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Excerpt from New Dangers to Majority Rule
Among the arguments advanced against the adoption of the initiative, referendum, and recall there is one which must strike the average American citizen with astonishment. We are warned that if the people secure these powers, especially the constitutional initiative and judicial recall, the rule of the majority will be established, and, perforce, what will become of the helpless, unprotected minority?
President Taft, in his famous Arizona veto, used this language:
Hence arises the necessity for a constitution by which the will of the majority shall be permitted to guide the course of government only under controlling checks that experience has shown to be necessary to secure for the minority its share of the benefit to the whole people that a popular government is established to bestow.
United States Senator Henry Cabot Lodge admires the Constitution of the United States because it protects "the rights of the individual man and of the minority against the possible tyranny of the majority," and then quotes, with great approval this statement of Lord Acton:
Whilst England was admired for the safeguards which, in the course of centuries it had fortified liberty against the power of the Crown, America appeared still more worthy of admiration for the safeguards which * * * it had set up against the sovereign power of its own people.
President Nicholas Murray Butler, of Columbia University, Now York City, in a recent address before the Commercial Club of St. Louis, denouncing direct legislation, said:
We point to the fundamental guaranties of the British and American Constitutions and say that these are beyond the legitimate reach of any majority.
This is not the kind of popular government which the American people have believed they possessed. From the beginning it has neon one of their most cherished political traditions that, whatever limitations the Governments of other lands placed upon their people, in the United States a majority of the people ruled. The Constitution was not above them. "We, the people, establish" - ran the preamble, and Americans believed it. In school and college text-books, from the press, platform, and pulpit, from the cradle to the grave they have been taught that our constitutions, national and State, were expressly designed to protect them in the right of the majority to alter the Government, or abolish it, and establish any other they saw fit.
So great has boon the reverence of our people for this form of government, so deep-seated their belief that it was the best the wit of man could devise, that until recently they have turned a deaf ear to any proposal to modify it.
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