Page images







working of ment depends on the relation of

the govern

AFTER having surveyed the political structure of the Empire and the States, we are in a position to examine the actual working of the federal government. This may be said to turn upon the relation of the Chancellor to the three organs of the Empire; for, like a central lor to the wheel that is geared to all the others, the eral authoriChancellor comes into direct contact with

the chancel

other fed


each of the imperial authorities. The subject may, therefore, be conveniently treated under two heads: first, the relation of the Chancellor to the Emperors and second, his relation to the Reichstag; his relation to the Bundesrath having already been considered while dealing with the organization of that body.

It is clear that the Chancellor would occupy an absurd position if he were confined to the matters that belong strictly to his office, for be would be the sole

His relation


The imperial and royal governments must be conducted

by the same


responsible minister of one of the greatest nations in the world, and yet his powers would be insig to the Em- nificant. Apart from foreign affairs, the navy, and the selection of a few of the highest military officers, his executive duties would be almost entirely limited to watching over the administration of the imperial laws by the several States, and seeing that they complied with the ordinances and regulations issued, not by him, but by the Bundesrath. In regard to legislation, moreover, his very lack of executive powers would prevent his exerting an effective control. Representing in his capacity of Chancellor neither the King of Prussia nor the confederated sovereigns, he would be unable to acquire any considerable authority in the Reichstag or the Bundesrath. He would, it is true, preside over this last body; but simply as chairman he would be in a situation not much better than that occupied by the Vice-President in the Senate of the United States. Unless he could also speak in the name of Prussia, and cast her votes, he would have very little influence with the members, and could neither guide legislation nor direct the policy of administration. In order, therefore, that the Chancellor may be a real minister of state, and not a mere inspector and honorary chairman, he must be at the head of the Prussian delegation in the Bundesrath. But the delegation receives its instructions from the Prussian government, and it would be irrational for the Chancellor to be given instructions by men whose policy differed from his own. Hence he must be in

« PreviousContinue »