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The volume herewith presented under the title, “ Municipal Program,” represents the result of two years of unremitting and painstaking endeavor to present, in accordance with the original resolution, “ a working system consistent with American industrial and political conditions, and embodying the essential principles that must underlie successful municipal government in this country.” The proposed Constitutional Amendments and the proposed Municipal Corporations Act constitute the Municipal Program which was unanimously adopted at the Columbus Conference. These two documents, together with the leading papers presented at the Indianapolis and Columbus meetings, and a “Summary of the Program,” prepared by Prof. L. S. Rowe, constitute the report of the Committee. In addition to these papers the Cominittee have included in the book which is now presented to the public a paper by Hon. Bird S. Coler, Controller of the City of New York, on “ The Power to Incur Indebtedness Under he Proposed Municipal Program”; a paper by Dr. Delos F. Wilcox entitled, “ An Examination of the Proposed Municipal Program,” both of which were read at the Columbus meeting; and a brief historical sketch of “ Municipal Development in the United States,” prepared by Dr. John A. Fairlie, of Columbia University, at the request of the Committee.






American municipal government has its historical origin in the chartered boroughs or municipal corporations established in several of the English colonies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Records show the creation by charter of twenty such corporations; but of these, two had merely an ephemeral existence, and three others were of slight importance during the colonial period. Of the active boroughs, the first in time was New York, which dates its civic existence from 1653, became an English municipal corporation in 1665, and received its first charter in 1686. Albany received its charter in the same year as New York; the first recorded charter of Philadelphia was granted in 1691; four smaller boroughs were incorporated in Pennsylvania, and five in New Jersey; while in the Southern States there were Annapolis in Maryland, and Norfolk, Williamsburg, and Richmond in Virginia. The latest charter in colonial times was that of Trenton; N. J., granted in 1746.

These charters, granted by the provincial governors, were on the same legal basis as the royal charters to English boroughs, and the earlier theory seems to have been that the municipal corporations were not subordinate to the assemblies. The form of or

The word borough is used as a generic term for the municipalities of the colonial period to emphasize their direct connection with the English borough. For later periods the present American custom is followed by the use of the word . city."

Agamenticus (1641) and Kittery (1647) both in the Province of Maine. 3 Germantown, Pa., Bath, N C., and Trenton, N. J. 4 Germantown, Chester, Bristol, and Lancaster. • Perth Amboy, New Brunswick, Burlington, Elizabeth, and Trenton.

ganization provided resembled in its general features the English municipal organization of the same period. The principal authority was the common council, composed of the mayor, recorder, aldermen, and assistants, or councilmen. These acted as a single body, a quorum requiring the attendance of the mayor and a specified number of both aldermen and councilmen. The mayor and aldermen had certain judicial functions in addition to their duties as part of the common council, which had control of all matters of local administration.

In one respect, most of the American colonial boroughs differed from the prevailing English system. Only in Philadelphia, Annapolis, and Norfolk was the governing authority made a close corporation. In these places the aldermen and councilmen held their positions for life, and vacancies for aldermen were filled by the corporation—i. e., by the common council—and for councilmen by the mayor, recorder, and aldermen. In all the other boroughs the councilmen—and except in Perth Amboy and Trenton, the aldermen also—were elected by popular vote under a franchise which everywhere included all of the well-to-do classes and generally a large proportion of the residents, though in no case was manhood suffrage established. Elective aldermen and councilmen were chosen for one year terms, except in Elizabeth, where the term was three years, and Trenton, where, strangely enough, it was for life.

The mayor, however, was in no case chosen by popular vote. The close corporations had, as in English boroughs, the power of electing their mayors from the existing aldermen, and the elective council in Elizabeth had the same authority. In the other boroughs, where the members of the council were elected, the mayor was regularly appointed by the governor of the province, a former

During the Leisler troubles in the province of New York, mayors were elected by popular vote in the cities of New York (1688 and 1689) and Albany (1689); but appointment was restored in 1690.

alderman being frequently selected. Whether elected or appointed, the mayor's term was in all cases a single year; but in practice reappointments were frequent, and during the latter part of the colonial period the mayors of New York and Albany generally held the position continuously for ten years.

The special charter powers of the mayor were not of great importance. He had no power of appointment, unless delegated by the council, and he had no veto over the acts of the council-in Philadelphia he did not even have a vote. But he presided at all meetings of the council, his presence being necessary to constitute a quorum; and he was charged with executing the ordinances of the council. In New York and Albany he controlled the licensing of taverns, and he frequently heid ex officio minor offices. These conditions tended to center the administration to a considerable degree in his hands, while his influence in municipal affairs was further increased by the fact that he was usually a man of much experience in the affairs of the corporation, and that in practice he held office for a number of years. Thus even during the colonial period the mayor became something more than a dignified figurehead, and was a real force in the municipal government.

The functions of these colonial boroughs, like those of the English municipal corporations, included judicial, legislative, and administrative duties. The judicial functions were comparatively of greater importance in the municipal government than at present. The mayor, recorder, and aldermen were each justices of the peace during their term of office, and as such had the usual summary jurisdiction over petty criminal and civil cases. In addition to this, the mayor, recorder, and aldermen of each borough sitting together formed a local court of record, with stated sessions for the trial of more important cases; and in some cases the same officials

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