Constitutionalism vs. Imperialism


 ”The real struggle is…between constitutionalism and imperialism; between the effort to guarantee to every individual his inherent rights and the disposition to override, to ignore, or to deny them, no matter by whom it is entertained.”Democracy, as well as monarchy, may be imperial and unconstitutional. The will of many may be as arbitrary, as absolute, as unjust, and even as cruel as the will of one. Progress toward the recognition and the guarantee of all inherent rights can be made only by opposing imperialism in whatever guise it may appear, and by sustaining constitutionalism as a system of public guarantees. Imperialism and constitutionalism-these are the great landmarks. It is upon this frontier that the battle must be waged. What is the answer of democracy?”


“Regarded concretely, this conflict may be reduced to very simple terms. On the one hand are principles capable of clear statement and universal application-the immutable principles of justice based on mutual obligation. On the other hand are human personalities-often highly intelligent, plausible, eloquent, and sometimes personally attractive-who, in exchange for power promise to those who follow them rich rewards. Trust them, they pledge themselves, they will reapportion the wealth of the world, they will so reconstruct society, that those who have felt themselves outstripped in the race of life shall wear its laurels, shall rejoice in plenty, and shall rule where they have served.

Citations from The People’s Government by David Jayne Hill

(President of Bucknell & Univ. of Rochester (1850-1932); Assistant Secretary of State (1898-1903); Minister to Switzerland (1903-1905); Minister to Netherlands (1905-1908); and Minister to Germany (1908-1911).)

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