussed, and the questions of marriage and divorce we reserve for the next chapter. In the past we have been very unjust, not to say cruel, to the Indian, and though naturally in some respects a high-natured race, have constantly denied him any political share in the government, and only in the very last few years grudgingly extended it to such Indians as renounce their tribe and adopt the habits and mode of life of the white man, or, as in early England, to such freeholders as acquire a quarter section of land. In the negro's case, however, we atoned for the early crime of enslavement by the sentimental hurry with which we endeavored in the '60's and '70's of the last century to take him up by law and force him into exact equality, social as well as political, with the white man. To aliens, in the third hand, we have been consistently generous, having shown only in the very last few years any attempt whatever to exclude the most worthless or undesirable; except that the prejudice against the Mongolian in the far West is quite as bitter as it ever was against the negro in the South, and he is still sternly refused citizenship, even national citizenship, which we freely extend to the African. We are thus left in the ridiculous situation of providing that nobody may be a citizen of our great Republic except a white Caucasian and a black African, with considerable ambiguity still as to what the word "white" means. The American Indians are, indeed, admitted under the conditions before mentioned, so that as a catch-word the reader may remember that we are a red, white, and black country, but not a brown or yellow one. All this is, of course, the accident of history; but the accidents of history are its most important incidents.

Taking Asiatic races first, the far Western States vie with each other in passing legislation which shall deny them the right to life, or at least to live upon any equality of competition with the white. Most of such laws are, of course, unconstitutional, but they were at one time enacted with more rapidity than the Supreme Court of the United States could declare them so. Congress tries to be more reasonable and, indeed, has to be so, in view of the fact that it is a national Congress living, with the executive, in direct touch with the foreign nations themselves. Broadly speaking, our national legislation is to exclude immigration, but guarantee equality of property right, at least, to such Mongolian aliens as are actually in the country; and to extend or guarantee such right of treatment by treaties, which treaties are, of course, acts of Congress, like any other act of Congress, entirely valid in favor of the foreign power and enforceable by it even to the issue of war, but possibly, as a constitutional question, not enforceable by the Federal government against the States. An endless mass of legislation in California and other Western States has been devised, either openly against the Chinese or so couched as to really exclude them from the ordinary civic liberties, and most of our State laws or courts declare that the Japanese are Mongolian although that people deny it. Many statutes, moreover, are aimed at Asiatics in general; which would possibly include the Hindoos, who are of exactly the same race as ourselves. Indeed, some judges have excluded Hindoos from naturalization, or persons of Spanish descent, while admitting negroes, which is like excluding your immediate ancestors in favor of your more remote Darwinian ones. Even in New York and other Eastern States, the employment of aliens, particularly Asiatics, is forbidden in all public work—which laws may be invalid as against a Federal treaty. Yet statutes against the employment of any but citizens of the United States in public works are growing more frequent than ever, and seem to me quite within the rights of the State itself to determine. But Pennsylvania could not impose a tax of three cents per day upon all alien laborers, to be paid by the employer. Many States are beginning to provide against the ownership of land by aliens. This, of course, is perfectly constitutional and has full justification in the history and precedent of most other countries, and as applied to foreign corporations it is still more justifiable; and the Western States very generally provide against the ownership of land, other than such as may be taken on mortgage, by foreign corporations, or corporations even of which a large proportion of the stock is held by foreigners.

Racial legislation as to negroes may be divided into laws bearing on their legal, political, and social rights, including, in the latter, contracts of labor and of marriage. By the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, all adopted within ten years after the war, we endeavored to put the negro in a legal, a political, and a social equality with whites in every particular. A broad statement, sufficiently correct for the general reader, may be made that only the legal part has succeeded or has lasted. That legislation which is aimed at social equality, all of it Federal legislation, has generally proved unconstitutional, and that part which has been aimed at political equality has, for one reason or another, been inefficient. Moreover, the great attempt in the Fourteenth Amendment to place the ordinary social, civil, and political rights of the negro, and necessarily, therefore, of every one else, under the aegis of the Federal government, Federal courts, and Federal legislation, has been nullified; first, by court decision, and later, if we may trust the signs of the times, by contemporary public opinion. The only thing that remains is that the States cannot make laws which, on their face, are discriminations against the negro, or in social matters against any other race; and in political matters, the Fifteenth Amendment has proved effective to render null State laws which on their face are designed to restrict or deny their equal right of suffrage.

Legislation concerning labor, the industrial condition, and contract rights of the negro, such as the peonage laws, we have considered in an earlier chapter; both State and national laws exist, and the Thirteenth Amendment, being self-executing, has proved effective. Under the Fifteenth Amendment there is little political legislation, except the effort in Southern States by educational or property qualifications, and most questionably by the so-called "grandfather clause," to exclude most negroes from the right of suffrage. Laws imposing property and educational qualifications are, of course, valid, although designed to have the effect of excluding a large proportion of the negroes from voting; laws, on the other hand, which give a permanent right of suffrage to the descendants of a certain class, as of those voters, all white, who were entitled to vote in Southern States in the year 1861, are probably unconstitutional as establishing an hereditary privileged class, though there has as yet been no square decision on this point by the Supreme Court of the United States. But as there is no further legislation on these subjects, to pursue the matter further would carry us into constitutional law.

In the third field, that of social legislation, there has been a vast number of laws, first by Congress with the intention, under the Fourteenth Amendment, of enforcing social and industrial equality and providing Federal machinery for securing it (the great substance of this has been held unconstitutional and has passed away); later by the States, usually the Southern States, with the exactly opposite purpose of separating the races, at least in social matters, and of subjecting them to a stricter law of labor contract than has, in our country at least, been imposed upon other citizens.

Even this matter of social legislation, which alone remains to be discussed in this book, is quite too vast for more than a brief sketch. Among the many monographs on the subject may be mentioned the article of G.T. Stevenson on the "Separation of the Races in Public Conveyances."[1] Even this comparatively narrow matter is by no means exhausted in an article covering twenty pages. Much of the social separation of the races is, of course, brought about without statute law, but by custom, or even we may say customary law, which is always apt to be the better enforced; and under the civil rights decisions of the United States Supreme Court in 1883, such customary law has been rendered immune from Federal control. Legislation now exists in all Southern States as to separate, though equal, accommodations in public conveyances; at one time such statutes were restricted to interstate commerce, but the present tendency of court decision appears to be to recognize even their interference with interstate commerce as part of the reasonable State police jurisdiction. Such statutes apply generally to railroads, steamboats, and street cars, or other conveyances of transportation. They are not so usual as to hotels, eating-houses, theatres, or other public places, probably because in such it is more easy to secure the desired segregation without legislation. We may, therefore, conclude that legislation on this point will be universal in the South and in Oklahoma or other border States with Southern sympathies, and will not be declared unconstitutional by the courts.

[Footnote 1: American Political Science Review, vol. III, No. 2, 1909.]

The labor unions very generally exclude negroes, both in the South and North, and in many Southern States the whites refuse to work with negroes in mills. Until and unless labor unions are chartered or incorporated under legislation forbidding such action, it is probable that their by-laws excluding negroes, though possibly unreasonable at the common law, could not be reached by the Fourteenth Amendment; and public sentiment in the States where such by-laws are common would probably prevent any permanent vindication of the right of the negro to join labor unions by State courts. That is to say, countervailing legislation would promptly be adopted.

Coming to education, the same principle seems to be established, that if the facilities are equal the education may be separate for the different races, just as it may be for the different sexes; and it would even appear that when the appropriation is not adequate for giving higher or special education to both races, particularly when there are few negroes applying for it, high-schools or special schools may be established for whites alone.

Coming to the matter of sexual relation, a different principle applies. Under their unquestioned power of defining crimes, their police power in criminal and sanitary matters, the States may forbid or make criminal miscegenation. Cohabitation without marriage may, of course, be forbidden to all classes, and in the case of cohabitation between white and black the penalty may be made more severe, for it has been held that as both parties to the offence are punished equally, there is, under such statutes, no denial of the equal protection of the law. A fortiori, marriage may be forbidden or declared null between persons of different race, and the tendency so to do is increasing very decidedly in the South, and is certainly not decreasing in the North. Indeed, constitutional amendments are being adopted and proposed having this in view, "the purity of the race." Recent plays and magazine articles, with which most of our readers will be familiar, sufficiently bear out this point.

In property rights, however, I can find no legislation which discriminates against the negro, and there is some in his favor. With the exception of the labor or peonage laws, discussed separately, I have found no legislation which limits his property or contract rights. On the other hand, there is, in the several States, legislation requiring that he shall be given life or health insurance policies on the same terms and conditions as are applied to whites, despite the alleged fact that his expectation of life is less and not so easy to determine, owing to the lack of information as to the health and longevity of his forebears. Sketching first thus our general conclusions it remains for us only to give a few concrete examples drawn from the legislation of the last twenty years:

In 1890, soon after the civil-rights cases were decided, we find some State legislation to protect the negro in his civil rights; but the first "Jim Crow" laws, providing for separation in public conveyances, etc., began in 1865 and 1866 in Florida, Mississippi, and Texas, and are continued in other States in this year. In 1892 there are laws for separate refreshment rooms and bath-houses, and providing that negroes and whites shall not be chained together in jails. In 1893 there is legislation for separate barber shops, and the first law requiring equal treatment by life-insurance companies is passed in Massachusetts. In 1895 there is legislation against the mixture of races in schools. In 1898 the laws and constitutional provisions for practical negro disfranchisement begin in South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana. On the other hand, in 1900, New York passes a statute that there shall be no separate negro schools, and in 1901 Illinois adopts civil-rights laws, followed in 1905 by five other States. In 1907 South Carolina makes it a misdemeanor to serve meals at station eating-houses to whites and blacks in the same room. In 1908 Maryland and Oklahoma provide for separate cars and separate rooms. In 1894 we find nine States prohibiting miscegenation. In 1902 Florida makes miscegenation a felony, and in 1908 Louisiana declares concubinage between a Caucasian and a negro to be also a felony, while Oklahoma adopts the miscegenation law.

These examples of legislation are not intended to be exhaustive, but will serve to give the reader a general Idea of the trend of popular law-making in this important matter.

Personal privilege, depending not upon race, but upon legislation, or inheritance, is, of course, strictly forbidden in each State by both constitutions, State and Federal. The growth of a contrary principle is only noteworthy on the two lines touching respectively the whites in the South and veterans of wars in the North. It must be said that legislation in the interest of the Grand Army of the Republic, and even of the veterans of the Spanish War, and even in some States of the sons or descendants of such veterans respectively, has come very near the point of hereditary or social privilege. The struggles of so-called "Organized Labor" to establish a privileged caste have so far been generally unsuccessful, always so in the courts, and usually so in the legislatures; but in many States those who have enlisted in either wars, Civil or Spanish, wholly irrespective of actual service or injury, are entitled not only to pensions, Federal and State, but to a diversity of forms of State aid, to general preference in public employment, and even to special privilege or exemption from license taxes, etc., in private trades, and their children or descendants are, in many States, entitled to special educational privilege, to support in State schools or industrial colleges, to free text-books, and other advantages. Presumably some of these matters might be successfully contested in the courts, but they never have been. As to pensions, nothing here need be said. The reader will remember the familiar fact that our pensions in time of peace now cost more than the maintenance of the entire German army on a war footing or than the maintenance of our own army. The last pensioner of the Revolutionary War, which ended in 1781—that is to say, the last widow of a Revolutionary soldier—only died a few years ago, early in the twentieth century. The Order of the Cincinnati, founded by Washington and Lafayette, was nevertheless a subject of jealous anxiety to our forefathers; but apparently the successful attempt of volunteers disbanded after the Civil and the Spanish Wars, although far more menacing because embodying social and political privilege, not a mere badge of honor, seems to call forth but little criticism.



The notion that a woman is in all respects a citizen, entitled to all rights, political as well as property and social, was definitely tested before our Supreme Court soon after the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, on the plea that the wording of that amendment gave a renewed recognition to the doctrine that a woman was a person born or naturalized in the United States and therefore a citizen and entitled to the equal protection of the laws. The court substantially decided [1] that she was a citizen, was entitled to the equal protection of the laws, but not to political privileges or burdens any more than she was liable to military service. The State constitutions of many States, among them Illinois, have provided that a woman is entitled to all ordinary rights of property and contract "the same as" a man. Under this provision, when laws were passed for the protection of women, forbidding them to work more than a certain number of hours per day, they were originally held unconstitutional. The so-called women's-rights people (one could wish that there were a better or more respectful word) seem themselves to be divided on this point. The more radical resent any enforced inequality, industrial or social, between the sexes. For instance, many States have statutes forbidding women or girls to serve liquor in saloons or to wait upon table in restaurants where liquor is served. Such statutes, obviously moral, are nevertheless resented. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of the United States has taken the conservative view, that there is a difference both in physique and character between the sexes, as well as different responsibilities and a different social interest, so that it is still possible, as It has been possible in the past, to impose by law special restrictions on the contracts of women. The law of Oregon, therefore, not permitting them to make personal contract for more than eight hours per day was sustained both in the State and the Federal Supreme Courts; and a similar law by the highest court of Illinois, reversing its own prior decision.[2] This matter is of such interest and of such importance that it is frequently placed in State constitutions, and it seems worth while to summarize their provisions. The advanced position is now squarely put only in the constitution of California, which provides that no person shall on account of sex be disqualified from entering upon or pursuing any lawful business, vocation, or profession. Such a constitution as this would, of course, make it impossible even to pass such laws as the ones just mentioned forbidding them to serve in restaurants, such employment being lawful as to men. But no other State follows that extreme provision, and, indeed, the clause in the constitution of Illinois seems now to have been repealed.

[Footnote 1: Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wallace 166.]

[Footnote 2: See above, p. 227.]

As to property matters it may be broadly stated that they have in general precisely the same rights that men have, and in several States more; that is to say, a woman frequently has a larger interest in the property of a man at his death, than the man has in hers, should she predecease him; and universally she is given a share of the husband's property in case of divorce, either outright or by way of alimony, which, so far as I know, is never awarded to the man even if he be the innocent party. In New Jersey and some other States, a married woman is not permitted to guarantee or endorse the notes or debts of her husband. Many of the Southwestern States, from Louisiana to California, recognize or adopt the French idea of community property. By the Mississippi constitution "the legislature shall never create by law any distinction between the rights of men and women to acquire, own, enjoy, and dispose of property of all kinds, or other power of contract in reference thereto." But this does not prevent laws regulating contracts between husband and wife.

In matters of divorce and personal relation, such as the guardianship of children, the tendency has also been to put women on an equality with men and more so. That is to say, divorces are awarded women which for similar reasons would not be awarded men, both by statute and by usual court decision, and although a very few States, such as recently developed in the conservative State of South Carolina, retain the common-law idea that the father must be the head of the family, many States provide that the rights of the parents to the custody and education of their children shall be equal. In other words they are to be brought up by a committee of two. Nevertheless, in California and other code States of the West it is still declared that the husband is the head of the family and may fix the place of abode, and the wife must follow him under penalty of desertion. Such matters are more often determined by custom or by court decision on the common law than by written statute; and it is apprehended that the judges will usually follow the more conservative rule of giving the custody of infant children to the mother, and of more mature children, particularly the boys, to the father.

Divorce statistics on the subject are extremely misleading for two great reasons: First, because in the nature of the case, and perhaps of the American character, in two cases out of three a divorce is granted for fault of the husband.[1] And in the second place, because a false cause is given in a great majority of cases. In England until recently the rule was absolute that a woman could not get a divorce for adultery alone, but there had to be cruelty besides; while the man could be divorced for the first-named cause. No such rule has ever prevailed in any State of this country. Desertion and failure to support, on the other hand, are much more easily proved by the wife. In short, it is not too much to say that in all matters of divorce she stands in a position of advantage.

[Footnote 1: U.S. Labor Bulletin, Special Reports on Divorce, 1860, 1908.]

The same thing is in practice true as to marriage. Under liberal notions, prevailing until recently in all our States, certainly in all where the so-called common-law marriage prevails, it is extremely easy for a woman to prove herself the lawful wife of any man she could prove herself to have known, and sometimes even without proving the acquaintance. The "common-law" marriage, by the way, is not, so far as I can determine, the English common law, nor ever was. If any common law at all, it is the Scotch common law, the English law always having required a ceremony by some priest or at least some magistrate, as does still the law of New England. Under the influence of the State Commissioners for Uniformity of Law this matter has been amended in the State of New York, so that if there be no ceremony there must at least be some written evidence of contract, as in the case of a sale of goods and chattels under the statute of frauds; the contract of marriage being thus, for the first time in New York, made of equal importance with that of the sale of goods to the value of one hundred dollars. Much difference of opinion exists between the South and the North upon this point, the Southern view being more remarkable for chivalry, and the Northern for good sense. Southern members of the National Conference of Commissioners claimed that any such law would result in disaster to many young girls; that if they had to travel ten, twenty, or thirty miles to find a minister or justice of the peace they would in many cases dispense with the formality or be impatient of the delay; and that anyhow on general principles any unmarried man who had seen an unmarried young woman two or three times ought to be engaged to her if he was not. The Northern Commissioners, on the other hand, were desirous of protecting the man, and especially his legitimate widow and children, from the female adventuress, which view the South again characterized as cynical. There is probably something to be said for both sides.

Coming finally to political rights, the subject of women's suffrage alone might well be reserved for a separate chapter, if, indeed, it is to be disposed of by any one mind; but at least the actual occurrences may be stated. As mentioned above in our chapter on political rights, it now exists, by the constitutions of four States; and has been submitted by constitutional amendment in several others and refused. No actual progress, therefore, has been made in fifteen years. As to office-holding, the constitutions of Missouri and Oklahoma—one most conservative, the other most radical—both specify that the governor and members of the legislature must be male. In South Dakota women may hold any office except as otherwise provided by the constitution. In Virginia, by the constitution, they may be notaries public. In all other States, save the four women's-suffrage States, the common law prevails, and they may not hold political office. The first entirely female jury was empanelled in Colorado this year (1910). In some States, however, statutes have been passed opening certain offices, such as notaries public, and, of course, the school commission. Such statutes are, in the writer's opinion, illogical; if women, under a silent constitution, can hold office by statute, they can do it without. It is or is not a constitutional right which the legislature, at least, has no power to give or withhold.

Generally in matters of education they have the same rights both to teach and be taught as males. Indeed, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming declare that the people have a right to education "without distinction of race, color, caste, or sex," and that is practically the case by the common law of all States, though there is nothing to prevent either coeducation or segregation in schools. The recent tendency of custom is certainly in the latter direction, Tufts, Wesleyan, and other Eastern colleges having given up coeducation after trial, and the principle having been attacked in Chicago, Michigan, and other universities, and by many writers both of fact and fiction.

These are the abstract statements, but one or two matters deserve more particular treatment. First of all, divorce legislation. Many years ago the State Commissioners for Uniformity of Law voted to adhere to the policy of reforming divorce procedure while not attacking the causes. This, again, is too vast a subject to more than summarize here. The causes of divorce vary and have varied all the way from no divorce for any cause in South Carolina, for only one cause in New York and other States, up to twenty or thirty causes, with that indefinite or "omnibus" clause of "mutual incompatibility," or allowing the courts to grant divorces in the interest of the general peace. Since the efforts of reformers have wiped out the express-omnibus clause from the legislation of all States, the same abuse has crept in under the guise of "cruelty"; the national divorce report before referred to showing that the courts of this broad land have held sufficient cruelty to justify divorce (to the wife at least) to exist in tens of thousands of different incidents or causes, ranging all the way from attempts to murder ("breaking plaintiff's nose, fingers, two of her ribs, cut her face and lip, chewed and bitten her ears and face, and wounded her generally from head to foot") to not cutting his toenails [1] or refusing to take the wife to drive in a buggy; indeed, one young North Carolina woman got a divorce from a man she had recently married, on the ground that he was possessed of great wealth, but she had been assured that he was an invalid, and had married him in the hope and belief of his speedy decease, instead of which he proceeded to get cured, which caused her great mental anguish; while one husband at least got a divorce for a missing vest button.[2] But, independent of the vagaries of courts and judges, and perhaps, most of all, of juries in such matters, it has been found that the numbers of divorces bear no particular relation to the number of causes. In fact, many clergymen argue that to have only one cause, adultery, is the worst law of all, as it drives the parties to commit this sin when otherwise they might attain the desired divorce by simple desertion. Moreover, the difference in condition, education, religion, race, and climate is so great throughout the Union that it is unwise, as well as impossible, to get all of our forty-eight States to take the same view on this subject, the Spanish Catholic as the Maine free-thinker, the settler in wild and lonely regions as the inhabitant of the old New England town over-populated by spinsters. It was, therefore, the opinion of the State Commissioners that the matter of causes was best determined by States, according to their local conditions, and that it would be unwise to attempt, even by amendment to the Constitution, to enforce a national uniformity. All the abuses, substantially, in divorce matters come from procedure, from the carelessness of judges and juries, or, most of all, by laws permitting divorce without proper term of residence, without proper notice to the other side, or by collusion, without proper defence, or for no reason but the obvious intention of contracting other marriages. The recommendations of the Commissioners on Uniformity will, therefore, be found summarized below,[3] and there is beginning to be legislation in the direction of adopting these, or similar statutes. The Supreme Court has vindicated, however, the right of the State not to be compelled under the full faith and credit clause to give effect to divorces improperly obtained in other States by its own citizens or against a defendant who is a citizen. In other words, a marriage, lawful where made, is good everywhere; not so of a divorce. The fact that this ruling, wise and proper, necessarily results in the possibility that a person may be married in one State, divorced in another, and a bachelor in a third, and bigamous in a fourth, lends but an added variety to American life. If the people wish to give the Federal government power to make nationwide marriage and divorce laws, they must do so by constitutional amendment.

[Footnote 1: Sic: "U.S. Labor Commissioners' Report on Marriage and Divorce," Revised Edition, 1889, pp. 174, 175, 176.]

[Footnote 2: Ibid., p. 177.]


Section 1. No divorce shall be granted for any cause arising prior to the residence of the complainant or defendant in this State, which was not ground for divorce in the State where the cause arose.

Sec. 2. The word "divorce" in this act shall be deemed to mean divorce from the bond of marriage.

Sec. 3. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.


Section 1. No person shall be entitled to a divorce for any cause arising in this State who has not had actual residence in this State for at least one year next before bringing suit for divorce, with a bona-fide intention of making this State his or her permanent home.

Sec. 2. No person shall be entitled to a divorce for any cause arising out of this State unless the complainant or defendant shall have resided within this State for at least two years next before bringing suit for divorce, with a bona-fide intention of making this State his or her permanent home.

Sec. 3. No person shall be entitled to a divorce unless the defendant shall have been personally served with process if within the State, or if without the State, shall have had personal notice, duly proved and appearing of record, or shall have entered an appearance in the case; but if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the court that the complainant does not know the address nor the residence of the defendant and has not been able to ascertain either, after reasonable and due inquiry and search, continued for six months after suit brought, the court or judge in vacation may authorize notice by publication of the pendency of the suit for divorce, to be given in manner provided by law.

Sec. 4. No divorce shall be granted solely upon default nor solely upon admissions by the pleadings, nor except upon hearing before the court in open session.

Sec. 5. After divorce either party may marry again, but in cases where notice has been given by publication only, and the defendant has not appeared, no decree or judgment for divorce shall become final or operative until six months after hearing and decision.

Sec. 6. Wherever the word "divorce" occurs in this act, it shall be deemed to mean divorce from the bond of marriage.

Sec, 7. All acts and parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed.]

It is always to be remembered that the law of marriage, and divorce as well, was originally administered by the church. Marriage was a sacrament; it brought about a status; it was not a mere secular contract, as is growing to be more and more the modern view. Indeed, the whole matter of sexual relations was left to the church, and was consequently matter of sin and virtue, not of crime and innocence. Modern legislation has, perhaps, too far departed from this distinction. Unquestionably, many matters of which the State now takes jurisdiction were better left to the conscience and to the church, so long as they offend no third party nor the public. Very few lawyers doubt that most of the causes of action based on them, such as the familiar one for alienation of the affections, are only of use to the blackmailer and the adventurer. They are very seldom availed of by honest women.

Nevertheless, it is not questionable that modern American legislation, particularly in the code States, in California, New York, and the West generally, is based upon the view that marriage is a simple contract, whence results the obvious corollary that it may be dissolved at any time by mutual consent. No State has thus far followed the decision to this logical end, on the pretended assumption that the rights of children are concerned; but the rights of children might as well be conserved upon a voluntary divorce as after a scandalous court proceeding. One possible view is that the church should set its own standard, and the state its own standard, even to the extreme of not regulating the matter at all except by ordinary laws of contract and laws for the record of marriages and divorces and for the custody, guardianship, support, and education of children, which would include the presumption of paternity pending an undissolved marriage, but all divorces to be by mutual consent. It is evident to any careful student of our legislation that we would be rapidly approaching this view but for the conservative influence of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the South, and but for the efforts of most of the churches and the divorce reform societies. Which influence will prove more powerful in the end it is not possible to predict.

Socialists urge that the institution of marriage is bound up with that of private property. There is little doubt that the women's suffrage movement tends to socialism, and, also, paradoxical as it may at first seem, to lax marriage laws and easy divorces. "The single standard of morality" offered by all advanced women's-rights advocates will necessarily be a levelling down, not a levelling up; and in a society where the life of the ordinary young woman is that which at least was that of the ordinary young man about town, it is hardly likely that there will be any stricter legislation. Where a majority of young women live alone and earn their living, the old order must change.

Divorce, it should be known, is a modern institution; that is, divorce by the secular courts. Such divorce as the Roman Church recognized, or was granted by act of Parliament, was the only divorce existing down to the year 1642, when one Hannah Huish was divorced in Connecticut by the General Court, "with liberty to marry again as God may grant her opportunity," and about that time the Colony of Massachusetts Bay enacted the first law (with the possible exception of one in Geneva) permitting divorces by ordinary courts of law.

The age of consent means two things, or even three, which leads to much confusion. It has a definite meaning in the criminal law, to be discussed later; and then it has a double meaning in the marriage law. First, the age under which the marriage of a girl or boy is absolutely void; second, the age at which it is lawful without the consent of the parents. The tendency of our legislation is to raise the latter age and possibly the former. At least, marriages of very young persons may be absolutely cancelled as if they had never taken place. According to all precedents, human and divine, from the Garden of Eden to Romeo and Juliet, "the age of consent" would by common sense appear to be the age at which the woman did in fact consent; such is the common law, but such is not usually law by our statutes.

But perhaps the legislation of the future is best represented by the extraordinary effort, whose beginning we now see, to prevent freedom of marriage Itself. There is probably no human liberty, no constitutional right to property, or hardly, even, to one's personal freedom, which has been more ardently asserted by all persons not actually slaves (and even, indeed, by them) than the right to love and marry. In the rare instances where even priests have interfered, it has usually led to resentment or resistance. The common law has never dared to.[1] Marriages between near relations, prohibited by the Mosaic law, were invalid by the church law, and became invalid by the secular law at the very late period when it began to have any jurisdiction over the matter, hardly in England half a century ago; in the United States, where we have never had canon law or church courts, the secular law took the Mosaic law from the time of the Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641). The first interference of statute was the prohibition of the marriage of first cousins. This seems to be increasing. The prohibition of marriage between different races we have mentioned in another chapter. To-day we witness the startling tendency for the States to prescribe whom a person shall not marry, even if it do not prescribe whom they shall. The science of eugenics, new-fangled as the word itself, will place upon the statute-book matters and considerations which our forefathers left to the Lord. Considerable progress has already been made in this country. The marriage of insane persons, persons absolutely non compos, was, of course, always void at the common law, and the church law as well. They are incapable of contract. The marriage of impotent persons was void also, but by recent laws the marriage of epileptics is forbidden and made void, the marriage of persons addicted to intoxicating liquors or drugs, the marriage of persons who have been infected by certain diseases; and finally, most startling of all, the proposal looms in the future to make every man contemplating a marriage submit himself to an examination, both moral and physical, by the State or city officials as to his health and habits, and even that of his ancestry, as bearing upon his posterity. Novels have been written about men who avoided marriage by reason of a taint of insanity in the family; this modern science of eugenics would propose to make such conduct compulsory by law.

[Footnote 1: Mr. Flinders Petrie, in his late book, "Janus in Modern Life," tells us that at least ten varieties of marriage and marriage law have prevailed in history, and that all save marriage by capture perdure in the civilized world to-day, most of them, in actuality, even in England.]

We have now said enough on the abstract questions to close with some of the concrete examples. Some States forbid the marriage of a person who has tuberculosis; some require him to submit to an examination. In 1907 a bill was introduced in Michigan, which provided that no person should be permitted to marry who had ever led an unchaste life. This bill did not, however, become a law.

In divorce matters New York, in 1890, adopted the very intelligent statute requiring courts to allow a person charged as corespondent in a divorce case to make defence. Six States raised the age of consent in criminal matters, and four in marriage; one required a marriage ceremony. In 1891 one State added crime, or conviction for crime, as a cause of divorce, one insanity. Two regulated the procedure in the direction recommended by the Uniformity Commissioners. One made it criminal to advertise the securing of divorces in the newspapers. Two States made simple sexual connection a crime (which was not a crime at the common law). One Southern State enacted a special law against slander of women,—another instance of the tendency to their special protection. Several States adopted newer laws giving complete control of their separate property to women, and allowing them to do business as sole traders, without responsibility for the husband's debts. Two more States passed statutes allowing women to practise law. In 1890 one other State forbids drinks to be served by either women or children under eighteen.

In 1893 there was much legislation concerning the powers of the mother over the children, and the liability of the husband to support both wife and children under penalty as for the crime of desertion. This legislation has now become pretty general throughout the country; that is, it is made a criminal offence for a man to desert his wife or children, or, being able, to fail to support them. One State declared the husband and wife joint guardians of the children. In 1894 one State prohibited marriage between first cousins, and one between uncle and niece. One declared that marriage removed nonage. One made it a misdemeanor for a married man to make an offer of marriage. The laws for support of wife and children continue, and there were laws passed giving alimony to the wife, even in case the divorce were for her fault. One State made both husband and wife competent witnesses against each other in either civil or criminal cases. One found it necessary to declare that a woman might practise medicine, and another that she might be a guardian; the statute in both cases would seem to have been unnecessary. Two States provided that she might not serve liquor in saloons or restaurants, the statute already referred to. Louisiana adopted the intelligent statute, already mentioned, permitting the right of suffrage to women in cases of votes on loans or taxes by cities, counties, or towns; and Utah first enacted the much-mooted statute that female school-teachers should be paid like wages as males for the same services. It would be most interesting to hear how this statute, which was passed in 1896, turned out to work.[1] One State provided that women might be masters in chancery, and another carried out the idea of equality by enacting that women should no longer be excepted in the laws against tramps and vagrants. Constitutional amendments proposing women's suffrage were defeated this year (1895) in no less than nine States. Connecticut passed a law that no man or woman should marry who was epileptic or imbecile, if the wife be under forty-five, and another State for the first time awards divorce to the husband for cruelty or indignities suffered at the hands of the wife, while another State still repeals altogether its law permitting divorces for cruelty or intoxication. One other makes insanity a cause of divorce. One other, non-support. Two or three adopt the notion of joint guardianship of children.

[Footnote 1: A State official informs me that the law is evaded, see above, p. 212.]

In 1897 one State prohibits the remarriage of divorced parties during the life of the innocent plaintiff; the Uniformity of Law Commissioners came to the conclusion that any limitation upon remarriage was unwise and led both to immorality and to wrong against innocent third persons. Divorces should either not be granted at all, or be granted absolutely. This is the better opinion; though, of course, it does not apply to mere orders of separation. Much confusion of thought has arisen upon this subject, the upholders of lax divorces always assuming that the opponents mean to compel persons to live together in misery or incompatibility, which, of course, is far from the case. A legal separation has always been permitted, except, indeed, where that doctrine is interfered with by modern statute; any wife can be freed of a vicious or cruel husband and even compel him to support her while living away from him, but "platform women" are apt to forget this fact. In the same year one Southern State has the chivalry to provide that no women should be worked as convicts on the road; one is not aware but for this that it ever happened. We see more humane legislation about this time for the protection and proper treatment of women in jails or houses of detention, for the services of matrons and the careful separation of the sexes, and by now seats for women in stores or factories are almost universally required. The sale of liquor to women is in one State specially forbidden, Louisiana follows the Texas law giving women tax-payers a vote on appropriations for permanent improvements.

In 1899 comes the law of Michigan, already referred to, forbidding persons with contagious diseases to marry, and compelling physicians to testify. The Massachusetts Medical Association has gone on record as urging that there should be a privilege to physicians in all cases, as there is to lawyers. Many people believe that to be the common law; such is not the case, even as to priests.

One more State this year awards divorce for insanity, and one more for intoxication. Several States permit women to get damages from liquor-sellers selling intoxicating drink to their husbands; I know of no corresponding statute permitting the husband to get damages for drinks sold the wife. A wife may testify against the husband in certain cases, as actions for alienating of affection, or criminal conversation; not so the husband. Texas and other Southwestern States adopt the statute that an action for seduction shall be suspended on the defendant's marriage with the plaintiff, otherwise it is a felony, and it is again a felony should he after such marriage desert her—the Fourteenth Amendment to the contrary notwithstanding (which reminds one of the colonial Massachusetts statute, that the punishment for that offence may either be imprisonment in the state-prison, or marriage!).

The laws aimed at mere sin increase in number. One State makes improper relations, even by mutual consent, punishable with four years in the state-prison, if the girl be under eighteen. North Dakota introduces a bill to require medical examination in all cases as a prerequisite to marriage; it failed in North Dakota that year, but was promptly introduced in other States. In Oregon all widows and fathers may vote, without regard to property qualification, in school district elections; and this State joins the number of those which forbid the marriage of first cousins.

In 1901 came the great New York statute abolishing the common-law marriage, which we have discussed above. Some States pass laws punishing wife-beating by either imprisonment or a whipping. In 1902 perhaps the most interesting thing is that there is no legislation whatever of any kind on the subject of women's suffrage—showing distinctly the refluent wave. In 1903 New Hampshire rejects a constitutional amendment for women's suffrage. Kansas restricts the marriage of epileptic and weak-minded persons. Several States reform their divorce laws, and Pennsylvania adopts Southern ideas giving divorce for a previous unchastity discovered after marriage. This matter has so far been covered by no Northern State, though it had been law from all time in Virginia.

In 1904 women's suffrage was proposed in Oregon, and in 1905 rejected. Illinois follows New York in abolishing the common-law marriage, and raises the age to eighteen in a woman and twenty-one in a man. As is often the case, it does not appear from the ambiguous wording of the statute whether this invalidates the marriage or merely subjects the offenders, or the minister or the magistrate, to a penalty; probably the latter. Minnesota forbids the marriage of imbecile or epileptic persons; Nebraska that of first cousins, and Pennsylvania adopts the uniform divorce law recommended by the commissioners. Five other States reform their divorce laws, and four their laws concerning married women's property, and seventeen adopt new laws for compulsory support of the woman and children by the husband.

In 1906 one more State adopts the idea of giving a vote to female property-owners in money elections. One puts the age of consent up to sixteen. In a good many States it is already eighteen. Women's suffrage is again rejected in Oregon; and finally even South Dakota reforms her divorce laws.

Perhaps a word should be given to other laws relating to minors as well as to young women. There is very general legislation throughout the country forbidding the sale of intoxicating liquor to persons under twenty-one, and in the great majority of the States the sale of cigarettes, narcotics or other drugs, or even tobacco, to persons under twenty-one, eighteen, or fifteen, respectively. In some States it is forbidden, or made a misdemeanor, to insure the lives of children—very important legislation, if necessary. In 1904 Virginia passed a statute punishing kidnapping with death, which is followed in 1905 by heavy penalties for abduction in three other States; fourteen States establish juvenile courts. Seven States make voluntary cohabitation a crime, and six pass what are known as curfew laws. Indeed, it may be generally said that the tendency is, either by State statute or municipal ordinance, to forbid children, or at least girls under sixteen, from being unattended on the streets of a city after a certain hour in the evening.

In 1907 Mississippi makes the age of consent twelve, and the penalty for rape death, which, indeed, is the common law, but which law has extraordinary consequences when the age is raised, as it is in many States, to eighteen. Two more States adopt the laws against abduction and one a statute against blackmail.

Sufficient has, perhaps, been said to give the reader a general view of contemporary law-making on this most important matter of personal relations. Most of the matters mentioned in this chapter are cohered by various learned societies in annual reports, or even by the government, in cases of marriage and divorce, and to such special treatises the reader may be referred for more precise information. The Special Report of the United States Census Office, 1909, published early in 1910, makes a careful and elaborate study of the whole question from the years 1867 to 1906. Such statistics are necessarily uncertain for reasons already indicated. Court judgments do not indicate the true cause of divorce, nor is the complainant necessarily the innocent party, nor are the numbers of divorces granted, as for instance in Nevada, any fair indication of the normal divorce rate of the people really living in that State. With this caution we will note that the number of divorces varied from about five hundred in each hundred thousand of married population every year in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Arkansas, Texas, Oregon, Wyoming, Indiana, Idaho, and Oklahoma, down to less than fifty, or about one-tenth as many, in New Jersey, New York, and Delaware. Certain significant observations may certainly be made upon this table. In the first place, the older States, the old thirteen, have, from the point of view of the conservative or divorce reformer, the best record. At the head stand the three States just named, then North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Louisiana (largely French and Roman Catholic), and Connecticut—ten of the original thirteen States. Only New Hampshire and Rhode Island, the latter for obvious reasons, stand low down in the column; the last State having about three hundred divorces as against Montana's five hundred. South Carolina, having no divorces at all, does not appear.

The next observation one is compelled to make is that divorces are most numerous in the women's suffrage States, or in the States neighboring, where "women's rights" notions are most prevalent. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho stand second, third, sixth, and eighth, respectively, among the fifty States and Territories comprised in the table.[1] On succeeding pages are graphic maps showing the conditions which in this particular prevail for a number of years. There is little change of these in the thirty years from 1870 to 1900. The Atlantic seaboard and Southern States in 1870 are left white, with the exception of New England, which is slightly shaded; that is, they have less than twenty-five divorces per hundred thousand of inhabitants. In 1880 the black belt States and Territories—having one hundred and over—extends from Wyoming over Montana, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. In 1900 it covers the entire far West and Southwest, with the exception of New Mexico (Roman Catholic) and Utah (Mormon). The chart showing the relation of divorces to number of married population does not materially differ. Now these figures, ranging from five hundred divorces per hundred thousand married population per year, or three hundred in the more lax States, down to less than fifty in the stricter States, compare with other countries as follows:

[Footnote 1: Census Reports, 1909, "Marriage and Divorce," part I, p. 15.]

Only Japan shows a number of divorces approaching these figures. She has two hundred and fifteen per one hundred thousand of general population,—about the same as Indiana, which stands eighth in the order of States. But with the exception of Japan no civilized country shows anything like the proportion of divorces that the American States do. Thus, in Great Britain and Ireland there are but two per hundred thousand of population; in Scotland, four; in the German Empire, fifteen; in France, twenty-three, and in the highest country of all, Switzerland, thirty-two, while the average of the entire United States is seventy-three.

The census figures as to the trades or professions in which divorce is most prevalent are amusing, but probably not very significant. It appears, as might be expected, that actors and actresses stand at the head, and next musicians or teachers of music; while clergymen stand very near the bottom of the list, only excelled in this good record by bar-tenders (in Rhode Island) and, throughout the country, by agricultural laborers.

But after all, more important, perhaps, than even marriage and divorce, are the great social changes which arise from the general engaging of women in industrial occupation. In matters of property right we have found they are substantially already on an equality with men, if not in a position of special privilege. Yet, as Herbert Spencer remarked, "When an abuse which has existed for many centuries is at last on the point of disappearing, the most violent outcry is made against it." During the century when women were really oppressed,[1] under the power of the husband, given no rights as to their property, their children, or hardly even as to their person, no complaint was heard. Whereas to-day the cry of unjust legislation almost rises to a shriek. The movement for the emancipation of women originated, of course, with Mary Wolstonecraft, about 1812. Her book, which was the first, is certainly one of the longest that have yet been written on the subject. It remained at the time unanswered, and when its author married Godwin she herself seems to have lost interest in the controversy. Nevertheless, little has been added since to the ideas there put forward, save, indeed, for the vote. It is a somewhat curious fact that in all Miss Wolstonecraft's great magazine of grievances and demands for remedying legislation, there is not a single word said about votes by women, or there being such a thing as the right to the ballot.

[Footnote 1: In the trial of Mary Heelers for bigamy (2 State Trials, 498) as late as 1663 the chief justice said, 'If guilty, she must die; a woman hath no clergy.' Yet Mary wrote to her husband, in court, "Nay, my lord, 'tis not amiss, before we part, to have a kiss!" She was acquitted.]

The industrial condition of the sex in American cities may be summed up with the general phrase "absolute equality of opportunity," with a certain amount of special protection. Women are nearly universally required to be given seats in factories and stores, and the laws specially protecting their periods of employment have just been sustained as constitutional in the States of Illinois and Oregon and the Supreme Court of the United States. On the other hand, we are far behind European countries in legislation to protect their health or sanitary conditions. The most radical effort at legislation ever made was undoubtedly that Connecticut bill forbidding employment of married women in factories, which, however, did not become a law. The recent reports of Laura Scott to the American Association for Labor Legislation, on Child Labor, 1910, and the Employment of Women, 1909, have already been referred to. From the former, which appeared as we are going to press, we learn that there are prohibited occupations to children in all the States without exception—a statement which certainly would not have been true some years since. These prohibited groups of employment are generally, to male and female, dangerous machinery and mines, and to females also saloons; and there is nearly universally a limitation of all labor to above the age of twelve or fourteen for all purposes, and to above fourteen or sixteen for educational purposes, besides which there is a very general prohibition of acrobatic or theatrical performances. Girls are sometimes forbidden to sell newspapers or deliver messages for telegraph companies or others. Compulsory education is, of course, universal, and the machinery to bring it about is generally based upon a system of certificates or cards, with truant officers and factory inspectors.

According to the encyclopaedias, some five hundred thousand women were employed in England about twenty years ago, of whom about three hundred thousand were in the textile mills. In Massachusetts alone there were two hundred and eight thousand women employed, according to the last State census. Neither of these figures include the vast class of domestic service and farm labor. The inclusion of this would swell the proportion of adult women employed in gainful occupations to at least one in four, if not one in three. Congress itself has recently been investigating the question whether "home life has been threatened, marriage decreased, divorce increased out of all proportion, and the birth rate now barely exceeds the death rate, so that the economic and social welfare of the country is menaced by this army of female wage earners" (see Boston Herald, April 2, 1908). It appeared that in 1900 one million seven hundred and fifty thousand children were at work between the ages of ten and fifteen, of whom five hundred thousand were girls. This and other considerations have led to the movement for national child-labor laws already discussed.

Perhaps the most dangerous tendency, at least to conservative ideas, is the increasing one to take the children away from the custody of the parents, or even of the mother, and place them in State institutions. Indeed, in some Western States it would appear that the general disapproval of the neighbors of the method employed by parents in bringing up, nurturing, educating, or controlling their children, is sufficient cause for the State authorities to step in and disrupt the family by removing the children, even when themselves unwilling, from the home to some State or county institution. Any one who has worked much in public charities and had experience with that woeful creature, the institutionalized child, will realize the menace contained in such legislation.

Finally, it should be remembered that throughout the United States men are universally liable for their wives' debts, short of some quasi-legal separation; on the other hand, wives are never liable for the debts of their husbands.



There is no very general tendency toward new legislation in matters of felony, and many States are still content to remain with the common law. Such legislation as there is is mainly concerned with the protection of women and children, alluded to in the last chapter. In matters of less serious offences, of legislation creating misdemeanors or merely declaring certain acts unlawful, there are three main lines: First, legislation usually expressive of the common law against conspiracies of all sorts, combinations both of individuals and of capital, already fully discussed. Next, the general line of legislation in the interest of the health of the public, such as pure food and drug laws, and examination for trade or professional licenses; and finally laws protecting the individual against himself, such as liquor and anti-cigarette or anti-cocaine laws. It is hardly necessary to more than illustrate some of these matters. Then there are the laws regulating punishment for crime, laws for probation or parole, indeterminate sentences, etc., all based on the modern theory that reform, not retribution or even prevention, is the basis of penology. Such laws have been held constitutional, even when their result is to arbitrarily increase a man's sentence for crime on account of his past or subsequent conduct. Finally, and most important, there is the legislation regulating the actual trial of cases, indictments, juries, appeals,—the law of court procedure, civil as well as criminal, which for convenience we may consider in this chapter.

Of the first sort of legislation, we have noted that in many States adultery, in many States simple drunkenness, in other States mere single acts of immorality, are made felonies. In 1892 the State laws against food adulteration begin, which, by 1910, have covered milk, butter, maple sugar, and many other subjects. By the Federal pure-food law of 1906, applying to Interstate commerce in such articles, it became advisable for the States to adopt the Federal Act as a State law; also for the sake of uniformity a few States have had the intelligence to do so. The trades of fat-rendering and bone-boiling are made nuisances by statute.

In 1896 we note the first statutes against lynching. In 1897 local option prevails in Texas, and the blue laws of Connecticut are abolished to the extent that recreation on Sundays is no longer prohibited. Local option and anti-lynching laws continue during the next two or three years, and by 1900 twenty-four States have pure-food laws, which, however, are ineffective because they impose no sufficient penalty. In 1903, in consequence of the assassination of President McKinley, Washington and Wisconsin make the advocating anarchy a felony. Twenty-one more States pass pure-food laws, and nearly all the States have gone over to local option from State-wide prohibition, to which latter principle only three States now adhere. In 1904 Mississippi and Virginia adopt more stringent laws against vagrancy, and 1905 is the year of active legislation on the indeterminate sentence, juvenile courts, parole and probation, with two more statutes against mobs and lynching. In 1907 the States are busied with the attempt to enforce their prohibition regulations against the interstate commerce jurisdiction of the Federal government. Solicitation of interstate orders for liquor is forbidden in Mississippi, and it is provided that shipments sent C.O.D. are not to be moved one hundred feet or given away; also, that the mere possession of an internal revenue receipt from the United States government is prima facie evidence of an offence against the State law. Statutes of this kind led to renewed conflict between State and Federal authority. Virginia adopts the statute against giving tips or any commissions; see p. 244 above. In 1908 we find more parole and probation laws, two prohibition and three local-option laws, and four new pure-food statutes.

Coming to matters of court procedure, in 1890 one State provides that there should never be called more than six witnesses for each side in any criminal case, which oddly reminds one of early English trials by compurgation; but is, of course, quite unconstitutional in this country. In 1893 Connecticut adopts a statute that honorably discharged soldiers and sailors addicted to drink are to be "treated" free at the State hospital. The definition of the word "treated" seems ambiguous, but in any event it is a pleasing reminder of Bishop Berkeley's remark that he would "rather see England free than England sober." Some States provide for a jury of eight in criminal cases and for a verdict of three-quarters in civil cases—a statute of questionable constitutionality. Very generally throughout the twenty years studied by us, the States have adopted stricter rules for the admission of attorneys at law to practise at the bar.

In 1895 Pennsylvania yields to the physicians and passes a statute forbidding them to disclose communications of patients, but the statute only applies to civil cases. More States provide for verdicts by a majority of the jury. Maryland goes Pennsylvania one better in extending the professional privilege to newspaper reporters; that is to say, we find a statute that they may not be compelled to disclose their sources of information, an excellent statute for the yellow journal. In 1897 California abolishes capital punishment; there has been a general tendency in this direction, of recent years, although some States, having tried the experiment, have returned to it again, as has the Republic of France. In 1899 the privilege from testifying is extended in one State also to trained nurses, and in others to physicians, even in criminal cases, although they may testify with the patient's consent. The same law was adopted in Iowa in 1900, Ohio does away with the common law of libel, except the plaintiff can prove actual malice. By this year, seventeen States expressly allow women to practise law, and twenty-eight do so by implication. The Colorado statute for a three-fourths verdict is held unconstitutional.

The regulation of the liquor traffic is, perhaps, after the labor question, the most universal subject of legislation in occidental nations. Experts on the matter tell us (E.L. Fanshawe, "Liquor Legislation in the United States and Canada," Report to Parliament, 1892) that there have hitherto been but three, or possibly four, inventions—universal or State-wide prohibition, local option, license, high or low, and State administration. The last was recently tried in South Carolina with more or less success. Prohibition by a general law does not seem to be effective; local option, on the contrary, does seem to be so. But the general consensus of opinion, to which Mr. Fanshawe comes, and which seems still to be held by most intelligent American publicists, is that on the whole high license works best, and this the women themselves have just voted in Denver; not only because it actually prohibits to a certain extent, but it regulates and polices the traffic, prevents the sale of adulterated liquor, and to a considerable extent the grosser disorders and political dangers that attend the bar-room. On the other hand, the power of licensing should never be granted to any political body, but should be granted under fixed rules (determined by geographical position and the local opposition or desire) by the local government. These rules should not be arbitrary, and the person applying for license should have the right to appeal to some court.

Matters of bribery and political corruption have been somewhat anticipated under Chapter 14. Suffice it here to say that the States very generally have been adopting statutes making bribery criminal and a cause of permanent disqualification from all political right, either voting or holding office, and this applies both to the person bribing and the person receiving the bribe. Bribery by offers or promise of employment is a far more difficult matter, but this matter also certain States have sought to regulate.

There are, of course, thousands and thousands of city ordinances relating to the criminal law, but usually to minor offences or matters of police regulation. Undoubtedly the duplication of them tends to make us not a law-abiding community. It was the present Boston police commissioner who complained that there were more than eleven thousand ordinances in Boston, which everybody was supposed to know. We must let the whole matter go by saying that there is a general attempt at universal police regulation of all the actions of life, at least such as are conducted outside of a man's own house. Sunday laws, Sabbatarian legislation, have, of course, very largely been abandoned, except when restored in the interest, or supposed interest, of labor. In the State of New York, for instance, barbers could only shave on Sunday in the city of New York and the town of Saratoga; the reasons for the exception are obvious.

Coming to general principles of penology, there is no doubt that of the three possible theories, revenge, prevention, and reform of the criminal, it is the latter that in the main prevails throughout the United States. An investigation was conducted some years since by correspondence with a vast number of judges throughout the world, and it proved that this was also their principle of imposing sentences, in the majority of cases. More radical change is found in that legislation freeing prisoners on parole, providing indeterminate sentences, and in the creation of special courts for boys and young women, with special gaols and reformatories. Jury trial, of course, remains substantially unchanged from the earlier times, only that the jurors are now in most States permitted to read or to have read the newspapers, and that the government has a right of appeal when the verdict has gone for the prisoner on a point of law. This matter, upon President Roosevelt's recommendation, was embodied in an act of Congress.

The legislation making it criminal to advocate assassination or anarchism has been adverted to when we were considering the rights of aliens. In England, it is treason to imagine the death of the king. There is no constitutional reason why it should not be treason to imagine the death of the president, or perhaps even the subversion by force of organized society. Such laws have been passed in Washington, Wisconsin, and other States.

It has, in some States, been made a capital offence to kidnap a child, and, as has been elsewhere said, the rigor of the common law is very generally preserved for the crime of rape. The most active effort to-day for legislation in matters quasi-criminal is that to extend jury trial over cases of contempt of court, particularly when in violation of a chancery injunction when the act itself is criminal. The greatest need of criminal legislation is in the writer's opinion in matters of business or corporate fraud, and in revival of our older English law against the extortion or regrating of middlemen, the engrossing of markets, the artificial enhancing of the prices of the necessaries of life, and the withholding, destruction, or improper preservation of food. But most of all, as President Taft has urged, greater speed and certainty and less technicality in court trials for crime—a reform of our legal procedure.



The matter of most interest in modern American legislation for municipal government is probably the home-rule principle. That is, statutes permitting cities or towns, or even villages, to draw and adopt their own charters and govern themselves in their own way. The charter thus adopted may, of course, be the old-fashioned government of mayor, aldermen, common council, etc., or it may be the newly invented government by commission, based substantially on the theory of permanent officials chosen at infrequent intervals, and officers, in so far as possible, appointed, and not elected. The one makes for efficiency, the other for democracy. At present the American people seem to have a craze for efficiency, even at the expense of representative government, and of principles hitherto thought constitutional. It is impossible to tell how long it will last. It may carry us into the extreme of personal government, national, State, and local, or history may repeat itself and we may return to the principle of frequent elections and direct responsibility to the voters under the arbitrament of the courts of law. We may go on to special courts (declared odious in the Great Case of Monopolies) and administrative law, or be content with improved understanding of the law we already have.

These matters are too large for us; coming down to more concrete facts, we find that the general tendencies of legislation upon State, and particularly municipal, government are to somewhat enlarge its functions, but considerably to limit its expenditure. Greater distrust is shown in legislatures, municipal as well as State, and a greater trust and power reposed in individual heads, and a much greater power intrusted to more or less permanent boards and commissions, usually not elective, and often clothed with vast powers not expressly submitted to the scrutiny of courts of law. The purposes of education are somewhat extended, generally in the direction of better education, more technical and practical and less "classical."[1] Charity includes a largely increased recreation for the people, State provision for many more classes of the invalid and incompetent, specialized homes for various sorts of infirm or inebriate, and some little charity in the guise of bounties of seed, etc., to needy farmers, which latter, however, have usually been held unconstitutional.

[Footnote 1: Though a lady orator in Boston this year complains to an audience of labor unionists that trades schools and industrial education tend to "peasantize" the poor. Peasanthood was the condition of the agricultural laborer; it was skilled labor that made him free—neither peasant, peon, nor villein. See p. 20, above.]

Thus, in 1890 North Dakota limits the debt of cities to five per cent.; but permits county loans to raise seed grain for needy farmers; other States extend the principle of socialism to electric lighting, gas, natural gas, water, sewers, agricultural drainage, irrigation, turnpikes, and cemeteries. That is to say, all may be built, maintained, or run at the municipal expense, or under municipal control. In 1895 Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas, and other States carefully limit State, county, town, or city taxes to prescribed rates. Texas requires a two-thirds vote on the issue of municipal bonds, and fixes the debt limit at five per cent. In 1896 Missouri rejects a constitutional amendment permitting municipal gas and water socialism on majority vote of the voters. The same year the failure of such enterprises begins to show itself in a statute of Iowa authorizing municipal plants to be sold upon a popular vote. The socialist town of Hamilton, Ohio, actually went into the hands of a receiver; a similar result followed the English experiments in the towns of Poplar and West Ham.

In 1897 many other States adopted a limit for State, city, county, or town taxes. Indeed, it may be stated generally, without going into further details, that such laws are practically universal throughout the South and West, and prevail to some extent as to cities only in New England, and the same may be said of laws fixing a debt limit which States, counties, cities, or towns may not exceed. Such laws are very generally evaded, as by leasing desired improvements of a private company, or (in Indiana at least) the overlapping of municipal districts; thus there may be (as formerly in England) city, town, school district or poor district, each separate and not conterminous.

While it is obvious that municipal socialism has rather decreased in the last ten years, laws restricting the granting of franchises have become far more intelligent and are being generally adopted. The best example of such legislation is probably to be found in Kansas. The general principles are that no franchise can be given but for a limited time, that it must be bought at public auction, that the earnings beyond a certain percentage on investment must revert to the city, and that there must be a referendum to popular vote in the locality interested. In 1899 Michigan declares the municipal ownership of street railways unconstitutional, but Nevada passes a statute for municipal ownership of telephone lines. In 1903 the municipal ownership of gas and oil wells is permitted in Kansas, and of coal or fuel yards in Maine. A law similar to the latter was declared unconstitutional by the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Missouri adopts a sweeping statute for the municipal ownership of "any public utilities" in cities of less than thirty thousand population. In 1904 Louisiana permits small towns to own and operate street railways. Other States copy the Missouri statute as to municipal ownership of all or any public utilities, and generally the principle is extended, but only in a permissive way; that is to say, upon majority vote, and this seems to be the present tendency. The most striking present experiment is in Milwaukee; both Haverhill and Brockton tried socialistic city government in Massachusetts, but abandoned it.

Civil-service reform has very generally made progress during the past twenty years in State and city governments, and probably the principle is now more or less recognized in a great majority of the States.

Comparatively little is to be said as to internal improvements. The Michigan Constitution provides that the State shall go into no internal improvement whatever, and this, of course, was the older principle without any express constitutional provision. North Dakota and Wyoming provide that the State cannot be interested in works of internal improvement except upon two-thirds vote of the people.

South Dakota also provides that the State may not engage in them in any case; Alabama, that it may not loan its credit in support of such works; and Maryland, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, that it may not contract debts for the same, or in Kansas be a party to carrying them on. In Virginia, no county, city, or town may engage in any work of internal improvement except roads. Many of the States, however, specify a considerable number of purposes for which State, cities, or counties may give or loan their credit; and the matter of municipal socialism has just been discussed.

Very generally, the States have created agricultural experiment stations and model farms, drainage districts in the South, a levee system on the Mississippi River, and irrigation districts in the West; artesian wells in Texas, and in several States, State dairy bureaus. In specialized products, such as beet sugar, there is often provision for a State agricultural bureau, and nearly always for general agricultural as well as industrial instruction. The States are only beginning to adopt State forests, or forest reserves, Massachusetts and New York leading the way. Forestry commissions exist in a few States, but the very slightest beginning has been made at forestry laws. No control is as yet exercised over reforestation or replanting; a few of the Western States exempt growing trees, or the land covered by growing trees, from more than a nominal tax, notably Indiana and Nebraska. The forestry laws are, however, increasing. In 1903 we find one, in 1904 five, and in 1905 six, with the tree bounty law in North Dakota, and two States exempting forest lands from taxes. There are four statutes this year for fish or game preserves. In 1907 four States create forestry boards, and two exempt forests from taxation, and in 1908 growing trees are exempted in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. But under the unlimited power of Congress over Federal territory not yet incorporated into States, or not ceded to the State when incorporated, it is to the Federal government that we have looked for the creation and preservation of parks, forest reserves, and natural reserves generally. How far it may constitutionally create such within the lines of old States, or on land of which it is otherwise incapable of ownership, is a constitutional question still undecided.

The educational functions of the State are, of course, a peculiar principle of American civilization. Nearly all State constitutions provide that education is a natural right, and the first common school supported by general taxation appears in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay before the year 1640. The principle of compulsory education exists throughout all the States, and in all education of the most diversified kind is given, from the primary school or kindergarten to the State university or technical school of applied science, trade, or business. Nearly all the States have established State universities which are free or open at a nominal charge. Massachusetts continues to rely upon a semi-private institution, Harvard University, which, indeed, is expressly mentioned in its constitution. Provision is universally made also for evening schools, for industrial schools, for public libraries, and for popular elections, and besides the ordinary educational laws and the truant laws, there is in the statutes concerning labor matters abundant machinery for requiring some education as a preliminary to any employment. The age of compulsory education may be said to average between the ages of eight and fifteen, though the limits are extended either way in the divers States. Farm schools and industrial reform schools generally exist, both as a part of the present system and of the educational department. Coeducation in State schools and colleges is almost universal. On the other hand, as we have shown, the segregation of the races is in some States insisted upon. Several States forbid the employment of teachers under the age of sixteen, or even eighteen. Free text-books are generally provided. The period of compulsory schooling varies from the classic twelve weeks in the winter, as in old New England, to substantially the full academic year. Textile and other manual training schools exist in some States, but have generally evoked the opposition of organized labor, and are more usually created by private endowment. The tendency of civil service reform legislation, furthermore, has been to require a certain minimum of education, though it may be feared that the forecast of De Tocqueville remains justified; our national educational weakness is our failure to provide for a "serious higher instruction."

The great question of taxation we may only mention here by way of exclusion. It is naturally a matter for treatment by itself. The reader will remember (see chapter VII) that nearly all the States have now inheritance taxes besides direct property taxes, and many of them have income taxes and, in the South particularly, license taxes, or taxes upon trades or callings. They all tax corporations, nearly always by an excise tax on the franchise or stock, distinct from the property tax or the tax upon earnings. In both corporation taxes and inheritance taxes they are likely to find themselves in conflict with the Federal government, or at least to have duplicate systems taxing the same subjects, as, indeed, already considerable injustice is caused by inheritance taxes imposed in full in each State upon the stock of corporations lying in more than one State. In such cases the tax should, of course, be proportionate.

The principle of graded taxation in the matter of incomes and succession taxes has been very generally adopted, not as yet in any direct property tax, except that a small amount of property, one hundred dollars or five hundred dollars, is usually exempt.

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