Page images
PDF
EPUB

resenting existing opinion, one is tempted to question their utility in crystallizing public opinion in countries with little or no experience in self-government. In view of the instability of party ties in the new countries, one is inclined to question with Lord Morley whether “the State will be fortified in its tasks by special electoral devices with a scent of algebra and decimals about them.” It is highly to be regretted that the authors have made no endeavor to take note of the effects of the extension of the electorate, or of the changes in parties and policies which have taken place in all the new countries. Their nearest approach to this comes in their discussion of Individualism and Socialism in which the relation of the existing social order to the political philosophy of various parties is sketched, and the interrelation between war-time conscription of men and peacetime conscription of wealth is elucidated.

It is chiefly in the broader tasks of interpreting the changes in political structure and the control of foreign policy dealt with in their chapters on Segmentation and Federation and Democrats and Diplomats that the authors arrest attention. It would appear that in each instance they have been captivated by racy descriptions rather than by existing facts. To reject, in the discussion of the Weimar Constitution, the expressed views of Hugo Preuss by a predilection for a Saxon propagandist, is tantamount to preferring the views of Richard Henry Lee or Patrick Henry, or any of the minor controversial pamphleteers of the Constitutional Convention period to the authoritative statements of The Federalist. Herein the authors seem to have lost their sense of values rather markedly. The interpretation of the structure of the Austrian Constitution by a mere superficial glance at the document is woefully inadequate. To say that “Austrian federalism... is an idea rather than a fact, an impression rather than a reality-an impression created chiefly by repetitious reference to the Bund" is flatly to deny the existence of separatism in Austria, and to overlook the Salzburg and Tyrol plebiscites of 1920. Any statement as sweeping as the above quotation would be as much

in keeping with political realities if it were applied to Switzerland, from which the sturdy particularism of the Länder took its cue in preparing the Austrian Constitution.

Similarly, the authors have tended to regard Strachey's picture of Victoria's autocratic control of foreign relations as a type still prevalent in these days of open diplomacy. One is tempted to feel that the fruits of eight years of agitation for open diplomacy are by no means as futile as the authors would suggest, when the Union for Democratic Control, backed by the Executive of the Labour Party are able to force the hand of Prime Minister, and call a halt to the war-hawks of the late Coalition. Such performances coupled with the illuminating discussions at the League of Nations Assemblies (to which the authors make no reference) give more reason for hope of the regularization of popular control than the authors would have us believe exists under present conditions.

Despite the lacunae which have been pointed out, despite the errors in judgment into which the authors appear to have fallen, all students of Political Science will welcome the appearance of this volume as an invaluable contribution to the literature on European Government, as a standard work of reference for all, and as a harbinger of the time when Europe will be studied integrally, and not piecemeal.

University of Texas. MALBONE W. GRAHAM, JR.

MERRIAM, CHARLES E. The American Party System.

(New York: The Macmillan Company, 1922. Pp. vii, 439.)

Out of Professor Merriam's long experience in the field of both practical and theoretical politics he has been able to write a book that, to say the least, certainly comes up to the purpose of the work as that purpose is expressed in the subtitle. It is an excellent "Introduction to the Study of Political Parties in the United States." The author attempts to give nothing more than a summary of the history of American party principles and issues, but with this exception

practically every phase of party government is adequately treated.

The first two chapters are devoted to the question of the composition and leadership of the party. The problem of party leadership has received careful treatment in numerous other works on parties, but the chapter dealing solely with the constituent elements of the party is a much more useful one than is ordinarily the case in text books on the party system. The organization of the party is the subject of a well balanced but rather brief treatment in the third chapter. Then follow four chapters dealing with the various aspects of the spoils system in their relations to the party system. On the whole, I am inclined to believe that this is the most valuable and successful part of the book. It is a thoroughly disillusioned study of "practical politics" in the United States done from the point of view of the objective analyst who is neither a fanatical reformer nor a cynic who has lost all hope of lasting improvement. The chapter on the Causes of the Spoils System is especially suggestive. Chapter VIII discusses the function of the party as a formulator of principles and issues and demonstrates the decided limitations upon the usefulness of the party in this respect. The next three chapters deal with the process of nominations, elections, and appointments. These are undoubtedly useful chapters, but it seems to me that the treatment of methods of nomination other than the direct and presidential primaries and of certain aspects of state election laws is inadequate.

The last three chapters form a section dealiñg with Interpretations and Conclusions. First, there is a rather short but well written chapter summarizing the theories of the political party system. Mr. Merriam is not content, however, with merely giving a short review of the theories of other writers on the party system, and the next chapter is (with the exception of some five or six pages dealing with the characteristics of European party systems which are tacked on at the end of the chapter) a presentation of his own conception of the nature and functions of the political party. The nature of the party is very ably treated, but the portion of the chapter dealing with the functions of parties in the United States demonstrates the same weakness ordinarily found in such discussions: usefulness of the party is considered from the standpoint of an ideal party system rather than from that of the actual workings of party government. As Mr. Merriam demonstrated so ably in his chapters on the Spoils System and on the formulation of principles by the party, the advantages of the party system are all too rarely secured in practice.

However, it may be that the author intends that this discussion of the functions of parties is to be applied rather to the party system of the future than to that of the present. For in the final chapter dealing with Tendencies toward Party Reconstruction he concludes that the party system will, by a slow and labored process of development, discard many of its present evils and the parties of the future “will be weaker in organization and stronger in morale, with less of patronage and more of principles, with less of the spirit of spoils and more of the desire for community service, released from the domination of the small group of bosses and special privilege interests and following more closely the general judgment of a larger and more democratic group of supporters." University of Texas.

B. F. WRIGHT, JR.

KENNAN, GEORGE. E. A. Harriman, A Biography. (Bos

ton: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922. Vol. I, pp. xvii, 421; Vol. II, pp. ix, 421. $7.50.)

Mr. Kennan has given us in this biography an unusually interesting book. There is not a chapter in the two volumes which will not hold the reader's attention. There are a number of chapters of absorbing interest. The arrangement of the material is excellent, and the entire book is well written. In the first four chapters the author shows how at the age of fourteen E. H. Harriman, the son of an Episcopal rector, became a messenger boy for a stock broker;

how he rapidly advanced through the places of “padshover," clerk, and chief clerk, and at twenty-two borrowed three thousand dollars from an uncle, bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and opened an office of his own. How four years later he decided that the "anthracite stocks" were overvalued, sold them short and cleared $150,000 and a little later lost much of this on a similar speculation in Delaware and Hudson stock. How in 1879 Harriman married into a prominent upstate family, the next year became director of a little railroad in which his father-in-law was interested, and in 1881, with some associates bought the Sodus Bay and Southern, a run down railroad thirty-one miles long, improved the property, and through Harriman's management sold it at a profit to the Pennsylvania. How in 1883, he became a director of the Illinois Central, and within six years came to dominate its management. How by a fortunate decision he prevented the Illinois Central from greatly increasing fixed charges and laid the foundation of that road's solvency during the hard years of the nineties when so many roads went into bankruptcy.

A thrilling story is the account of his interest in the reorganization of the Union Pacific, how he came to be elected a director of the road in 1897, how the next year he became chairman of the executive committee and began the transformation of “two streaks of rust" into one of the best railroad properties in the world. “Mr. Harriman found the Union Pacific insolvent, dismembered, decrepit, its sources of revenue curtailed, without important alliances, friendless. He left it financially powerful, its severed members restored, its roadbed and equipment renewed and of the highest type, dominating traffic conditions in a wide territory and with alliances and influence extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes and even across the Canadian frontier. Expenditures of the Union Pacific system (not including the Southern Pacific) for additions, betterments, and new equipment, during Mr. Harriman's administration, 1898-1909, amounted to $174,593,578. During his administration the

« PreviousContinue »