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"Despite the fact the New German Government is at best unstable," said Professor W. B. Munro '99, of the Department of Government, in speaking before a large gathering of undergraduates at a meeting of the University Forum held in the Parish House of the Unitarian Church last evening, "their new constitution is a document of great interest and importance for several reasons. It establishes a new frame of government for a nation of sixty millions; it expresses the political ideas of the present-day leaders of Germany; and it shows the influence of the American Constitution upon an old world people.
"The most casual reading of the new Constitution will reveal the fact that it makes provision for many revolutionary changes. It provides for the direct election of the nation's chief executive. It establishes ministerial responsibility. And it embodies many things which have been much discussed in the United States; for example, the initiative and referendum, the recall, woman suffrage, proportionate representation, single tax, public ownership of railroads, etc.
Individual Rights Restricted.
"It includes, imitating to a certain extent the Americans, a bill of rights; but the constitutional protection afforded to the rights of the individual is seriously impaired by the possibility of legislative restrictions. 'The house of every German is his sanctuary and is inviolable,' says the Constitution in one section, and the next sentence is 'Exceptions are permissible only by authority of law.' One of the few articles in their bill of rights which is not capable of being restricted by law is the first: 'All Germans are equal before the law.'
"The greatest improvements over the Imperial Constitution are those contained in the section providing for rights of the individual. The individual, the family, the church, and the school are all provided for to a degree in striking contrast to the exaltation of the state so characteristic of the old constitution."
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