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political followers can hardly be imagined. Now let us see how it worked in practice.

In Venezuela the process of individuation and segregation went on until the number of “sovereign states had increased from six to twenty-one. The fifteen new states thus created had not been formed from newly acquired territory or from any public domain; but were carved out of the original six, and apparently for no other purpose than to increase the number of public offices. Each of the twenty-one states had its chief magistrate, or “ President,” as he was grandiloquently styled; each had its legislature and judiciary, and each its own military establishment. Any one of them might repudiate its pecuniary obligations with impunity; for a “sovereign "cannot be sued, even in his own law courts, without his previous consent, and this was rarely given. And each might, with equal impunity, violate a public treaty, and thus bring humiliation and expense upon the general government, which was practically without redress against the offending party. It was but natural then that “revolutions " and counter-revolutions should have become the rule rather than the exception; and that the condition of anarchy should have become so persistent and intolerable as to prepare the public mind for a military dictatorship.

The government was still a republic in name, but an autocracy in everything else. To all intents and purposes the will of the dictator was the fundamental and statutory law of the land. The legislature and the judiciary, though somewhat expensive ornaments, were but his dependents. He dictated the laws to be enacted, and what interpretations should be given to them by the courts; dictated to the Church what bishops it should appoint; to the schools and colleges what text-books they should use; to authors what they

should write and publish; to the women what style of dress they should wear in the streets; to merchants what foreign goods they should import; to manufacturers the quality and prices of their articles; to bankers what should be considered legal tender; to persons contemplating matrimony the character and place of the kuptial ceremonies; to hackmen and common carriers what they should charge for their services; to butchers and market-men the number of cattle they might slaughter in a given time; to architects and builders the particular style of house they should construct in the capital; and when he took a fancy to a particular piece of realty, he seldom hesitated to fix the price and order the owner off the premises. People tamely submitted to this tyranny for about twenty years, because it was preferable to organized anarchy. Finally, however, getting a little tired of the monotony, they threw off the yoke. A constitutional Presidency was established; the Presidential term was fixed at two years, and the President made ineligible as his own successor. But when his two years' term expired, he usually found some plausible pretext for attempting to hold over another two years; and this would lead to another revolution, to another armed conflict, which would end in another dictatorship before public order could be restored.

In Ecuador there was a revolution and a new constitution of government about every four years. Thus, from 1830 to 1860, there were seven successive constitutions. Each of these provided for a government “republican in form"; but under each the actual government (when there happened to be any) was either an autocracy, an ecclesiastical hierarchy, or a military despotism. That of 1830 was based upon the idea of absolute local or “state sovereignty.” The legislature was composed of a single House of Deputies; and each


province, or “state,” was entitled to the same number of deputies, quite regardless of population. This was succeeded by the Constitution of 1835, which provided for two House of Congress, one of which was apportioned to population, the other to the number of “states." This, in turn, was superseded by the Constitution of 1843, which was the first to guarantee freedom of religious worship; but a “revolution ” followed almost immediately, resulting in the new Constitution of 1845, whereby the President was invested with extraordinary powers. The government was an absolutism, pure and simple, though of course still republican in name. This gave way to the Constitution of 1850, which again reduced the Congress to a single House, in which representation was according to “states," quite regardless of population. In place of the Senate there was a Federal Council, in imitation of that of the Swiss Confederation. This Constitution lasted for two years, when it was superseded by that of 1852, which provided for its own amendment, or its entire annulment, annually; and for the purpose of such revision or annulment the President might convoke the Federal Congress at any time. Since then, probably no one whole calendar year has passed without some stitutional reform," and it would require rare powers of analysis to draw the distinction between what is considered fundamental and statutory legislation.

A similar condition of affairs existed in New Granada. Local and general revolutions chased each other in rapid succession, and constitutional changes were frequent that it is difficult to even enumerate them in chronological order. Each of the nine provinces, or prefectures, was clothed with the name and dignity of a “sovereign state," and the mystery of the Trinity was outdone in ingenious devices to reconcile plural sover



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eignties with national unity. There was no central or paramount authority - except on paper. Primary allegiance was due, not to the nation, but to the constituent state in which the citizen resided. Even allegiance to the particular state was hardly in the nature of an obligation; for back of the theory of state allegiance was the doctrine of individual or personal sovereignty. Every man eighteen years of age and upward was a sort of nondescript sovereign floating about at random, governed by a "higher law" inherent in himself. He owed society nothing; society owed him everything; for his ultimate allegiance was due to himself only! Consequently, when, for any reason satisfactory to himself he declared against the government, he was not a traitor at all, but only a "revolutionist" asserting his inherent right as a “sovereign." And any one of the so-called sovereign states might nullify a law of the Federal Congress with as little ceremony as a dissatisfied principal might disclaim the acts of a subordinate.

During the thirty years intervening from 1830 to 1861, there were five successive constitutions, not one of which was ever respected when it became an obstacle to the ambition of some local military chieftain. There were no two whole years of perfect peace and tranquillity during the entire period; for there was a "revolution," local or general, on an average about every eighteen months. Even in its most tranquil moments, the government failed to inspire public confidence, and what capital there was in the country generally sought investment abroad. In short, to again adopt the incisive language of a distinguished Colombian scholar and statesman, “ The maintenance of public order was the exception, and civil war the rule.” 1

1 Dr. Rafael Nuñez, President of Colombia in 1883-4. La Reforma Politica en Colombia, p. 98.

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