Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
By John J. Lalor
NEITHER American nor English literature has hitherto possessed a Cyclopædia of Political Science and Political Economy. The want of a work of reference on these important branches of knowledge has long been felt, especially by lawyers, journalists, members of our state and national legislatures, and the large and intelligent class of capitalists and business men who give serious thought to the political and social questions of the day. The present work, which will be completed in three volumes, is the first to supply that want. It is also the first Political History of the United States in encyclopædic form—the first to which the reader can refer for an account of the important events or facts in our political history, as he would to a dictionary for the precise meaning of a word. The French, the Germans and even the Italians are richer in works of reference on political science and political economy than the Americans or the English. The Germans have Rotteck and Welcker’s
Staatslexikon, and Bluntschli and Brater’s
Staatswörterbuch; the French, Block’s
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, and the celebrated
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, edited by Guillaumin and Coquelin.The “Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States” is intended to be to the American and English reader what the above-named works are to French and German students of political science and political economy. The articles by foreigners in our work are largely translations from the
Dictionnaire de l’Economie Politique, the
Dictionnaire Général de la Politique, the
Staatswörterbuch, and original articles by Mr. T. E. Cliffe Leslie, the eminent English economist; while the American articles are by the best American and Canadian writers on political economy and political science. The task of writing the articles on the political history of the United States was confided to one person, Mr. Alexander Johnston, of Norwalk, Connecticut, thoroughness, conciseness and the absence of repetition and of redundancy being thus secured…. [From the Preface]
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Originally printed in 3 volumes. Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
The text of this edition is in the public domain.
- V.1, Entry 1, ABDICATION
- V.1, Entry 2, ABOLITION AND ABOLITIONISTS
- V.1, Entry 3, ABSENTEEISM
- V.1, Entry 4, ABSOLUTE POWER
- V.1, Entry 5, ABSOLUTISM
- V.1, Entry 6, ABSTENTION
- V.1, Entry 7, ABUSES IN POLITICS
- V.1, Entry 8, ABYSSINIA
- V.1, Entry 9, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 10, ACADEMIES
- V.1, Entry 11, ACCLAMATION
- V.1, Entry 12, ACCUMULATION OF WEALTH
- V.1, Entry 13, ACT
- V.1, Entry 14, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 15, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 16, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 17, ADAMS
- V.1, Entry 18, ADJOURNMENT
- V.1, Entry 19, ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 20, ADMINISTRATIONS
- V.1, Entry 21, AFRICA
- V.1, Entry 22, AGE
- V.1, Entry 23, AGENT
- V.1, Entry 24, AGENTS
- V.1, Entry 25, AGIO
- V.1, Entry 26, AGIOTAGE
- V.1, Entry 27, AGRICULTURE
- V.1, Entry 28, ALABAMA
- V.1, Entry 29, ALABAMA CLAIMS
- V.1, Entry 30, ALASKA
- V.1, Entry 31, ALBANY PLAN OF UNION
- V.1, Entry 32, ALBANY REGENCY
- V.1, Entry 33, ALCALDE
- V.1, Entry 34, ALCOHOL
- V.1, Entry 35, ALGERIA
- V.1, Entry 36, ALGERINE WAR
- V.1, Entry 37, ALIEN AND SEDITION LAWS
- V.1, Entry 38, ALIENS
- V.1, Entry 39, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 40, ALLEGIANCE
- V.1, Entry 41, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 42, ALLIANCE
- V.1, Entry 43, ALLOYAGE
- V.1, Entry 44, ALMANACH DE GOTHA
- V.1, Entry 45, ALSACE-LORRAINE
- V.1, Entry 46, AMBASSADOR
- V.1, Entry 47, AMBITION
- V.1, Entry 48, AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
- V.1, Entry 49, AMERICA
- V.1, Entry 50, AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE
- V.1, Entry 51, AMERICAN PARTY
- V.1, Entry 52, AMERICAN WHIGS
- V.1, Entry 53, AMES
- V.1, Entry 54, AMISTAD CASE
- V.1, Entry 55, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 56, AMNESTY
- V.1, Entry 57, ANAM
- V.1, Entry 58, ANARCHY
- V.1, Entry 59, ANCIEN RÉGIME
- V.1, Entry 60, ANDORRA
- V.1, Entry 61, ANHALT
- V.1, Entry 62, ANNEXATION
- V.1, Entry 63, ANNEXATIONS
- V.1, Entry 64, ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY
- V.1, Entry 65, ANTI-MASONRY
- V.1, Entry 66, ANTI-NEBRASKA MEN
- V.1, Entry 67, ANTI-RENTERS
- V.1, Entry 68, ANTI-SLAVERY.
- V.1, Entry 69, APPORTIONMENT
- V.1, Entry 70, APPROPRIATION.
- V.1, Entry 71, APPROPRIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 72, ARBITRAGE
- V.1, Entry 73, ARBITRARY ARRESTS
- V.1, Entry 74, ARBITRARY POWER
- V.1, Entry 75, ARBITRATION
- V.1, Entry 76, ARCHONS
- V.1, Entry 77, AREOPAGUS.
- V.1, Entry 78, ARGENTINE CONFEDERATION
- V.1, Entry 79, ARISTOCRACY.
- V.1, Entry 80, ARISTOCRATIC AND DEMOCRATIC IDEAS.
- V.1, Entry 81, ARITHMETIC
- V.1, Entry 82, ARIZONA
- V.1, Entry 83, ARKANSAS
- V.1, Entry 84, ARMISTICE
- V.1, Entry 85, ARMIES
- V.1, Entry 86, ARMY
- V.1, Entry 87, ARTHUR
- V.1, Entry 88, ARTISANS
- V.1, Entry 89, ARYAN RACES.
- V.1, Entry 90, ASIA
- V.1, Entry 91, ASSEMBLY (IN U. S. HISTORY)
- V.1, Entry 92, ASSESSMENTS
- V.1, Entry 93, ASSIGNATS
- V.1, Entry 94, ASSOCIATION AND ASSOCIATIONS
- V.1, Entry 95, ASYLUM
- V.1, Entry 96, ATELIERS NATIONAUX
- V.1, Entry 97, ATTAINDER
- V.1, Entry 98, ATTORNEYS GENERAL
- V.1, Entry 99, AUSTRALIA
- V.1, Entry 100, AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
- V.1, Entry 101, AUTHORITY
- V.1, Entry 102, AUTHORS
- V.1, Entry 103, AUTOCRAT
- V.1, Entry 104, AUTONOMY.
- V.1, Entry 105, AYES AND NOES
- V.1, Entry 106, BADEN
- V.1, Entry 107, BALANCE OF POWER
- V.1, Entry 108, BALANCE OF TRADE
- V.1, Entry 109, BALLOT
- V.1, Entry 110, BANK CONTROVERSIES
- V.1, Entry 111, BANKING
- V.1, Entry 112, BANK NOTES.
- V.1, Entry 113, BANKRUPTCY.
- V.1, Entry 114, BANKRUPTCY, National.
- V.1, Entry 115, BANKS.
- V.1, Entry 116, BANKS, Functions of.
- V.1, Entry 117, BANKS OF ISSUE
- V.1, Entry 118, BANKS, Advantages of Savings.
- V.1, Entry 119, BANKS, History and Management of Savings,
- V.1, Entry 120, BAR
- V.1, Entry 121, BARNBURNERS
- V.1, Entry 122, BARRICADE
- V.1, Entry 123, BARTER.
- V.1, Entry 124, BASTILLE
- V.1, Entry 125, BAVARIA
- V.1, Entry 126, BELGIUM
- V.1, Entry 127, BELL
- V.1, Entry 128, BELLIGERENTS
- V.1, Entry 129, BENTON
- V.1, Entry 130, BERLIN DECREE
- V.1, Entry 131, BILL
- V.1, Entry 132, BILL OF EXCHANGE
- V.1, Entry 133, BILL OF RIGHTS
- V.1, Entry 134, BILLION
- V.1, Entry 135, BILLS
- V.1, Entry 136, BI-METALLISM.
- V.1, Entry 137, BIRNEY
- V.1, Entry 138, BLACK COCKADE
- V.1, Entry 139, BLACK CODE.
- V.1, Entry 140, BLACK REPUBLICAN.
- V.1, Entry 141, BLAINE
- V.1, Entry 142, BLAIR
- V.1, Entry 143, BLOCKADE
- V.1, Entry 144, BLOODY BILL
- V.1, Entry 145, BLUE LAWS
- V.1, Entry 146, BLUE LIGHT
- V.1, Entry 147, BOARD OF TRADE.
- V.1, Entry 148, BOLIVIA
- V.1, Entry 149, BOOTY
- V.1, Entry 150, BORDER RUFFIANS
- V.1, Entry 151, BORDER STATES
- V.1, Entry 152, BOURGEOISIE
- V.1, Entry 153, BOUTWELL
- V.1, Entry 154, BRAHMANISM.
- V.1, Entry 155, BRAZIL
- V.1, Entry 156, BRECKENRIDGE
- V.1, Entry 157, BROAD SEAL WAR
- V.1, Entry 158, BROKERS
- V.1, Entry 159, BROOKS
- V.1, Entry 160, BROWN
- V.1, Entry 161, BUCHANAN
- V.1, Entry 162, BUCKSHOT WAR
- V.1, Entry 163, BUCKTAILS
- V.1, Entry 164, BUDDHISM
- V.1, Entry 165, BUDGET
- V.1, Entry 166, BULL
- V.1, Entry 167, BUNDESRATH
- V.1, Entry 168, BUREAUCRACY
- V.1, Entry 169, BURGESSES
- V.1, Entry 170, BURLINGAME
- V.1, Entry 171, BURR
- V.1, Entry 172, BUTLER, Benj. F.
- V.1, Entry 173, BUTLER, William Orlando
- V.1, Entry 174, CACHET
- V.1, Entry 175, CÆSARISM
- V.1, Entry 176, CALENDAR
- V.1, Entry 177, CALHOUN
- V.1, Entry 178, CALIFORNIA
- V.1, Entry 179, CANADA
- V.1, Entry 180, CANALS
- V.1, Entry 181, CANON LAW
- V.1, Entry 182, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 183, CAPITAL
- V.1, Entry 184, CAPITULATION
- V.1, Entry 185, CARICATURE
- V.1, Entry 186, CARPET BAGGERS
- V.1, Entry 187, CARTEL
- V.1, Entry 188, CASS
- V.1, Entry 189, CASUS BELLI
- V.1, Entry 190, CAUCUS
- V.1, Entry 191, CAUCUS SYSTEM
- V.1, Entry 192, CAUSE AND EFFECT IN POLITICS.
- V.1, Entry 193, CELIBACY, Clerical
- V.1, Entry 194, CELIBACY, Political Aspects of.
- V.1, Entry 195, CELTS.
- V.1, Entry 196, CENSURE.
- V.1, Entry 197, CENSURE OF MORALS.
- V.1, Entry 198, CENSURES
- V.1, Entry 199, CENSUS.
- V.1, Entry 200, CENTRALIZATION and DECENTRALIZATION.
- V.1, Entry 201, CEREMONIAL
- V.1, Entry 202, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 203, CHARGÉ D'AFFAIRES.
- V.1, Entry 204, CHARITY, Private.
- V.1, Entry 205, CHARITY, Public.
- V.1, Entry 206, CHARITY, State.
- V.1, Entry 207, CHASE
- V.1, Entry 208, CHECKS AND BALANCES.
- V.1, Entry 209, CHEROKEE CASE
- V.1, Entry 210, CHESAPEAKE CASE.
- V.1, Entry 211, CHILI.
- V.1, Entry 212, CHINA
- V.1, Entry 213, CHINESE IMMIGRATION.
- V.1, Entry 214, CHIVALRY.
- V.1, Entry 215, CHRISTIANITY.
- V.1, Entry 216, CHURCH AND STATE
- V.1, Entry 217, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 218, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 219, CHURCH
- V.1, Entry 220, CHURCHES AND RELIGIONS
- V.1, Entry 221, CHURCHES
- V.1, Entry 222, CINCINNATI
- V.1, Entry 223, CIPHER DISPATCHES AND DECIPHERMENT
- V.1, Entry 224, CIRCULATION OF WEALTH.
- V.1, Entry 225, CITIES
- V.1, Entry 226, CITIES AND TOWNS.
- V.1, Entry 227, CIVIL ADMINISTRATION
- V.1, Entry 228, CIVIL LIST.
- V.1, Entry 229, CIVIL RIGHTS BILL
- V.1, Entry 230, CIVIL SERVICE REFORM
- V.1, Entry 231, CIVILIZATION
- V.1, Entry 232, CLAY
- V.1, Entry 233, CLEARING, AND CLEARING HOUSES
- V.1, Entry 234, CLERICALISM
- V.1, Entry 235, CLIENTÈLE AND CUSTOM
- V.1, Entry 236, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 237, CLIMATE
- V.1, Entry 238, CLINTON
- V.1, Entry 239, CLINTON, George
- V.1, Entry 240, CL�TURE
- V.1, Entry 241, COASTING TRADE
- V.1, Entry 242, COCHIN CHINA
- V.1, Entry 243, COINAGE
- V.1, Entry 244, COLFAX
- V.1, Entry 245, COLONIZATION SOCIETY
- V.1, Entry 246, COLORADO
- V.1, Entry 247, COLOMBIA
- V.1, Entry 248, COMMERCE.
- V.1, Entry 249, COMMERCIAL CRISES
- V.1, Entry 250, COMMISSION
- V.1, Entry 251, COMMITTEES
- V.1, Entry 252, COMMON LAW
- V.1, Entry 253, COMMONS
- V.1, Entry 254, COMMUNE
- V.1, Entry 255, COMMUNISM
- V.1, Entry 256, COMPETITION.
- V.1, Entry 257, COMPROMISES
- V.1, Entry 258, COMPULSORY CIRCULATION
- V.1, Entry 259, COMPULSORY EDUCATION
- V.1, Entry 260, CONCESSION
- V.1, Entry 261, CONCLAVE.
- V.1, Entry 262, CONCLUSUM
- V.1, Entry 284, CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
- V.1, Entry 301, CONVENTION
- V.1, Entry 375, DISTILLED SPIRITS
- V.1, Entry 384, DOMINION OF CANADA
- V.2, Entry 7, EDUCATION
- V.2, Entry 18, EMBARGO
- V.2, Entry 33, EXCHANGE
- V.2, Entry 35, EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS
- V.2, Entry 37, EXCHANGE OF WEALTH
- V.2, Entry 121, GREAT BRITAIN
- V.2, Entry 130, HABEAS CORPUS
- V.2, Entry 180, INDUSTRIAL ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION
- V.2, Entry 225, JUSTICE, Department of
- V.2, Entry 246, LAW
- V.2, Entry 364, NEW GRANADA
- V.2, Entry 379, NULLIFICATION
- V.3, Entry 4, OCEANICA
- V.3, Entry 29, PARIS MONETARY CONFERENCE
- V.3, Entry 32, PARLIAMENTARY LAW.
- V.3, Entry 116, RACES OF MANKIND
- V.3, Entry 137, REPUBLICAN PARTY
- V.3, Entry 155, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
- V.3, Entry 195, SLAVERY
- V.3, Entry 278, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
- V. 2, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of Writers
- V. 3, List of American Writers
BANKRUPTCY. The constitution of the United States gives power to congress to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States. When the constitution was adopted, the English law divided the general subject into two parts, insolvency and bankruptcy; which were administered by different courts, and to some extent upon different principles. The insolvent law was applied to persons who were imprisoned for debt, and who asked for a discharge from prison upon a surrender of all their property; the bankrupt law was applied only to traders, and always upon the suit of their creditors against them—never upon the application of the debtors. Not only the person but the debt was discharged. In respect to surrender of property and its division among the creditors, the two systems were alike. It was strenuously insisted in congress, in 1840, that the word “bankruptcies” in the constitution was to be under stood in a technical sense, and that the legislature had no power to provide a system of bankruptcy for persons who were not traders, nor to permit debtors to begin the proceedings by their own voluntary petition. This opinion has not prevailed, either in congress or in the courts. It is now fully established that the grant of power is broad enough to permit congress to provide for the settlement of the affairs of all insolvent debtors. At the same time a statute of bankruptcy practically is part of the commercial law, and is hardly needed in purely agricultural communities.
—The power of congress over this subject has been exercised but three times, in 1802, 1840 and 1867. The two former acts were short lived, the last was in operation eleven years, and since its repeal many of the merchants of the country have discovered that it was highly useful and they are trying to procure the enactment of a new one.
—If we may judge by the practice of commercial nations, a bankrupt law is almost a necessity for them.
—The great leading ideas of all such laws are two: to divide the property of an insolvent debtor equally among his creditors, and to discharge the insolvent from his debts. The former of these provisions is universally admitted to be both just and expedient, but there is not a very obvious justice in the latter, and it rests upon expediency alone. To take from a creditor a part of a debt which is his property, without full remuneration, can only be defended upon grounds of a public nature, and upon the theory that if an insolvent debtor is to remain under the load of his obligations, his creditors are likely to obtain little or nothing from him, while, if he is freed, the community will have the benefit of his renewed industry and enterprise. To reconcile, as far as may be, these conflicting interests, it is usually provided that a fraudulent debtor shall not receive his discharge, the renewed industry of such a person not being considered valuable; and also. that the creditors should be consulted, and that a considerable part of them should consent to his discharge. In France the law adds, by way of discouragement
to bankruptcy and the reckless trading which causes it, and of inducement to a subsequent payment when possible, that a discharged bankrupt, however honest he may have been, and however nearly unanimous may have been the consent of his creditors to his release, shall be under certain civil disabilities, implying a sort of disgrace, until he shall have paid all his old debts, with interest. His creditors have no legal claim against him, but the public authorities institute this moral sanction. Something of this kind is now proposed in England in a modified form, and limited to magistrates and members of parliament becoming bankrupt.
—If it be granted that a careful and judicious bankrupt law is useful in commercial countries, such a law can be provided only by congress. The courts of the several states give precedence to their own citizens who, as creditors, attach or seize the property of an insolvent debtor, over an assignee or trustee for all creditors equally, including their own citizens, who claim under a decree in bankruptcy made in another state, and this whether the seizure is made before or after the date of the decree. So long as this selfish policy prevails, and there is no reason to expect its speedy disappearance, no state law can effect an equal division to creditors of the property of a bankrupt, if any part of it happens to be found out of the limits of that state.
—Again, no state has power, under the constitution of the United States, to discharge a debt due to the citizen of another state or country, unless the creditor chooses to come in and prove his debt in the bankrupt court. For these reasons the states can not pass effectual laws upon the subject of bankruptcies.
—That congress will be urged, and at some time persuaded to pass another bankrupt law, is as certain as that the number of undischarged debtors in the several commercial states will increase with the lapse of time. The pressure of this class, many of whom are worthy and estimable persons, broken by misfortune, induced the passage of the statutes which have been passed. But it will be much wiser in congress to frame such a law carefully and deliberately with a view to permanence, before the pressure becomes extreme. Such action has lately been advocated by large and influential bodies of merchants, and a committee of the senate has been appointed to consider the subject. What should be the provisions of such a law?
—It has been found that the creditors of a bankrupt can not afford to follow up the proceedings in court, or, at any rate, that they will not. They do not wish, as they say, “to throw good money after bad.” If they do not, there is great danger that the assets will be wasted in litigation, in fees, and in various ways. In the latest English law a mode of settlement called liquidation can be used by the creditors, and the estate is supposed to be wound up as they may wish; but it is found that the debtor can obtain proxies and votes with great ease, and virtually control his own winding up. This has led to vast abuses, and will, probably, be very much modified. So under our late statutes, as amended in 1874, the creditors could vote for a composition, and here it was found that the debtor could contrive to obtain votes for almost any composition. A bankrupt law, therefore, should be provided with some machinery which will act without being put in motion by the creditors. In a scheme for a statute lately presented to congress, it is proposed that a salaried officer, like a bank, or insurance commissioner, should be appointed in each circuit, whose sole duty it shall be to provide the supervision over the speedy and economical settlement of bankrupt estates, which the creditors can not be relied upon to furnish.
—Another practical difficulty in the working of these laws arises from the selfishness of creditors. In every important bankruptcy, there are some creditors who are determined to attain an advantage over the others, and they will resort to threats and promises and all other means to attain their object. Thus, if the question is of consenting to a composition or to a discharge, these men will insist on being paid for doing what the other creditors are willing to do. In the scheme of a law, above mentioned, a creditor who takes such an advantage is held criminally responsible. This is new; and it is supposed that one or two convictions of creditors, under such a law, would have quite an influence in discouraging this disgraceful practice. The waste and dissipation of assets which was complained of in some quarters, and not without justice, when the act of 1867 was in operation, could best be checked by paying all officers, such as registers in bankruptcy, by salary instead of by fees. The expenses could be reimbursed to the United States by definite payments, as for instance, a fee upon beginning a proceeding and by a specific tax upon the assets.
—In the United States the federal courts are not familiar to the great body of lawyers and of clients. Their jurisdiction is limited, and their ways are not fully understood. It is highly important that their administration in bankruptcy should be rendered familiar and easy, and to this end it is proposed that the registers in bankruptcy should have considerable judicial powers, subject to appeal, and should be required to hold frequent sessions, at convenient times and places, for the accommodation of suitors.
—The vexed question of the discharge of debtors remains to be considered. Most laws, as I have said, provide for a control of this matter by the creditors. It has, however, been found that certain creditors, the most avaricious and the least scrupulous, will take advantage of any power which may be given them over the debtor’s discharge by exacting terms from him, either of present payment or of promises for the future. The English statutes, of late years, have declared all such promises to be void, and it is seriously doubted whether it is expedient to give creditors any arbitrary power in the matter. The latest proposition to congress contained the suggestion that every bankrupt who can not be proved to have committed a fraud or wrong upon his creditors, should have a free discharge,
but the creditors might vote that the assignee, as their representative, rather than the creditors individually, should undertake the duty of opposing the discharge of a fraudulent debtor.
—It might be wise to impose some disabilities upon discharged debtors until they should pay their debts, as in France; or to refuse a discharge to those who could be proved to have traded recklessly and wantonly after a knowledge of their insolvency; or to fix a minimum of dividend without the payment of which there should be no discharge. So far as we have been able to gather the opinions of persons interested in the question in this country, it is in favor of a liberal policy in the discharge of debtors who have been honest in their dealings.
—The mode of discharge by payment of a composition, accepted by a considerable proportion of creditors, and thereby made binding upon the minority, has been already referred to. It has the great advantages to creditors, of speed and certainty, and to debtors of restoring them, promptly, to the control of their affairs. It is the only mode of discharge practiced in France. It needs, however, to be very carefully guarded, in order that the apathy of some creditors, or the rapacity of others, may not produce great inequality and injustice. It is necessary, therefore, to provide for a thorough examination into the affairs of the bankrupt, in order to see that his offer is large enough, and for a very careful supervision by the court, to see that all creditors are treated alike, and that a composition offered shall be promptly and faithfully carried out. No mere promises of payment should be accepted without full security for their performance.