« PreviousContinue »
OKLAHOMA MUNICIPAL LEAGUE CONVENTION.—The ninth annual convention of the Oklahoma Municipal League was held in Oklahoma City on December first and second. The secretary-treasurer, Dr. F. F. Blachly of the University of Oklahoma, reported that the membership of the League now includes about forty-five cities, most of which were represented at the convention.
The first day's program included, among other papers and addresses, a talk by R. B. F. Hummer, the city attorney of Henryetta, on "A State Tax Commission”; an address on “The Government of Oklahoma Towns,” by J. E. McAfee of Norman, community counselor; a round table discussion upon the collection of delinquent and special assessment taxes; a presentation of the legislative program of the Oklahoma Municipal League, by Tom C. Waldrep, city attorney of Shawnee; and a paper on “The Need of a New Paving Law for Oklahoma," by Gus Paul, a bond attorney of Oklahoma City.
In the evening the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and city officials entertained the delegates at a banquet, which was followed by illustrated talks on city planning and beautification, by J. H. Craven, Superintendent of buildings and grounds at the state university, and Warren E. Moore of Oklahoma City, commissioner of public safety.
On the second morning P. W. Holtzendorff, city attorney of Claremore, talked on "The County Excise Board"; and John F. Luttrell of Norman, city attorney, considered the question, “May a Home Rule City in Oklahoma Assess and Collect Its Own Taxes ?”
The convention held a joint luncheon with the Oklahoma Engineering Society, at which several speakers discussed matters of interest to both groups, including the present unsatisfactory street paving law.
At the afternoon session the city manager of Muskogee, R. P. Harrison, read a paper on "The Usefulness of a Purchasing Agent”; Charles Slemp of Oklahoma City, secretary of the Oklahoma Firemen's Association, discussed “The Firemen's Pension Fund”; a talk on "The Recovery
of Tax Penalties” was given by I. 0. Underwood, city attorney of Tulsa; and an address on “The Advantages of Zoning" was given by Warren E. Moore. The reports of committees were then read and discussed, and the officers for the coming year were elected.
The sessions of the convention were well attended, and great interest in the papers was displayed by all the delegates, who engaged in vigorous and spirited discussions of the ideas presented by the speakers.
Professor G. P. Wyckoff of Tulane University of Louisiana has been appointed on the Editorial Board of the Association to take the place made vacant by the resignation of Professor J. M. Fletcher of Tulane.
The Department of Business Administration at the University of Texas has been separated from the College of Arts and Sciences and made a School of Business Administration. Professor Spurgeon Bell is Dean of the new School.
“The Negro in Tennessee, 1790-1865,” by Adjunct Professor C. P. Patterson, is the title of a bulletin just published by the University of Texas Press.
University of Texas
McBAIN, HOWARD LEE AND ROGERS, LINDSAY. The New
Constitutions of Europe. (Garden City, New York:
The average political scientist, accustomed to the stability of European constitutions, however frequently cabinets and sovereigns might change in pre-war Europe, has exhibited an unusual caution in attempting to interpret the changes that have taken place in post-war days even in the countries with which he is generally familiar. It is unfortunately true that in America we have been wont to regard only the constitutional development in the Greater European Governments, without any attempt to discuss the minor countries, which have been most frequently the fields for social and political experimentation. Outside the ambit of Great Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and AustriaHungary, whose governments have been illuminated by the pages of Lowell for a quarter of a century or more, none ventured till a decade ago, when Ogg's “Governments of Europe" first attempted studies into the actual structure of all governments in Western Europe. But even that step was an incomplete one, as no attempt was made to study the government of Russia, then in its initial stages of revolutionary development, and the fields of the Baltic and the Balkans remained a closed book for the political scientist. To historians, more often interested in dynastic, religious or economic issues than in the political development of the lesser known portions of the Dark Continent of Europe, all students were forced to turn for any light on the political structure and its operation, in any of the lesser countries of Europe. It was in this condition that the Great War found the student of Government, and only through opinionated, controversial propaganda literature, put forth in behalf of belligerents or suppressed nationalities, was the American public awakened to the importance of the lesser countries of Europe.
In the aftermath of war and revolution came intricate constitutional changes in the older, and revolutionary changes in the new and the defeated countries. To almost all of these the average political scientist paid but scant attention, and there are still many students of Government who do not know what the new countries are, or whether they are in possession of constitutions or not. Some work has been accomplished, chiefly by official agencies and bureaus of information, to acquaint the American citizen with the virtues of the governmental systems set up out of hand following the armistice, but it has remained for the authors of the work under review to present, for the first time in available form, the skeletons of the framework of Government in the new states in Europe. Unfortunately, valuable as the collection is, it is by no means complete, as the constitution of Lithuania and the fundamental ordinances governing the Ukraine are not included, and no attention is paid to numerous important measures of a constitutional character affecting the reorganization of Rumania, while Hungary, Fiume and Latvia are entirely overlooked. Despite these omissions, the careful translation and collation of the constitutions of Germany, Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, Russia, Poland, Danzig, Esthonia and Finland is a most creditable achievement. In addition, the authors have incorporated in appendices the Belgian Constitution with its latest amendments, the Fundamental Laws of France and the Statuto of Italy. In each instance, the constitutions are accompanied by a historical note, generally taken from some authentic account of historical developments in the countries concerned. These notes are not intended to serve in any way as descriptions of the working of the government under the constitutions adopted, but rather endeavor to set forth the steps leading up to the adoption of the definitive constitution. Little attention has been paid by the authors to the constitutional conventions preceding the documents they have collected, hence it will remain for some other collator, probably the constitutional historian, a century hence, to give the English speaking world an accurate account of the bodies from which these documents emanated.
Apart from the constitutions themselves, the main interest of the book lies in its eight introductory chapters, written in a clear style, and bringing to light certain hitherto uncorrelated tendencies in the functioning of Government. In their discussion of Princes and Parliaments the authors undertake to analyze the relation of political democracy, as achieved during the nineteenth century, to the institution of monarchy, and attempt to account for the revival of the Republican Tradition in Europe, despite the disrepute into which Mr. Fisher would have had us believe it had fallen. The decline of monarchy and the reassertion of republicanism is attributed to Wilsonian doctrines and the right of self-determination. The chapter on Legislatures and Bureaucrats analyzes with thorough detail the relation of the executive to the legislative bodies in all the parliamentary governments set up. The discussion of Secondary Chambers, which follows, clearly reveals that such chambers are not merely second, but secondary. More attention is paid to the British House of Lords, and to the Bryce Report-a rather extraneous discussion—than to the constitution of second chambers in Europe. Practically no discussion is given as to the merits or demerits of the unicameral legislatures now in existence, but the reasons urged in behalf of the retention of bicameralism, or against it, are put fairly. In their treatment of Functional Representation, however, the authors have gone into the subject very thoroughly and present what is without question the best account yet written on the subject. As regards Proportional Representation, the bête noir of believers in the two party system, the authors have gone into careful detail in explaining the salient points of all the schemes in force in Europe. Whatever virtues such artificial and wholly mechanical schemes may have in rep